Prep Your eCommerce Store for the Holiday Rush

Posted December 18 2014
The holidays are rapidly approaching. Which means you can expect shoppers in full force for last minute shopping. Here are some tips to prepare your eCommerce store to make the most of this holiday season.

The holidays are rapidly approaching. Which means you can expect shoppers in full force for last minute shopping. Festive vibe is all around and it encourages people to buy gifts for their loved ones and even for themselves.

During this time of year, most people get their year end bonus or allow extra budget for shopping. This is the perfect opportunity for online retailers to attract more customers and drive sales.

Here are some tips to prepare your eCommerce store to make the most of this holiday season.

Increase Digital Marketing Efforts
It is time to up your marketing budget and marketing activities. This means increasing your spending on pay per click and even Facebook ads to capture more traffic during this crucial period. If you have never tried pay per click before, this is the perfect time to do so.

Instagram is a good platform for marketing as well. Take advantage of its popularity by developing a campaign with a specific brand hashtag and offering some giveaway prizes to encourage your customers to share their own stories with your products. This platform is a great way to develop relationships with your customers, increase your brand awareness, and promote your products at the same time.

Remarketing is another proven strategy that lets you recapture visitors after they have exited your site by displaying ads on other sites the visit. This is an effective way to bring visitors back to your website and generate more sales.

Do not forget to do e-newsletters and email campaigns to remind your customers about your holiday edition products, special offers, and other promotions you have for the season.

Make Everything Quick and Easy for Customers
During the holiday season, your customers have a long shopping list. No one likes a fussy and slow checkout process. It is not a bad idea to eliminate unnecessary ads and promotional items so buyers can quickly complete their purchase at checkout.

With all the promotions, sales, and new goodies on the market, it could be overwhelming for customers to make a decision about what to buy. A little push and guidance will help them make that decision much quicker.

You can be creative and create gift guides and staff picks in different categories.

Set a Clear Delivery Date and be Ready to Deal with Returns
This is very important for holiday season shopping. Most Christmas related purchases are expected to be delivered before Christmas. To make it clear to the customers that they will be able to get their purchased goods in time for Christmas, set a deadline for these orders and publish it across your website and social networks as well as newsletters.

With the abundance of sales during the holidays also come the abundance of returns once the holidays are over. You must set a firm policy for returns and post on your website, both on shipping and product pages.
Get a system ready and consider hiring more staff to handle returns for a quick process that pleases the customers and keep the profits made during the holiday as much as possible.

It is recommended to allow customers more time to make returns and exchanges as gifts are purchased in advance but will not be given until the day of Christmas. It is fair to set the deadline for returns of items purchased during the holidays to be mid or at the end of January.

If you want to be competitive, consider offering free shipping and returning. It is smarter for small businesses to only offer free shipping and returns on select items or items with a higher price point as customers can abuse this policy. You do not want to be left with a huge pile of returns after the holidays.