The holiday season is the busiest and most profitable one for any e-commerce business owner. With this in mind, it’s important to have a holiday selling checklist to guide your strategy. This is how you will be able to make the most out of the earning potential that the season brings along with it.
Today, we’ll be walking you through 9 aspects of running a Shopify store together with a holiday selling checklist of things you need to prepare for successful holiday selling. Let’s get started!
☑ Find out what sells best in your store and select a “hero” product
Your number one goal for any of the upcoming holiday, be it Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas, is to maximize your earnings. You will only be able to do this if you know which products to sell to your customers.
Take the time to look at data from the last holiday season to find out what products in your lineup sell well. Determine a “hero” product and prioritize selling these hot items to your customers.
☑ Check inventory levels and fill up as needed
You wouldn’t want to get caught in the holiday shopping rush with no inventory at hand. Before the season begins, make sure that inventory is at the top of your holiday selling checklist. Inventory need to be at the proper levels, especially those hot commodities that you know are going to fly off the digital shelves.
Remember that no matter how loyal your customers are, they’d be more than happy to buy from a competitor if you don’t have what they need in stock.
☑ Coordinate with your suppliers
If you don’t manufacture your products yourself, it’s best to coordinate with your supplier several weeks ahead of the holiday rush. Let them know that you’re expecting an increase in demand so they can keep up with your orders.
Check out these Best Practices when Sourcing from China or Anywhere in Asia.
☑ Create a holiday marketing calendar you can stick to
Marketing plays an important role in holiday selling. Since this is the busiest time of the year for your Shopify store, it’s important to plan out your strategy with a marketing calendar. Even if you’re not personally handling marketing efforts, it pays to have everything mapped out from email campaigns to promotions, to social media posts, to blogs and graphics.
Add items from this holiday selling checklist to your marketing calendar so it’s easier to make sure they get done. And get marketing help if you need to.
☑ Plan your ads and corresponding copy
Starting things ahead of time is going to save you from a lot of headaches once the holidays start rushing in. Plan ads, create graphics, and write blog posts beforehand so you won’t have to worry about consistency and quality while you’re busy fulfilling orders.
☑ Create holiday landing pages
Set up landing pages for corresponding holidays that feature your hero products. Landing pages are known to increase conversions which will result in a profitable holiday season for you.
☑ Capitalize content marketing and create blogs and other media for the holidays
Valuable content goes a long way when it comes to marketing your products. During the holidays, it has to take priority on your holiday selling checklist. Consider setting up videos, crafting gift guides, podcasts, and blog articles in time for the holidays so you can push content to your customers.
3. Store Backend
☑ Make sure that your site can handle the influx of customers
Successful holiday selling means making sure that your site can handle the pressure from the influx of customers. Test your server’s load capacity and consider upgrading your hosting plan’s bandwidth limits. This reduces the chances of 509 errors happening at crucial times on Black Friday.
Moreover, nothing irks a customer more than a slow-loading website. Don’t risk losing potential sales and check if your webpages take longer than 3 seconds to load. Look for things like pictures and other media on your online store that may be hampering your site’s speed.
☑ Optimize your site for mobile devices
If you don’t already know, more than half of the total number of e-commerce customers shop using a mobile device. This is why it’s important to create a seamless purchasing experience across multiple devices in your online store.
Mobile shopping is a year-round trend, but it’s on this holiday selling checklist because the busier people get, the more they use their mobiles — and the holiday season is the busiest one of the year.
☑ Check for broken links and improve 404 and 500 error pages
Websites tend to evolve over time, which means there may be pages that get deleted or completely forgotten about until someone clicks a broken link. Before the holidays, run a broken link check to make sure that your site is clean and free from 404 and 500 error pages.
However, since mistakes are inevitable, it is also important to have a safety net of sorts. Have someone design Page Not Found and Internal Server Error pages that will still keep your customers engaged and will improve their experience.
4. Store Frontend
☑ Deck the halls with banners and graphics
Let your online store reflect the season’s cheer by creating festive pop-ups and banners to transform it into a holiday wonderland for your customers. You can use Shopify apps to decorate your store to get your customers into the spirit of the holidays.
☑ Reorganize your products
Make navigating your online store easier for the holiday shopper. Organize your offerings into categories like recipient type and price point. This will help your customers find what they want more easily and improve their experience.
You might also want to consider using headings that grab the attention of frazzled shoppers like “top-selling” and “recommended for you”.
☑ Make crucial information readily available and visible to shoppers
When it comes to holiday selling, you’re likely to get more customers to click the checkout button if you make them feel like they’re getting an great deal by buying form you. Make savings and discount information highly visible.
Show stock availability of products especially if supplies are running low and indicate if a sale is coming to an end using a countdown timer. This emphasizes urgency which increases sales.
Make sure as well that the cart and the checkout button is clearly visible on every page in your website.
5. Social Media
☑ Roll out a holiday contest or giveaway
Spreading holiday cheer on social media can positively impact your holiday selling. Implementing contests or giveaways has a way of engaging customers particularly well during the holiday season when everyone feels generous.
Depending on the products you are selling, you can run photo contests, promotion giveaways, or essay contests that your customers can participate in.
