11 Tips for Getting Your Online Store Holiday-Ready in 2019
Analysts are predicting as much as an 18% increase in sales for the 2019 holiday season – a staggering $144 to $149 billion worth of sales during this popular buying period. With Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (not to mention Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Diwali) rapidly approaching, it’s time to ask yourself, “Is my online store ready for the holidays?”.
Don’t worry if the answer is a firm no. There are a handful of simple and effective steps you can take to prepare yourself for the expected sales surge. Here are 11 tips to help get your store holiday-ready in no time.
Holiday Season Prep #1: Know When to Sell
Last year there was a full month (or 31 shopping days) between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, there are only three weeks (or 25 shopping days). That makes a big difference in how you structure your sales channel, stock your products, and handle orders and shipping.
If you look at calendars from 2018’s online sales, you’ll see distinctive spikes on certain days when the most online shopping occurred. Make sure you have all your big products, shipping materials and customer service staff ready and waiting on these days. Plan your promotions for these times. In 2019, we’re talking about the three Mondays and Tuesdays in December, specifically.
Holiday Season Prep #2: Get Schooled
While it’s important to be proactive with your holiday prep, the first step is making sure you know what to do. Read up on tried and true practices that always help online sellers increase productivity, and brush up on some new sales tactics that are being adopted for the modern generation.
Holiday Season Prep #3: Have Plenty of Inventory on Hand
Once you’ve created a smart marketing calendar based on the projections we spoke about above, it’s time to get your stock room ready. Make sure you are sufficiently stocked during the entire holiday season to accommodate all your customers. Clothing took a whopping 57% of the online retail sales in 2018 with footwear and other apparel coming in behind them so, if you are in this industry, stock up!
Holiday Season Prep #4: Go Global
In the era of cross-border sales, your market is no longer limited to any specific country or territory. Remember, however, that different countries celebrate the holidays at different times. For example, Hanukkah is from December 22nd through December 30th, meaning Jewish customers in foreign markets might choose to do some shopping around Christmas time.
Holiday Season Prep #5: Be Mobile-Friendly
In 2018, 61% of online purchases were made on a smartphone, signaling that mobile is well on its way to dominating the online shopping sphere. Make sure your website, product pages, and checkout platform are mobile-friendly to give shoppers a fast, smooth, and easy process.
Holiday Season Prep #6: Become an Amazon Seller
Amazon makes up roughly 40% of all online sales. That’s tremendous! Get a piece of the pie by becoming an Amazon seller.
Holiday Season Prep #7: Invest in Some Extra Capital
Keeping products in stock, paying shipping charges, staying on top of extra staff hours, and other expenses can really start to add up around the holidays. To get through the season, some extra capital couldn’t hurt. With Payoneer’s Capital Advance program, businesses can get additional working capital to help ensure that this holiday season is a successful one.
Holiday Season Prep #8: Add a Personal Touch
The holiday season is hectic for everyone, making it difficult to stand out among your customers. By adding a personal touch to their shopping experience (e.g., a gift, personalized message or even a hand-written note wishing good tidings for the coming year), you’ll help ensure they remember you.
Holiday Season Prep #9: Utilize Click and Collect
Click and collect is one of the biggest shopping trends of 2019, as it gives customers the ability to buy online and collect their purchases at a nearby location. This helps them avoid fighting through the crowds at brick and mortar stores while providing a convenient way to quickly get their gifts.
Holiday Season Prep #10: Make Your Presence Known and Remarket
Marketing is essential at this stage in the game. Consumers are expecting an email from you to tell them about holiday sales, discount codes, or other promotions they can take advantage of. Whether it’s a fun and exciting sales email or an eye-catching banner ad on social media, shout out to your customers and make yourself known.
Already been seen? According to a recent Google report, online shoppers abandon their carts 77% of the time. A good way to bring these straying customers back to your store is to re-engage them on a different platform. Online ads, countdown timers, YouTube campaigns, Facebook ads, emails, whatever it is. Remarket your products to remind your customers why they wanted to shop with you in the first place.
Holiday Season Prep #11: Have Shipping Down Pat
Shipping is a significant deciding factor for online shoppers. Free shipping is enticing, making an online store more appealing. This year, Free Shipping Day is December 14, 2019, which is when more than 1,000 online stores waive shipping charges and even minimum order requirements – maybe it’s time for your store to join them.