11 Ways To Get Your Ecommerce Store Ready For The Holidays [Cheat Sheet]

This retail holiday season is going to be like nothing we’ve seen before. Industry leader RIS is saying ecommerce holiday sales will be between $210 billion to $218 billion, compared to $189 billion last year. Plus, 57% of shoppers plan to start shopping earlier, and 65% of consumers plan to spend more money or the same amount that they did last year.

Apparently it's going to be a longer shopping season with more money to be made. And as entrepreneurs, we're in the unique position to capitalize on this. 

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?

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?

3. Decide On Marketing Tactics 

Determine what marketing tactics you need to meet your sales goals, and then set your marketing budget for this season.

Questions:

  • 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)?
holiday PR planning checklist

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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

  • 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
  • Use 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
  • 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 to sweeten the pot.
  • Offer appreciation discounts or bonuses

7. Review Your Shipping Options And Policies

  • 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 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 are a part of your schedule
  • Schedule meals and break times 
  • Ask for help when you need it

A Final Thought...

Don’t forget to measure your performance so you can use the data to improve on your 2022 holiday planning and marketing strategies. Key performance indicators worth tracking include:

  • Traffic (new vs. returning)
  • Sales
  • 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, womxn-led PR consulting firm. We specialize in helping Black womxn shine online using digital PR and digital marketing strategies that boost their online presence and drive traffic to their websites. If you want to discuss how to improve your online visibility, call 480-420-6810 or email info@blackgirlpr.com today.

If you're planning on doing media outreach to get your brand featured in gift guides or other trending holiday content, get our Holiday PR Planning Checklist. It walks you through the pitching process, from reaching out to the media, to amplifying the coverage that you get once the content is live.

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