For anyone else, it might seem too early to talk about the holidays but for online retailers looking to make 2015 their best holiday season, now is the perfect time to start preparing. This is your chance to plan, prepare and make the most of the holiday rush before you’re too busy to do it.
So today, let’s cover some of the best things to consider and do now so you can be ready and take full advantage of what promises to be the most profitable holiday season yet.
1. Is your site ready?
First, marketing and sales tactics aside – is your actual website ready for the holidays? You should expect extra traffic and a higher volume of sales. Now’s the time to make sure your site is capable of handling that. Consider the following:
- Site speed is very important for user experience. If your site takes too long to load, customers will move on. Talk to your developer about how fast your site is and if it needs to be faster.
- Mobile-friendliness is an absolute must. More and more online shoppers are browsing and buying from their phones and tablets. If your site doesn’t work on a mobile device, you are losing sales.
- Security is also extremely important. Unfortunately, hacking is a reality and hackers know this is your busiest time of year. Customers are also weary of sites that don’t look secure. So it’s very important that your site IS secure and LOOKS secure.
- User-friendliness is key too. Your site needs to be easy to navigate, your products need to be easy to find, your product information needs to be detailed and your shipping and return policies must be clear and easy to understand.
If you have any concerns about your site’s readiness, ioVista offers a holiday readiness consultation. Email or call us today for details.
2. Will you have special holiday policies for shipping and returns?
Online customers want peace of mind especially when they’re buying gifts. If there’s ever a time to loosen your return policies, the holiday season is it. If you have a 30 day return policy, consider extending it or making it clear that you’ll accept returns after Christmas. Your return policy should be easy to understand and easy to execute. If customers think it’ll be a hassle to return an unwanted gift, they won’t buy that gift from you. So not only do you need a great policy but you need to be sure it’s easy to find and understand on your website.
3. Consider offering gift cards
Gift card sales always go through the roof during the holidays. Brick and mortar stores have been taking advantage of this for years. Online retailers can do the same. You could offer e-certificates but think about ways to set yourself apart. Consider special packaging for an actual card so customers can hand someone an actual gift to unwrap. Another way to entice gift card shoppers is to offer incentives on the pricing. For example, offer a $25 gift card for $20 or a $100 gift card for $90.
4. Think about how you’ll turn holiday shoppers into return customers
Other than offering a great experience to your customers, think of ways you can turn the customers and the people they buy gifts for into repeat buyers. Some possible ideas to consider are:
- Send the buyer an email coupon that’s good in January and send a reminder email after the holidays.
- Include a coupon, special offer or a new product sample (if possible) in every package you send.
5. Plan your email marketing campaign in advance
Lastly, one of the best things you can do right now to boost your chances at a great holiday season is to plan out your email marketing campaign in advance. Come up with an outline of sales, information and incentives to share. Will you be offering coupons, special sales, limited-time-only deals or other special incentives? You don’t need to know every detail of your plan but it helps to start creating an outline or a schedule and begin to develop your plan.
This list is a starting point. These are some of the basics to start thinking about and planning for now. It is early but that’s why it’s the perfect time to be proactive and get ahead. This will be the first in a series of articles with tips, insights and ideas to help you get ready for the 2015 holiday season. But in the meantime, ioVista can help make sure that your site itself is ready for the extra traffic and sales that are coming. Give us a call or send us an email today, if you’re interested in a Holiday Readiness Consultation.