10 Ways to Prepare for the Online Holiday Shopping Season

It’s hard to believe that fall is here. This also means that it’s time to start planning for the holiday rush. According to eMarketer, eCommerce sales are expected to grow by 17 percent this year. Here are ten things you can do to get on your customers “nice list.”

1) Start Creating Holiday Content Now

Start Creating Holiday Content Now

Almost 49 percent of online marketers have their holiday marketing campaign in place before Halloween, according to Adept. Get your product based landing pages set before Halloween, with items you think will be popular this holiday season. Once your main landing pages are set, you can create relevant blog content that your customer can find interesting during the holiday season.

2) Browse Your Site on a Mobile Device

Browse Your Site on a Mobile Device

Approximately 30 percent of online sales were closed over a tablet or smartphone last holiday season, according to Internet Retailer. As more people browse and shop through their devices, your site should be optimized for them. In Google Analytics, checking your mobile bounce rate can help determine if any changes are needed.

3) Secure Your Site

Secure Your Site

With all of the orders coming through your site, it’s important to ensure that customer information is safe. Our 7cart eCommerce Platform has three layers of encryption for customer credit card data, and accounts can become locked if too many password attempts are made.

4) Go Through Your Checkout Experience

Go Through Your Checkout Experience

Your checkout process is one of the most important factors for whether or not a prospect takes the next step. Research what you can do about shopping cart abandonment and various payment methods available for your site. Give your customers various ways to make payments to make checkout a painless process.

5) Leverage Email Marketing

Leverage Email Marketing

This is a great way to introduce any new holiday-themed pages. According to Inc Magazine, holiday themed e-mail marketing messages received a 46 percent higher open rate than other messages. Ensure that your e-mail blast has clear calls to action and find out what times your customers usually open messages and go to your site.

This is also a good time to clean up your email lists of any users who bounce or haven’t opened any of your messages.

6) Personalize Your Offers

Personalize Your Offers

Online marketing and eCommerce are becoming more and more about offering a personalized experience for each of your customers. Consider checking out a solution like Rekko for customized e-mail messages, and offers that would come up based on browse time, number of pages visited, and other on-site factors.

7) Think About Shipping Costs

Think About Shipping Costs

Almost 46.7 percent of customers are looking for free or reduced shipping when finding a place to shop from, according to the National Retail Federation. Consider enabling it when a customer spends over a certain amount, or when they choose products from a specific category. Kissmetrics offers a great guide to how to implement free shipping but still be profitable.

8) Optimize Your Current Product Listings

Optimize Your Current Product Listings

Look at your site search data and see how your customers search for products. For some of you, your wholesaler might optimize your product listings. Each product on your site should have an easy to understand title, along with a short form and long form description. Take it to the next step and incorporate high quality images and videos where possible.

9) Have a Customer Service Plan

Have a Customer Service Plan

With more orders being processed through your site, it’s important that you have enough staff to handle any inquiries that come through. Have your customer service team monitor Facebook Messages and Twitter Mentions in addition to e-mails to help streamline communication between you and your buyers.

10) Set a Cut-Off Date for Holiday Shipping

Set a Cut-Off Date for Holiday Shipping

Evaluate your shipping abilities from past years, and come up with a cut-off date for holiday orders. Ensure that your customers are aware of these dates through social media messages or a post on your blog.

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