This retail holiday season is going to be like nothing we’ve seen before. Economists at Deloitte are predicting that we're going to spend between $1.45 and $1.47 trillion from November to January. And they're expecting ecommerce sales to increase by 13.5%, which translates into sales of up to $262 billion.
Image via Axios
As entrepreneurs, we're in the unique position to capitalize on this information. Use this Ecommerce Holiday Readiness Cheat Sheet to get yourself together for what will undoubtedly be a fruitful season.
1. Do An Inventory Check
Determine what products you want to lead with this holiday season:
- Which of your products were popular last year?
- What products are likely to be in demand this year?
- What’s the minimum amount of each product that you’ll need to have in stock?
- How much storage space do you need to carry sufficient product?
- Will you need to get more storage temporarily over the holidays, or is what you have available good enough?
2. Set Your Sales Goals
Start by setting your goals for the holiday season. Look back at your past performance and do competitive research to determine realistic benchmarks.
Some questions to consider include:
- How did you perform last year?
- How do stores similar to yours perform during the holidays?
- What would a successful holiday season look like to you?
- What sales goals could you realistically meet based on your marketing plan and budget?
3. Decide On Marketing Tactics
Image via 2022 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey
Determine what marketing tactics you need to meet your sales goals, and then set your marketing budget for this season.
- What does your audience respond well to?
- What tactics have had the highest conversions for you throughout the year?
- Which tactics have the highest return on investment (ROI)?
4. Optimize Your Store
- Check your hosting plan to make sure there won’t be any issues during this high-traffic season
- Check your website speed to see how quickly pages load. Use PageSpeed Insights to determine the health of your website, and to get suggestions on how you can make pages load faster
- Check your website for broken links, error pages, orphan pages (pages with no links to other areas of your website) etc. and fix them
- Create Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas etc. landing pages that highlight your offers and make the shopping experience as convenient as possible for your customers
- Based on keyword research, create gift guides and/or holiday collections that make it easy to shop for specific types of people e.g. “Gifts For Kids Who Don’t Know What They Want” or “Gifts For Introverts Who Never Leave The House”
- Give your customers the ability to favorite products and create shareable wish lists
- Provide options like gift cards for last-minute shoppers
- Enable site search as a feature of your store. In addition to helping customers find products more quickly, you can also gather data on what they’re searching for and potentially use this to create new products.
5. Streamline Your Checkout Process
Image via Shopify
- Reduce the number of steps a customer must take in order to purchase a product
- Enable multi-recipient functionality so customers can place one order but ship gifts to multiple recipients
- Consider adding order bumps. (Note: In 2014, Amazon reported that cross-sells, order bumps and upsells generated 35% of their revenue!)
- Offer gift wrapping (Bonus tip: post photos of your gorgeous gift wrapping on social media and use it in your ads)
6. Optimize Your Follow-Up Game
- Put offers in your email receipt to prompt post-purchase spending
- Share related items or shopping recommendations in your email receipt or shortly after a purchase
- Ping customers who leave items in their cart. Follow-up via text or email, and offer a bonus as an incentive
- Offer appreciation discounts or bonuses
7. Review Your Shipping Options And Policies
Image via Invesp CRO
- Update your shipping times based on the latest carrier information
- Consider offering last-minute delivery for late shoppers
- Update your return policy if necessary
8. Determine Staffing Requirements
- Set your holiday staff schedules
- Determine whether you’ll need to hire seasonal staff (especially if you’re a solopreneur!)
- Create a holiday customer service plan to account for extra holiday shopping hours
9. Check In With Your Vendors
- Ask about their holiday season last year. Do they anticipate having any issues?
- Can their output support your sales goals?
- Do you have alternative vendors that you can tap in case of emergency?
10. Check In With Your Team
- Update them on your holiday plans
- Address any questions or concerns that come up
- Check in with them periodically throughout the holiday season to avoid strain and burnout
11. Create A Self-Care Game Plan To Avoid Burn Out
- Set office/work hours and stick to them
- Add self-care moments to your workflow so that they're a part of your schedule
- Schedule meals and break times
- Ask for help when you need it
- And check out my article on avoiding entrepreneur burnout if you need more tips
A Final Thought...
Don’t forget to measure your performance so you can use the data to improve on your 2023 holiday planning and marketing strategies. Key performance indicators worth tracking include:
- Traffic (new vs. returning)
- Average order value (AOV)
- Shopping cart abandonment rate
- Traffic source
Good luck and happy holidays!
ABOUT BLACK GIRL PR™
Black Girl PR™ is a Black-owned PR consulting firm. We specialize in helping Black womxn in ecommerce curate content that gets media coverage and publicity, so they reach more people and have a bigger impact. If you want to learn how to do this for your brand, check out our free case study video, "How To Get Publicity For Your Business Without Breaking The Bank."