If you think it’s too early to get your store ready for the 2015 holiday sale, then do a re-think; the holiday season may still be some months away, but there’s nothing like gearing up and being prepared- it’s a great opportunity to turn seasonal shoppers into regular customers.
Almost 20 percent of the industry’s sales are said to occur in those last few weeks of the year and billions of dollars are on line during the last two months. According to eMarketer, US retail sales is going to be greatly influenced by mobile, while Custora E-commerce Pulse points to mobile e-commerce, search, email marketing and social media becoming marketing priorities in 2015. Apparently, there’s a lot of work to be done and planning has to start early.
Stock up on holiday gifts
You surely don’t want to run out of those and have to turn away customers; you want those orders coming in as fast as you can ship them. So do create a sufficiently large inventory of both new and old products to retain that competitive edge and ensure that a lot more customers favor you. Mobiles, tablets and smartphones are winners any day.
Marketing plans are important
The online market is being overwhelmed, it’s changing because customers’ needs and preferences are changing and if you want those dollars flying in as fast as you can collect them, change your marketing plans to cater to today’s holiday users. A look at last year’s performance will help you plan a marketing strategy that can cope with the rush.
Don’t ignore Social Media
Social media is a great way of reaching out to audiences, so take a long hard look at your accounts and revamp them if needed. Increase consumer engagement, get customer feedback about potential ideas and discounts, create holiday season campaigns to lure them and keep them interested enough to want to buy from you.
Up the ante on Mobile eCommerce
This one’s a no-brainer, given the fact that the whole world is veering towards mobile engagement. Mobile apps are a very critical part of the shopping experience and retailers need to be able to deliver personalized shopping experiences. A 2014 holiday shopping survey indicated that during the holiday season, 91 percent intended to make purchases through a mobile app, while 94 percent indicated that they are purchasing and browsing products on apps more than ever before. This year, that trend is only set to increase.
Ramp up Pre- Holiday Promotions
This one’s sure to get you that head start you’re looking for. Get that festive atmosphere going, offer free refreshments maybe, invite people to shop at your store and set the ball rolling.
Set yourself apart from competition
Send unique, refreshing messages across all channels and offer something that other stores don’t. Offer help with gift ideas, reach out to old customers, and offer suggestions that’ll help consumers — in short, get them to come to you because you’re special.
Get your customer service act together
This cannot be emphasized enough as customer service experience is the dividing line between making a billion dollars and losing them. While hiring seasonal help, ensure that new hires know what customer service really means.
Ready yourself to cope with the holiday rush
Ensure that you have enough of everything—be it gift wrapping, packaging, containers and boxes. Keep in mind and plan for extending working hours, more man-power and more supplies. Ensure that your websites are up and working and can handle surges in traffic. Don’t be complacent, having enough is never really enough.
Important– Optimize for holiday searches
SEO drives searches and if your store is to figure at the top, add holiday season keywords to your products and websites, early enough, so that they’re crawled by search engines and ranked high.
Decorate your store and color your website
It’s the holiday season—let that permeate throughout your stores—add designs and features that are holiday specific and entice visitors to stop and shop. Document your reviews and instill confidence in consumers—make the holiday season special for them.
What are you waiting for? Start now—it’s never too soon.