Are you also planning to double up your sales and traffic this holiday season?

It is estimated that around 7 Billion people will be ready to spend money on gifts and vouchers for their friends and family.

If you own an e-commerce store, then this is the right time to prepare for the holiday sales season. 

You must audit your store for security, performance and appearance to ensure the best customer experience.

In this article, I am going to share a complete guide to prepare your e-commerce store for the holiday season 2019-2020.

  1. Prepare your store for upcoming holiday season
  2. Make Marketing Plan for Festive Season 2019-2020
  3. Market Your Store like Hell
  4. Order fulfilment and returns

Prepare your store for upcoming holiday season

Learn from your past mistakes

Before planning any marketing campaign for your store, you must take time to reflect on your previous year holiday campaign. You must address the questions such as 

  1. What worked in your previous campaign? 
  2. What didn’t work? 
  3. What are you definitely repeating?

It is crucial that you dig deep into the promotional strategies you adopted last year so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes. For example:-

  1. Which promotions drove the most/least revenue? 
  2. What had the highest/lowest ROI? 
  3. Which promotions moved the most inventory? 
  4. Were your post-holiday promotions successful?

Once you have listed down what worked for you in the past and what didn’t work, move onto create marketing plan for holiday season 2019-2020. 

Make sure your website is optimized for Mobile

It is expected that more than 50% of the e-commerce sales  will come from mobile phones by 2021. Therefore, it has become crucial to optimize your store for mobile. You can do it in the following ways:-

By implementing AMP- AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is a google endorsed product for optimizing website for mobile. With the help of AMP, you can create web pages that are smooth and fast to download. 

Optimizing images and other graphics size- Images which are not compressed and optimized for different devices slow down the website loading time. Hence, optimize your images before final uploading into your website.

Ensure your website loads under 3 seconds

If your site loads slowly or getting stuck whenever there is a surge in traffic, then slow server performance may be one of the reasons behind it.

Go for dedicated or cloud servers instead of shared ones for your e-commerce store for optimum performance.

Every e-commerce store owner receives a sudden boost in traffic at the time of holiday sales. Your traditional web hosting may not be able to handle so many requests at one time and may result in recurring downtimes.

Going for a scalable web hosting partner can prevent these kind of situations. 

Select right landing pages for your store

Ensure your website loads under 3 secondsSelecting the right landing page for your website is required to convert your visitors into potential leads and buyers.

Therefore, it is necessary that they are simple without any distraction as compared to other web pages of the website. Hence, the landing pages are helpful to direct customers to the right path. 

Besides being conversion-focused, landing pages are used to determine how successful your e-commerce marketing campaign is. For example, you can add a link to your lead capture page and analyze the click-through rate and desired conversion rate.

Festive themes 

Interactive and Responsive holiday season themes can improve the overall user experience of your website. Keep following things in mind while selecting the right festive theme for your ecommerce store:-

  • Responsive and Compatible to all the devices
  • Interactive and simple design
  • Easy to navigate
  • Fast loading times

SSL Secure

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is critical when transferring sensitive information over the internet. It ensures an encrypted data transmission between the web server and the browser.

If your store isn’t running on an HTTPS connection, your customers’ private information is sent over the web, unencrypted. SSL is mandatory for e-commerce security, however, over 49% of Magento stores are still not using SSL.

This is probably one of the reasons, the websites suffer from security threats.

Make Marketing Plan for Festive Season 2019-2020

Set Benchmarks and Goals

Now that you’ve taken a comprehensive look at how you did last year, set benchmarks based on that performance. 

What are reasonable expectations for email open, click, and conversion rates based on last year? 

What were your revenue targets? 

How did specific marketing activities drive revenue? 

Then, once you have benchmarks for your holiday marketing activities, start to set goals. You should also start working to determine which specific activities you’ll use to reach that goal. 

Set up Google Analytics

You must set up Google Analytics before starting marketing campaigns to track their performance and optimize them accordingly. 

Ensure you have set up goals or events for every campaign you want to track. Otherwise, you will not be able to monitor anything. 

Promote Your Store Like Hell

  1. Run A Contest    
  2. Virtual Shopping Assistant
  3. SEO Ready
  4. Outreach Campaigns 
  5. Create product detailed and updated product pages (videos, descriptions, faqs)
  6. Referral marketing/Loyalty Program
  7. Re-targeting & Re-engagement/Web Push Notifications
  8. Optimize for cart abandonment
  9. Reviews & Ratings
  10. Sell on multi-channels
  11. Convert Festive Sales-2019-2020 into Lifetime Commitment

Run A Contest 

Running a contest helps in increasing engagement with your customers. It could be a quiz, daily poll, treasure hunt, selfie uploads, etc. Run your contest across all social media platforms and promote it like hell. 

In lieu of their participation, you can offer them great discounts or gift vouchers to your website. This will increase the number of your potential customers and boost sales in return.

Just make sure the contest is such that users are compelled to share it  with their family and friends.

Virtual Shopping Assistant

When you go shopping in malls or shops, there is always someone to guide you through your purchase. They ask what are you looking for, which brands do you prefer, desired range, etc.

Virtual shopping assistant does exactly that and helps you take the right decision. It makes the shopping journey comfortable for your users.

If you are planning to add some new features to you e-commerce store, then virtual shopping assistant for guided selling of products can be the right choice. 

SEO Ready

This is high time you start optimizing your ecommerce store for SEO. All other features and optimizations will not matter, if you don’t get any traffic. Hence, this must be one of your top priorities.

On average, an e-commerce site receives 34% organic traffic.

Therefore, today I’m going to show you the SEO checklist that can increase your sales by 150%.

SEO Checklist

  1. Upgrade to Latest Version 
  2. Enable Search-friendly URLs 
  3. Optimize Product Descriptions and Images
  4. Use Canonical Tag to Solve Duplicate Content Problem
  5. Customer Reviews
  6. Write meta description and title
  7. WWW vs non-WWW
  8. Modify Robot.txt file
  9. Keep out-of-stock products live
  10. Header Settings
  11. XML Sitemap Generation
  12. Lean Code
  13. Speed is Important
  14. Mobile-friendly
  15. Outreach Campaigns

It is important to reach out to every blogger in your niche and share your deal. Make a detailed list of all such bloggers and try to avoid paid promotions. 

Blogger outreach program could be in terms of:-

  • Guest Blog post: You can write a guest post about your product. Mention all the details necessary to create interest among the readers.
  • Product Review: You can share a sample product with the blogger and ask them to write a product.
  • Banners & Ads: Since the visitors of the blog are more related to your target segment, you can run banners & ads on their blog/website.
  • Affiliate promotion: You can create an affiliate partnership with the top bloggers. On each sale of your product coming from their website, they will earn a certain

The most important aspect of success in blogger outreach program is the proper research. You can start with a simple Google search. For e.g., you sell makeup products. Search in google for “top” or “best” or “latest” makeup products:

  • Top 10 makeup products
  • Latest makeup products
  • Trending makeup products for ‘year’
  • Makeup products for ‘season’ (like summer, winter)
  • Makeup products for teens

Search for similar kind of terms in Google and it will give you the complete list of websites.

Create detailed and updated product pages

Since there are so many websites with so many products, your product description should be unique with relevant keywords. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use manufacturers’ product descriptions.

Google will view it as duplicate content and penalize your website. In fact, there are chances that Google may not index your website in the first place.

Therefore, one of the key Magento SEO techniques is to optimize product descriptions and image alt-tags for better search engine rankings.

  • Always use a proper description and never try to stuff your keywords in alt-tag.
  • Give your images informative filenames. For example, my-new-black-kitten.jpg is a lot more informative than IMG00023.JPG

You need to ensure that every product page has catchy meta titles and descriptions that include your keywords. This ensures better on-page optimization and helps your customers get a grasp of what your web page will be like. 

Referral marketing/Loyalty Program

Referral Marketing is a new and advanced form of Word of Mouth marketing. It has become a must have for every e-commerce store owner.

Whenever your friend recommends and share positive feedback about something, you tend to at least check it out once. Therefore, motivating your existing customers to refer others by giving them gift vouchers or cashback in return is crucial. 

Following are the benefits of referral marketing:-

  • Builds trust: When someone you know suggests a product, you also trust and checkout that product.
  • Creates virality: With referral marketing, your services/products can become viral on various social media platforms.
  • It is one of the most cost-effective and highly efficient forms of marketing. 

Re-targeting & Re-engagement

Push Notification offers many advanced features for retargeting.

  • Cart abandonment notifications – Reach out to customers who abandoned their cart.
  • Trigger push notifications – Design your own triggers to send notifications. You can create upsell & cross-sell campaigns, review campaigns and more.
  • Browse abandonment notifications – Send notification to those who browsed through product pages but didn’t make any purchase.
  • Drip Push Notification Campaign – You can create drip campaigns to nurture users about your product.

Optimize for Cart Abandonment

Customers have to be defined before you start drawing your checkout flow. You can ask specific information that only your customers would be having in their mind while buying from your website. 

During a checkout:

  1. 27% of customer abandons your website if your checkout process is long 
  2. 35% of them bounce if they are asked to create an account.

If you’re selling online, trust is one of the biggest reasons why a user will like the product on your website but will end up buying the same on Amazon or eBay.

You can let the billing info be the same as shipping info. Most of the websites are using this to ease the checkout process. The Billing info, however, is required in case of credit card payments.

The fewer option makes sense and keeps the user’s focus on what matters for them and you too. You can consider kicking out non-mandatory information from your customers instead of adding an asterisk on mandatory fields.

Let the customers buy without registering an account on your website (Enable guest checkout option)

Show what quantity of the product is remaining in the stock in the cart.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

Customer reviews are one of the most crucial part of building brand name and trust among the audience. Therefore, having great reviews for products on your site can increase the chances of their purchase and popularity. 

  • 54% of the time, consumers will click over to an online store from a positive review.
  • 87% of consumers agree that they won’t do business with an entity that has an unfavorable rating.
  • 90% of consumers want to read between 5-10 product reviews before gaining trust about a brand.

Make it easy and simple for the genuine customers to share their reviews on your website. Product reviews are unique and generated by the users which in turn helps in keeping your product page fresh and improve its SEO.

You can also take it a step further by creating a landing page to display all the positive reviews and promote it on various platforms.

Sell your products on multi-channels

If you want to increase your sales, then you must sell your products on different channels too. Don’t just rely only on your e-commerce store. Selling your products on multi-channels enhances the chances of conversions. 

Some of the most popular places to sell apart from your website are:-

  • There are lots of online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Flipkart, and Tesco to showcase your products to potential customers. 
  • Using Facebook, you can create stores and sell directly to your followers. 
  • Creating a shop on Facebook is very simple. It has all the options including the payment. 

Convert your 2019-2020 holiday season sales into life-time commitment

You just don’t want to earn during the festive season. You want to make sales all year round. For this you have to create a long-term relationship with your existing customers at the same time attract new ones.

But how is this possible?

  1. You can start wishing your customers a happy new year and send them post Christmas wishes. 
  2. Make sure you post the photos of your team celebrating the holidays and let people connect with your brand on a much deeper level. 
  3. Gift cards have become must-have for any eCommerce store. Make sure you have them for your users. 
  4. Set up a campaign around them to get the customers use their holiday gift certificates.
  5. You can give-away free gifts to your loyal and returning customers and promote it on social media.
  6. Ensure you have a hassle free refund and exchange process for your customers as you are going to receive bulk requests during the holiday season. 
  7. One of the biggest mistake store-owners make is top sending mails after the season is over. 
  8. Avoid this and make email marketing strategies to nurture your leads.
  9. This is the right time to collect huge amount of data to uncover the latest trends within your niche.

Order Fulfillment, Shipping & Delivery

Your work doesn’t end after a customer has placed an order, in fact it starts from there. You must ensure that the orders are shipped and delivered on time. ‘

25% of buyers cancel their order due to slow delivery speeds. It is your responsibility to make sure that customers are able to track their orders and they don’t have to contact customer care support for updates. 

You can also implement partial cash on delivery to avoid fraud. 

You can install different plugins for shipping and order tracking. For woocommerce you can install extensions like Woocommerce Shipping, UPS Shipping Method, United States Postal Service.

For Magento you can check out:-

  1. Product Matrix
  2. Store Pickup
  3. Magento Shipping Suite extension
  4. Shipping Restrictions
  5. Shipping Rules

Conclusion 

Preparing your store for a holiday season is not an easy task but starting early can help you avoid last minute ruckus. You can follow the above tips to make sure you give your customers an amazing user experience.

Fast e-commerce hosting, strict security measures, elegant design, SEO tuning, setting up email campaigns, promotions and customer loyalty programs can help maximise your festive sales this 2019-2020. If you want to know more about secure and fast web hosting solutions, contact us immediately. We will get back to you asap. 

Which strategy from today’s guide are you going to try first?

Are you going to start making longer videos? Or start focusing on the first 10 seconds of your video?

Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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