The holiday season is the most critical time of the year for most e-commerce stores. Through some strategic planning in the three months prior to the holiday season, you can prime your e-commerce company for your most profitable year ever. Below is a look at the key role that the holiday season plays in the e-commerce arena along with a series of tips to help you capitalize on the increase in consumer buying that occurs in November and December.

Why is the holiday season so critical to e-commerce stores?

“November and December drive 30% more ecommerce revenue than non-holiday months. The days from Black Friday through Christmas pull in 50-100% more revenue compared to shopping days throughout the rest of the year.”

 

RJMetrics

Holiday sales revenue is playing an increasingly powerful role for e-commerce companies. For starters, 2017 holiday sales increased by 18% compared to 2016 holiday sales. And with experts forecasting a holiday sales increase of 15% in 2018, you can hardly afford not to focus on optimizing your holiday sales.

How can you best prepare your e-commerce store for the holidays?

Establishing yourself as a key player in today’s increasingly competitive e-commerce market requires creativity, ingenuity, and good old-fashioned advance planning. Below are seven ways to help you prepare your e-commerce store for a stellar holiday season.

1) Begin strategizing in August and September

The path to a fruitful holiday season for your business begins with advance planning. Waiting until the week before the holidays arrive can leave you without a solid marketing strategy that will help you capitalize on the holiday sales rush. Procrastination can also leave you without the proper staff or inventory necessary to handle the increase in holiday orders. You can avoid these pitfalls by developing your marketing strategy months in advance.

2) Review your sales results from last year’s holiday season

“Those Who Cannot Learn From History Are Doomed to Repeat it.”

 

George Santayana

Even the most profitable, seemingly flawless e-commerce companies have their imperfections. And these imperfections could evolve into major setbacks if they are not addressed prior to the holidays. Analyzing your e-commerce store’s performance during last year’s holiday season will help you set sales goals and opportunities for improvement for the upcoming season. For instance, you can identify your peak selling days and potential product shortages that could impact your holiday performance.

Close up Two hand holding mobile phone with Promo code page and icons, Internet Marketing concept.

3) Prepare a stellar email marketing campaign

An effective email marketing campaign will prompt your customers to take action by placing an order before or during the holiday season. As you prepare your email campaign, remember to refrain from satiating your customers with frequent sales pitches and generic reminders to buy. Instead, try these tips to create a motivating email marketing campaign:

  • Intersperse your sales-related e-mails with messages that contain helpful tips for your customers
  • Personalize your e-mail campaign by targeting specific customers with content tailored to their needs
  • Do not forget to include a call to action button on your e-mail messages

 

4) Seek the services of a trusted order fulfillment provider

“Fulfillment companies handle inventory, order processing, and shipping functions for other businesses. Handing these daily tasks over to a fulfillment partner lets you focus on marketing, product development, and other growth drivers. This solution is popular with ecommerce sellers, as well as wholesalers, manufacturers, and more.”

 

Krista Fabregas, Former e-commerce store owner and editor for Fit Small Business

 

For a growing number of e-commerce store owners, a trusted order fulfillment provider is the key to a significant increase in holiday sales. While a retail fulfillment partner will not directly generate sales for you, their ability to take order processing tasks off your plate allows you to focus virtually all of your efforts on holiday sales and marketing. The end results are stronger holiday sales, increased customer satisfaction, and reduced stress levels for e-commerce store owners.

5) Alert your customers of important dates

Do not delay notifying your customers about your holiday shipping schedule. This step requires a proactive approach on your part. Make sure you post your holiday shipping schedule on your website and also include it in your fourth quarter email campaigns. In addition to communicating key dates to your customers, you must also remain in contact with your order fulfillment provider. Here are a few important dates to convey:

  • Your final shipping day of the holiday season
  • Dates during which shipments will not be dispatched
  • The final day a customer can purchase products and still expect to receive them before the holidays

 

6) Incentivize customers to place orders in advance

The three busiest days for the e-commerce industry are Cyber Monday, the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, and Black Friday. The revenue-generating power of these three days is impressive, but the highly concentrated rush of shoppers can deplete inventory and leave e-commerce companies without the resources needed to accommodate the sudden spike in traffic. You can incentivize customers to place orders in advance of these three dates by offering the following:

  • Time-sensitive discounts on orders placed before Thanksgiving
  • Free shipping and a “mystery gift” to all customers who order in advance of the holidays
  • A complimentary (related) accessory with the purchase of a specific product or products

 

7) Develop ads that include holiday keywords

From “Cyber Monday” to “Holiday Deals,” keywords are a huge part of bringing in more traffic during the holidays. Users don’t care where they get their products, as long as they get that 50% off.”

 

Catalin Zorzini, ecommerce platforms

Featuring holiday-related keywords in your content marketing is essential to improving your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. While you want to make sure that your content reads naturally and is useful to customers, make sure to include plenty of keywords that link your products with keywords such as “holiday”, “sale”, and “discount”.

The Bottom Line

As the owner of an e-commerce store, you are likely aware of the need to maximize your sales during the holiday seasons. By following the seven steps above, you can ensure that your e-commerce store is properly prepared for the holidays. We invite you to contact us for a quote and learn how our order fulfillment services can increase your efficiency and delight your customers. We look forward to helping you have your best holiday season ever!