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How to prepare your e-commerce for the holiday season

Ondra
25 Oct 2018

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The holiday season is approaching fast. In addition to family reunions, good food and new socks, we can expect high spikes in demand for almost everything. After all, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year for most merchants. But to get the results you want and bring in the sales, some work needs to be done. Let us give you a few hot tips on how to prepare your business for a successful holiday season.

First, let's talk about what exactly it is. 

The holiday season is a time span of a little over two months, from Halloween at the end of October to the beginning of January after New Year’s Eve. During this short period of time, sales of most stores go up several times and exceed the usual numbers. So even if you don’t celebrate the holidays, as an e-commerce owner, you shouldn’t give up the opportunity to make the sales.

Prepare your business

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When it comes to the holiday season, being ready is what separates the winners from the losers. You can’t just wait and see what happens. Make sure you are ready for what is coming.

Check your stock and make sure you have enough products. If you run out of stock you’ll lose sales. Also, get in touch with your suppliers and ask them if everything will be running as usual during the holiday season. Delays in deliveries or even suppliers running out of some products are not unusual. Therefore, make sure you’re on the same page, and there are no unpleasant surprises for you.

Make sure your site is up-to-date and in the best state possible. You don’t want to realize halfway through the season that you had forgotten to add the hot new product or put up the holiday promotion banner. Check if your loading time is not too high. And take a look at your products descriptions – they might need some last-minute polishing. You can find some tips in our article about product description writing

You should also check if your site is mobile ready. Last year was the first year that Facebook saw more conversions on mobiles than on desktops. And this trend is not going anywhere. Mobile devices will most likely be used in some part of the shopping process by a large portion of people. People under 34 are leading this trend and if your site won’t work properly on their devices, you’ll lose a big portion of the possible sales. 

Create holiday ads and tailor them to specific events

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The holiday season is the best time to start some ads even for stores that don’t usually use them. During this time, people always look for something new and different. They’re not just looking for things for themselves. They need to buy gifts for all their family and friends. Every gift idea is good for them and every one of your ads gives them the opportunity to get some gifts. So during this time, think of everyone as your potential customers because that’s exactly the case.

Try to discover some audience with Facebook ads. You can try to target friends of your fans. People tend to trust stores and brands more when they know somebody who uses their products. So there is always great potential in marketing to this group. If you don’t have many fans, try to find an audience that might be interested in what you sell, and target them by interest. Don’t forget to optimize and test your ads for mobiles. Because like we’ve said, they’ll play a major role during the holiday season.

Another way to go is to create search ads for Google. This way you’ll be visible to people who look specifically for the thing you can offer. If you don’t want to spend hours creating search ads for specific products and categories, you can go with dynamic search ads. That way Google will automatically create search ads specific to search terms when they fit into your product portfolio. Send us a DSA request through the ROI Hunter Easy app and we’ll take care of it for you.

Don’t forget there are many different holidays and opportunities during the holiday season. It’s a very good thing for any business. But it’s especially awesome as a marketing opportunity. Many people might see the need to make different ads just as more work that does not pay off. But that’s not the case. People don’t respond well to stereotypes. That’s why ads lose effectiveness over time. People just get tired of looking at the same thing and stop clicking. Hence the awesome opportunity in the holiday season: if you have an ad for every one of the holidays, your ads cannot get old.

What ads should you prepare for what opportunities? Let’s take a look at them:

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October 31. This holiday marks the starting line because according to Facebook polls, 48% of women and 33% of men start their Christmas shopping in November. And it pays off to be ready. What’s more, it’s also a great opportunity to market anything that even remotely looks like a costume, scary gadget or pumpkin. So get to it.

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November 23. This infamous commercial holiday started in the USA but is has now spread to most parts of the world. Even though fights in stores are not so common in the rest of the world, online hunts for best deals are popular everywhere. This day is the synonym for high discounts. So you better prepare some great sales to draw in more shoppers.
What’s more, you can use this opportunity to try and use approaches you wouldn’t use any other time of the year. Do you sell women’s bags or beauty products? Why not target also men? All of them need to buy a gift for their wife or girlfriend. And you can be sure that a large portion of them is going to do so during the Black Friday Sale.

