The holidays for eCommerce merchants can be stressful, however, if done right they can turn a good year into a great year. You have an opportunity to generate more traffic, increase sales, and make your customers happy. This can only happen though if you start preparing now!
TradeGecko’s inventory and order management software will take all the stress out of seasonal sales periods, by giving you visibility and effortless control over your stock, orders, and customers all in the one place.
Let's identify 4 useful tips and ideas that will help you get started with preparing for the seasonal sales period.
Practice, practice, practice
Wait - The worst thing that could happen is you have an influx of orders come in over the holiday seasonal and you are not prepared to handle them. This leads to late deliveries, unhappy customers (who probably won’t return), and a lot of stress on yourself or your team. Being over prepared is not a bad thing. If you over compensate and take a hit, at least you know for next year. Here are a couple of things you can work on:
Time - Time yourself fulfilling, let's say, 10 or 100 orders, and then do the math. Are you going to be able to handle 1,000 or 10,000 orders if they come in?
Help - Do you need to hire extra help for the holidays? Hiring seasonal workers to deal with the increase in parcel volume can be crucial for some merchants. Do you need to extend customer support hours? Some companies start extending holiday hours to later in the evening and seven days a week, approximately 1 month prior.
Workflow - Are there optimizations that could be done to your workflow or the software you are using to improve production? Check out some examples of shipping automation rules in ShipStation.
Create a holiday calendar
Think of all the different holidays that occur: Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, , Christmas and Chinese New Year. If you don't stay on top of these dates, things can spiral out of control pretty fast. Creating a holiday calendar allows you to map out everything that needs to done, from email campaigns, promotions, social media posts, gift guides, and blog articles. Check out this great infographic from Justuno who mapped out all the upcoming big shopping days for North America. This will help you jumpstart your holiday promotions.
Really get into the spirit! Capturing attention and being thankful to your customers is a great way to inspire their love, far beyond the holiday season. Personalization can really make a difference too by using what a certain customer is interested in, e.g. what kind of product have theys purchased before. What kind of data could you collect about customers in order to send them as relevant offers as possible? Alternatively, once one holiday period has passed consider re-branding your entire website, promotions, and any emails you send out with the next upcoming holiday theme. This is a good way to remind your audience that the next big shopping period is coming. Last, and certainly not least, create gift cards. Gift cards are generally the best-selling item for retailers every year as customers find these offer the perfect mix of thoughtfulness, convenience, and speed.
In the eCommerce world vs. traditional brick and mortar retailing, merchants have many new ways to impress and delight their customers. That’s why it’s important for every experience your customers have, with your company and products, shows off your brand's uniqueness and creates a positive effect both on your immediate sales results and repeat business.
Companies are often so wrapped up in creating the ideal logo and choosing colors that they overlook text altogether, according to an article from Instabox. That’s a mistake because you are missing many branding opportunities. Here are some items you should consider including on your shipping box:
- Website address, phone number, physical address
- Hashtags for long-range marketing campaigns
- Branding messages
- Thank You
The holidays for eCommerce merchants will be busy and stressful, however, by using ShipStation you can streamline your business shipping processes easily. ShipStation is a web-based shipping solution for eCommerce retailers that is designed to streamline the fulfillment process and synchronize your business with sales channels, shopping carts, payment gateways, and mail carriers. Follow the four part checklist above to learn tips and ideas that will help you get started on preparing for the seasonal sales period.
About the author:
Adam Foster manages social media and content at ShipStation. Aside from doing the odd blog and social post, Adam has recently become a first-time dad.
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