☑ Setup Your Facebook Shop
It pays to have multiple storefronts in e-commerce. Apart from having a Shopify store, a Facebook store will also help your holiday selling goals. Customers spend a lot of their time on social media, so getting this on your holiday selling checklist will get you off to a great start. If you have a Facebook store, they can purchase from you with the simple two-click checkout process. This will dramatically impact your holiday take.
☑ Make your product pages and posts shareable
Social media is an excellent platform for driving sales. Make sure that more people see your products and promotions during the holiday by enabling social sharing on your web store. Install social sharing buttons on your web pages to increase awareness around your band.
You can also use messenger bots to help you with marketing and customer service.
☑ Focus on holiday-related keywords
As the holiday season approaches, keywords like “gifts”, “Hanukkah”, and “black Friday” influence people’s searching habits. Make the most out of this trend by incorporating seasonal keywords into your SEO strategy.
If you’re not an SEO expert, consider hiring some help.
☑ Create unique content for the holidays
Develop pages on your website that are specifically designed for the holidays. Design holiday-centric content like gift guides to keep customers engaged and to increase their conversion potential.
☑ Be smart about using keywords
Use simple, relevant, and targeted keywords in strategic areas. This includes headers, image alt tags, and even in your URLs to improve your search ranking.
☑ Show all fees in the shopping cart before checkout
41% of customers reportedly abandon their cart once they see hidden fees during checkout. To avoid this, make sure to indicate all fees related to the purchase even before customers hit the checkout button.
☑ Review and update your payment options if necessary
Not all online shoppers use a credit card to complete their purchases. Make sure that you have various payment gateways that customers can choose from. This makes it easier for people to give you their money since they are comfortable with the payment options you are offering.
☑ Create an after-payment page that shows order confirmation and order details
Give your customers a better experience shopping at your store by providing a clear confirmation page they can get redirected to upon checkout. You can use this page to thank them for their purchase, let them know that they will be receiving a receipt via email, and to invite them to sign up for your newsletter so they can get access to special offers in the future.
☑ Set up cart abandonment emails
Cart abandonment is inevitable in the e-commerce business. However, that doesn’t always mean lost business opportunities for you. During the holiday selling season, it’s critical to make sure that your Shopify store has a cart recovery system to remind customers through email if they leave your site without hitting the checkout button.
☑ Develop a gift receipt option
Some shoppers opt to have their orders shipped out as a gift to their loved ones but don’t want to reveal how much they had spent on it. A gift receipt lets buyers hide the price of the item to the recipient while still allowing for returns or exchanges in your store.
☑ Think about how you ship customer orders
Offers like free shipping and same-day shipping are highly attractive especially for frantic shoppers who may be pressed for time or are hunting down bargains by shopping online. If you offer free shipping for orders above a certain threshold, customers are more likely to purchase more items from your store.
Meanwhile, if you offer same-day shipping, you can capture the last-minute shoppers who are willing to pay a premium for getting their orders delivered in the nick of time for the holidays.
8. Shipping and Delivery
☑ Don’t make shipping promises you can’t keep
The holidays can be a hectic time for shipping out customer orders, and when people don’t get their packages on time, you might end up having to deal with upset customers. To prevent this, be sure to be realistic about your shipping estimations.
☑ Offer gift wrapping
If you can, offer gift wrapping services to your customers. You can charge a little extra for this service or you can offer it for free if they purchase a certain amount from your store.
☑ Consider hiring seasonal help to fulfill orders
Holiday selling can be overwhelming even if you have all hands on deck. Take a look at your order fulfillment strategy and look at how freelancers can make your business run a little smoother during the holidays. Don’t get caught up in trying to fulfill thousands of orders when you can only process 700. Get the help you need from trusted freelancer marketplaces like FreeeUp.
9. Customer Support
☑ Activate your live chat service
Customers often go to your FAQ section when they have questions about your products or services. However, sometimes this isn’t enough and they need a little extra help from you. Email and social media can be helpful platforms to provide customer service. However, customers today demand instant service and don’t want to get caught up in the waiting game. They are likely to lose interest in buying from you if you can’t give them an immediate response.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that your web store has a live chat service where customers can ask their questions and get instant answers minus the wait time.
☑ Plan for the worst
Contingency is your best friend during the holiday rush. Before the season even begins, think about the things that might go wrong once customers come flooding your Shopify store.
Plan for things like your online store going down during the holidays, receiving more orders than you can handle, missing shipments, and the like. While it’s great to hope for the best during the holidays, it’s still best to prepare for worst-scenarios so your operations don’t come to a screeching halt at the first sign of trouble.
☑ Clarify your return policy
Gifts often get returned, so it’s important that you have a clear set of return and exchange policies. Make sure that your customers have access to information about who pays for shipping, how the process works, and whether or not there is a cut-off date for returns.
You Don’t Have to Do It All By Yourself
With the holidays fast approaching, it’s important for online store owners like you to be prepared. The checklist above will not help you make the most out of the earning potential the season brings, but can also help you out during other times of the year.
If the holiday rush seems to be a bit too much for you or your in-house squad to handle, don’t worry because FreeeUp has you covered. You can find freelancers with the skills that can help you get through the busiest time of the year without breaking a sweat. If you’re ready to ramp up your holiday selling game, sign up today!
Anby Alcomendas is a writer, proofreader, editor, and researcher. She helps business owners target and convert the right customers through content creation and refinement. When she’s not busy creating content, she turns to art for solace.