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November 26. This is the biggest holiday for every e-commerce. A decade ago, some bright minds started to teach people that the Monday after Thanksgiving is the day to shop online. Since then the world sales on Cyber Monday jumped to the unbelievable $7 billion. If there is any day in the year you have the chance to compete with big stores, this is the one. So get ready.

Do you want to use an original approach for this day as well? Make the Cyber double and promote anything that runs on electricity in your store. People will love it.

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December 25. This date marks the finish line of the big shopping spree. When this day comes, you’ll either have a big happy smile on your face and full pockets, or you’ll wonder what you did wrong and what you can do better next year.

But before the end comes, the latecomers will be in a great hurry to find any gift they can get their hands on. Do you want to attract them? Promote your stock as gifts: original gifts, funny gifts, gifts for your loved ones. Anything with the word “gift” will draw great attention around Christmas

Utilize the full potential of retargeting

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Retargeting is important for e-commerce business any day a year. But it’s twice as much important during the holiday season. Retargeting helps you bring back the people who come to your site but don’t finish the purchase. People walk away from online stores without finishing the purchase for a number of reasons.

One of the reasons is simple: rush. The holiday season won’t let you stop. Most businesses run long to satisfy all the customers, so people work long hours. They need to visit the family members and their friends. Add to that some travel time, time to cook all the holiday meals plus a little bit of stress. What you end up with are people in rush. And those are the worst customers you could want.

Any little thing that will come across their mind can mean they will leave your website. That’s why you need retargeting for this time of year. But don’t just stop at the most simple retargeting you can get. If there is any time to go big, it’s in the holiday season.

Get yourself a dynamic retargeting. This way your ads won’t just show your logo or a general picture. Your ads will present the products your visitors were browsing. This way they won’t have to think what they were looking for. They’ll know right away what gift and for whom they wanted to buy and be able to get back right to it. If you don’t know how to go about it or don’t want to do all the hard work, you can use ROI Hunter Easy. It will create dynamic remarketing for you in just a few clicks.

But you don’t need to stop there. How about making your ads stand out from the advertising mass Internet users will see? Well, we’ve got you covered there too. With ROI Hunter Easy Premium, you’ll get access to professionally designed overlays for your Facebook retargeting ads. You can adapt your ads to any of the holiday season themes. Or just pick an overlay you like. Your ads will look good and will be much more eye-catching than plain ads.

Send out holiday emails

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Another great thing you can use during the holiday season is your email list. Ideally, you have a large list of emails of your customers expecting your emails. All you need to do is to craft a nice email, or preferably a series of emails, wishing them all the best for the holidays – and telling them about your awesome holiday offers and discounts. That will hopefully get them to shop for some gifts in your store.

But unfortunately, most e-commerce businesses don’t have long email lists they could use. Creating such email takes time and dedication, and many online stores just haven’t existed for such a long time to have such a list. If you’re one of them, don't worry. The holiday season is an opportunity for you too.

It’s a great chance to make a good impression on your customers and start building a relationship with them. Obviously, you should offer them a newsletter on your site. But that won’t necessarily get more attention than in any other season. What you need to devote a few hours of work to is crafting the email you send when customers order a product.

Sure, the main purpose of the email is to confirm the order. But that doesn’t mean it cannot be nice. Wish the customers merry holidays, tell them you hope they’ll like the product they’ve ordered, maybe even give them a little something as a gift – a discount or coupon for future purchases. This works just like in a brick and mortar store. People always like coming back to the stores with smiling helpful shop assistants rather than to the ones with grumpy employees. So, smile at them, even if it’s just in an email.

We hope that you like our tips and that you’ll find them useful. The last little tip from us is to have a good time. After all, it’s not just your customers’ holiday season, it’s yours too.

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