Alexe Chasanov is an e-commerce community manager in California. She also works as a consultant for a start-up company to help them in their marketing and growth hacking efforts. She loves writing about fashion trends here and there, and on her free time, she loves outdoor sports and martial arts.
The holiday season is indeed the busiest time of the year and it is also full of opportunities that could increase the sales of business and attract more customers. And during the last two months of the year, holiday shopping season starts which makes the customer and other businesses strive harder.
To avoid any shortage during the most magical time of the year, it is effective to handle your e-commerce holiday marketing early. Make sure that your business is in its best condition when the holiday feasts begin because surely you don’t want to miss the expected average of 16% increase in total sales during this time of the year due to a high number of audience and potential customers. And this article would help you in preparing an e-commerce holiday sales marketing today.
So let us start by noting some important dates for holiday sales.
Sep 4: Labor Day (Marks the end of summer and beginning of back-to-school)
End of the summer means the end of children’s vacation, the school days are now approaching and parents are starting to buy the stuff needed for the first day of school. Children are currently busy preparing their things and they usually want all of their stuff new.
Oct 31: Halloween (4th largest e-commerce sales holiday)
It is the time of the year where candies and chocolates are in high demand as well as costumes for all ages to make the unforgettable spooky night possible.
Nov 11: Veteran’s Day
It is the honorable day of reminiscing the heroism of the veterans. It is a festive celebration and people have high tendency to buy.
Nov 23: Thanksgiving
This day celebrates the first article of pilgrims to America. Every house in America have turkey and pies, that’s how in demand it is!
Nov 24: Black Friday (The average shopper spends around $400 on Black Friday)
It is the day after the Thanksgiving and it is regarded as the traditional start of Christmas shopping that is why many retailers offer their items at low prices.
Nov 27: Cyber Monday
It is the first Monday after the Thanksgiving and it is often regarded by online retailers as the official day for exceptional bargains.
Dec 11: Green Monday (The largest day for online sales in December)
It is the second Monday of the month of December. It is like the cyber Monday only larger and it is coined by eBay.
Dec 16: Free Shipping Day
It is held annually where people can choose any of the online stores to order with completely free shipment fee and it is guaranteed that your package will come by ChristmasEve.
Now that you know the important dates to note, let us discuss the five most effective steps to kick-start your e-commerce marketing campaign for holiday sales.
1. Prepare your website, be fast and be up-to-date:
A website is an important element in today’s business industry. And there are a lot of things you have to consider in order to prepare your website for holiday seasons. You have to ensure that your website is mobile friendly so that people who are using their mobile phones can have an easy access to your e-commerce site. And in order to attract more audience, you have to craft a unique value statement or tagline and emphasize the reasons why they should trust you. It is also desirable that you create guidelines for the holiday products or services that you offer and improve your website by adding a landing page.
Your social media channels should be prepared for the surge of reviews. There’s no perfect
strategy in ensuring you get everything 100%, but there are ways to provide excellent customer service throughout the holidays. Create your social media plan template to promote your business this holiday season — Facebook and Instagram are the most robust marketing channels to invest your time in. Email marketing is good for the announcement for discounts or dealing with cart abandonment. On the other hand, other channels like Google AdWords can place your products above your organic competitors. The opportunities for reaching out to potential customers are endless!
2. Prepare to stock up your item and make sure to have enough inventories:
It is important to prepare for holiday sales in order to ensure that everything will be fine and you will not experience any shortage on your stocks. You need to estimate seasonal demands and what are the current ecommerce trends. Always make sure that your inventory process will be able to go along with the holiday rush and you should know the status of your current stocks.
It is also necessary to review your inventory management software and ensure that it is in the latest version during this busy time of the year, after that, link your shopping cart to the inventory management applications and if it is needed to put a tag emphasizing that the products are currently in limited numbers, do so to encourage the customers to buy the product immediately.
Another thing to consider here is your manufacturer, you have to know them and assess the time it takes for them to deliver your orders. Since it is the most hectic and in demand season, your manufacturer might also have many things to do and if you are not able to secure your orders ahead of time, there is a high possibility of occurrence of supply chain disruption.
3. Prepare your sales team:
Sales staff plays an important role in the business. They serve as the public face of your business that talks to your customers and accommodate their needs. They are handling your customers and their attitude is important to the success of your business. They provide a direct contribution to your business since their performance affects the ecommerce revenue and profits of the e-commerce.
Sales team inputs are very important and you have to prepare them for the upcoming holiday sales process. But first, you have to develop a holiday strategic plan ahead of time so that you will still have an allowance time to revise or change your plan when something went wrong. Conduct a specific training session for your current staffs in order to provide an exceptional customer service.
4. Prepare when you start reaching out your suppliers:
Supply chain management is the process of ensuring that merchandises are properly delivered by the manufacturer on time, in right quantities, and are in the right location. It is primarily concerned with the supplier’s efficient integration.
And this supply chain management is important for your e-commerce holiday preparation since it will be the primary factor you have to consider in order to have enough amounts of products to supply the high demand during holiday sales.
In order to ensure that you will not encounter any shortage issues, approach your suppliers and create a plan with them how you will prepare for holiday sales. Nothing beats a plan made ahead of time, strategize peak supply chains early and ensure that you will be on be thefirst priority of the manufacturer to deliver products.
It is also important for you to track the location of your products by using shipment tracking tools that offer an instant notification setting to keep you updated. And you must establish a clear communication between you and your transportation provider. Since retail shippers have a lot of things to deal with too that is why it is important that you give them an early notice of your delivery needs.
If supply chain disruption isn’t avoidable for some reasons, the drop shipping supplier method will be much of a help. It works by the customer paying directly to your store and then you pay the supplier for them to deliver it to the customer directly. It is obviously different from the traditional process wherein the store owner orders product from the manufacturer to give it their customers.
5. Prepare your customer’s delivery expectations:
Time is the most common delivery error a customer experience; another is the low quality or defects of the product due to careless handling during transportation. These happenings can prompt a negative impact to your business leading to loss of loyal clients and decrease in a number of potentials buyers. Hence, you must come up with plans and solutions on how to handle these negative downsides.
You can advise the customer accordingly upon purchase that there would be a delay on delivery of the product due to the high number of deliveries to be made during this time of the year. Another thing is, make sure that the delivery address is correct because there is also a high chance that the delivery was late because of wrong address. We can’t do anything about the shipping errors but you can implement address data verification in order to eliminate the receipt of invalid address numbers.
Customers do have high expectations, don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to reach it but be challenged instead. Use it as a stepping stone to further improve your e-commerce strategies and be able to provide the best quality service each time. Improvement is important for online business growth and success that is why learning from your past mistakes and grabbing every opportunity is important.
Never get scared of failing in doing something because that is the best way to improve your business. And if it is possible, ask your customers for a feedback, if it is negative, thank them and start doing something to eliminate or alter it. And if it is good, thank them and don’t settle because it is good, make it better and better each time until it is the best!
Holiday seasons may be a stressful and hectic time of the year, but it is the best time for you to improve your e-commerce marketing strategy and promote the existence of your business.
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