The holidays are upon us. Is your online store ready?
Getting ready for the holiday shopping season doesn’t only mean stockpiling inventory and putting out decorations. To be successful, your business needs to calculate your marketing and sales efforts. By preparing yourself, you set yourself up for success during the busiest shopping season of the year and position your business to take on every sale thereafter with confidence and ease. Making sales online through an e-commerce site can be a game changer for your business if you prepare accordingly. Imagine doing all the work for online sales now so that when the holidays roll around, you aren’t scrambling to set prices, create promo codes, build landing pages, submit ads and complete all the other tasks that don’t seem time-consuming until they’re lumped together.
There are a few things we don’t need to tell you about preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Obviously, you’re going to need to have a plan in place to increase inventory, ensure that your shipping methods and options are solid and make sure that your site can handle the increase in traffic (tools like Load Impact help enable you to test the server load capacity of your store.) All of the traditional planning that needs to take place before a sale should be accomplished before you dive into your marketing efforts. Once you’ve tackled the basics, there are a few steps you need to take to prepare for your marketing strategies.
Prepare for the Holiday Shopping Season
Plan your Sales Meticulously
This goes far and beyond just knowing what’s going on sale and for how much. Your entire staff needs to know all of the promotions so that they can answer customer questions quickly and accurately. Having an organized place for all this information will alleviate headaches and make for a much better user experience. We’ve created a Planning Guide that will help you organize your sales and promotions. (Choose File>Make a Copy and Save to your Google Drive.) This guide can take your organization to a new level by thoroughly preparing your employees to be the best salespeople they can be. If a customer asks about the details of a sale, any employee will be able to find the information and provide superior customer service.
Plan your Marketing Accordingly
You’ve got sales in place, now you need to promote them. Deciding how to best promote your holiday sales is entirely up to you, but you need to start as soon as possible. Make sure that you understand the rules and regulations for each ad platform you intend to use. There is nothing worse than spending time and money creating an ad for it to be denied by your intended platform. That being said, crafting a campaign and the materials that go along with it can be fun and exciting. Here are some popular digital advertising tactics that can help you get started.
- Social Ads. Advertising on social media, whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, both can be a great way to get your sales in front of extremely targeted audiences.
- Retargeting Ads. Retargeting ads are a FANTASTIC way to make sure customers who have visited your site keep you in mind. When a customer browses a site a cookie is placed on their browser. When they use other websites that serve ads from a dedicated display network, your ads can be displayed on that site reminding them what they left at your store. If your ad is good, it may entice them to return and make that purchase.
- Paid Search. An oldie but a goodie helps stores stay on top of search queries. Writing compelling copy for these ads can get customers flocking to your site because you are offering exactly what they need and you’re easy to find.
Execute Holiday Sales and Promotions
Promote Your Sale
As soon as you have your sales in place and your campaigns planned and designed, it’s time to start promoting. Knowing when and how to reach your target audience will help you decide where to run the ads you created. Doing A, B testing early on can help you learn what types of ads will bring you the most success when Black Friday finally hits.
Remember that many customers start shopping before Black Friday so it’s a good idea to push your sales out to them as soon as possible. Start with an email campaign giving your loyal customers a heads up for the sales to come. Then, start promoting to everyone on your social channels. Don’t be shy about daily reminders on social media and most certainly leverage the power of email when promoting holiday sales.
Great Customer Service
Great customer service is crucial to delight and retain your customers. Make sure you have a clear and transparent shipping and return policy. Stick to it and be timely in your response to questions. You may need to implement a live-chat feature on your website or make sure an employee is dedicated to answering questions that come from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter during this busy time. Answering a simple question could capture a sale and a lifetime customer.
Learn From Holiday Sales
Learning from major sales like a Black Friday/Cyber Monday push can help you craft any sale you ever run. If you can run a successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale, you can do anything. When running an eCommerce website, tracking is crucial. Make sure that you’re tracking every promotion. Using promo codes and analytics, you can track where your customers came from and how they learned about you. You can take this data to inform future sales and start planning for next year.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season, in general, can be an exciting process. If you plan ahead and learn from your mistakes and wins, every sale you run in the future will be more and more successful.