How has the summer slump been for you? Many businesses struggle to find things to fill the time with during the hot time of the year. They often rely on trying to drum up sales with wacky sales... or simply take a vacation.
Instead of those options, though, why not take the time to get your online store ready for the holidays? They'll be here before you know it, and there's plenty of work to do once "back to school" morphs into "Cyber Monday" morphs into "Oh cripes! I need last minute gifts." Might as well get started earlier while you have time - once things get going you may not have a moment to spare!
Before you do anything else, try to figure out what you want to get out of the holiday sales this year. Try to be as specific as possible, too; instead of your goal being "increase sales" try making it "increase sales by 30%." This can give you a more defined end-game and motivate you when your energy flags.
Now look at the number from last year's venture. Where did you go wrong? What went right? Learning from the past can help you when you're not sure how to proceed or you don't have a particular item in mind for a sale.
Speaking of items, do some research on what's projected to be the "big ticket" items this year. There are people who spend quite a long time watching trends and predicting the big movers, so read what others say to see if you can take advantage.
Plan Your Site
Consider your average holiday shopper in November. They have around a month left to finish up their shopping and are starting to freak out. Making matters worse, as soon as they hop on the Internet, they see roughly ten billion ads and links to stores to visit.
This user only has a few seconds of visit time before determining if they want to stay at your shop. Now them clicking away after a bit isn't really their fault - it's up to you to make sure they stay and buy stuff.
What separates your website from the countless others vying for shoppers' attentions? Is it a great sale or maybe a "Christmas Explosion" page that lists all the best stuff? Does your site look well-designed and trustworthy? Whatever you think it is, boost it up so it blows buyers' minds.
What Can You Afford?
As a combination of both of the previous points, figure out if a big sale or advertisement is within your means. It's a tough reality to learn, but customers only care about your store during the holidays if they get something out of it. You often have to literally drag them into your store.
So plan ahead and see if you can figure out a way to have a big sale or design a big PR push this season. The sale doesn't have to be bank breaking - free shipping should do the trick. The PR push is similar as a fun video telling customers why they should visit your shop can make a huge difference.
Do whatever it takes to make your shop stand out from the crowd. Be as original as you can be if you want to make the most money during the holidays.