This post is from our friends at Springbot
Last year’s holiday season brought major returns for eCommerce businesses, with the industry crushing predictions of nearly $1 billion. Adobe reported a record $108.2 billion in online sales between November and December of last year, a rise of 14.7 percent year over year. On top of that, the experts predict an even more fruitful year in 2018, so we’re calling for some early preparation. The early bird will reap the rewards!
How do you get your store ready for an impending cash flow? It all has to do with improving your site’s performance, ramping up your marketing efforts and getting things organized in the back of the house today. That way, you’re not scrambling when the first wave of holiday shopping arrives in the early hours of Black Friday. Here are a few specific ways to prepare your store before the rush of the holiday season.
- Clean it Up — Just like anything else in life, your eCommerce store needs a thorough cleaning from time to time. We recommend decluttering your store at least two months before the official start of the season so that you’re not scrambling to organize when volume is high. Doing simple tasks like clearing out inactive e-mail subscribers, throwing out inaccurate data and refreshing your ad copy can do wonders for revitalizing your business. You’ll also want to give your website a bit of a refresh by fixing any broken links, removing old images and boosting site speed.
- Simplify Your Finances — If you’re not already employing high-performance plug-ins and tools in your store, now’s the time to do some testing and experimenting. We recommend increasing your financial reporting with eCommerce sales tax tools that help you organize your sales data, so you can easily record, report and file your sales tax throughout the year. Reporting and filing can be taxing, so to speak, so anything you can do to make it less of a headache is a worthy investment.
- Maximize Demographics — Speaking of store plug-ins, you might want to consider adding a data analytics tool like Springbot to your eCommerce arsenal. That way, you can see vital demographic data from your customers, with factors like age, income range, and gender. This will help you create a target audience based on the profiles and behaviors of your most valuable customers, resulting in more precise and effective marketing. Implement online tools at least a few months before the holiday season so you’ll have a good set of quality data for your marketing campaigns
- Plan and Strategize — Not all days during the holidays are created equally from a revenue standpoint. Predictably, last year’s sales spiked significantly on the two biggest eCommerce shopping days — Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While Cyber Monday still edged out Black Friday in terms of online sales (it raked in $6.59 billion, compared with Black Friday’s $5.03 billion), sales all-around broke all the previous records. Take a closer look at historical data to plan the best time to run your best promotions.
- Learn from Last Year — One of the simplest things you can do to get your store ready for the holiday season is to take a closer look at how your business has fared in years past. Were your marketing efforts successful? Did you experience any downtime due to large influxes of traffic? Did you predict inventory within reason? Ideally, you had some good analytics tools in place that reported all this for you. If you didn’t, make sure to install them ASAP so you can build on this year’s successes and failures.
- Focus on Customer Experience — You should be actively working toward a better customer experience year-round, not just during the holiday season, but the high-spend months are a good time to really put the customer first in everything you do. For example, do a little bit of research to see how your online store measures up to the competition— maybe it’s a liberal return policy or no-strings free shipping — and consider following suit for the holidays.
As stores around the world begin to get ready for the 2018 holiday shopping season, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that this year is likely to be another record-breaker. As long as you do a little bit of pre-holiday prep, you’ll be well on your way to a profitable sales season.
About the Author
Springbot provides advanced eCommerce marketing technology for small to medium-size retailers. We make the overwhelming task of running and tracking multi-channel marketing campaigns simple, from email and social marketing to online ads, Amazon Marketplace and more. The key is Springbot’s integration with Big Commerce, Magento and Shopify to deliver the power of data management, marketing automation and analytics. We then take that information and make data-driven marketing recommendations specifically tailored to retailers’ needs. To learn more information about Springbot, please visit www.springbot.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn