[FREE DOWNLOAD] Ecommerce housekeeping: An eSeller’s pre-holiday season checklist
The summer blitz is finally calming down, and with any luck, you’ll be knee-deep in holiday shoppers before you can catch your breath. With such a small window of opportunity, savvy eSellers need to take advantage of the little time between the summer dash and the holiday rush to improve their business – tidying up, updating their products and processes, and in short, doing some eCommerce housekeeping. Taking care of smaller tasks for your business can help you be ready for the big ones coming up in preparation of the holiday season.
Whether you use it for email marketing campaigns, customer support, inventory control, or orders management, your email system is usually the base of operations for an online store. Make sure your email system is set up in the most efficient way possible for fast, convenient, and easy to use business practices. This could include:
- Setting up filters for important messages
- Creating folders for different aspects of your business (invoices, orders, receipts, marketing campaigns, etc.)
- Setting up a system for reminders for shoppers (abandoned cart emails, previous shoppers who haven’t shopped in awhile)
- Setting up notifications or automatic responses for emergency situations
The more organized your email system is, the better your business will flow when things start to get hectic.
Problems happen. What separates good businesses from bad businesses is the way they handle these problems when they arise. Before your busiest season hits you hard, make sure you have customer support worked out. That includes:
- Having enough staff on hand to answer calls, emails, or live chat support (whichever you offer)
- Staying on top of marketplaces’ best practices and requirements for customer support
- Having an efficient method of communication for support, including a reliable internet connection, a proper call management system, an updated CRM or other technical services/systems
- Updating FAQ section on your site for shoppers who want to do it on their own
- Supporting representatives and providing sufficient training so they can handle inquiries that are not the usual
And everyone knows that the customer is always right. Make sure your customer support staff knows it too (and conveys this message during every call handled).
When it comes to eCommerce, it’s all about getting your name out there. You might have the best service, products, and team in the world, but if nobody knows you or can find you, that doesn’t amount to much. Product descriptions are the Pied Pipers that call your customers straight to your site…if done properly. Make sure product descriptions have the following elements for maximum success:
While you’ve probably heard the term a million times already, optimization is not a buzzword. In fact, it’s a sure-fire recipe for success in online retail. When optimizing product descriptions you have to think of your typical customer personality, include the best features and benefits of the product, have a clear and consistent voice, and make the description scannable using bullet points, bold fonts, short paragraphs, and graphics. Lastly, do not forget to include keywords and phrases for optimal SEO. Videos and crisp images also go a long way – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Are you selling on the international market? Localize your products and product descriptions to improve your listings. Make your products appeal to the local market you’re selling into by localizing the terminology. The closer you hit home with this, the more likely customers are to buy your products over products that aren’t localized.
If you are catering to a more global audience, your product descriptions will work double time. Even within the US, there are several niches that will appreciate a well-translated blurb, increasing your audience reach exponentially. Make this task as easy as possible by narrowing down your language choices, using smart translation tools, and thinking about local currency units. And don’t forget about terminology and local voice – translating isn’t just about taking one word and saying it in another language. Make sure a native language speaker proofs your translations for flow, vernacular, and proper tense usage.
Your landing pages are really your chance to make a first impression, and with so much competition just a click away, it better be a good one. What goes into a winning landing page? You’ll need to focus on and improve on elements like:
- Writing killer headlines
- Keeping the good stuff above the fold
- Highlighting features and benefits to customers (don’t forget to address pain points)
- Using engaging content
- Utilizing social proof your audience can relate to
- Embedding fun and informative videos or images
- Not overcrowding the page with too much information
- Implementing a solid call-to-action that can’t be ignored
Update shipping policies
Now is also a good time to consider updating your return/shipping policies. The holiday season can be a tremendous revenue boost for your business, but you have to give shoppers a reason to pick your business over another. Target saw a 3% increase in their sales just by offering unlimited free shipping for the holiday seasons. Your competitors are already doing it, so weigh the cost-return analysis and see if it’s worthwhile for you too.