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How Your Online Business Needs to Prep for the Holiday Shopping Season

After reading the title of this post, you might be thinking “Whoa whoa whoa. It’s not even Halloween yet!”. But according to NBC news, shoppers are already buying gifts for the holiday season and 80% of businesses are already implementing their holiday strategy. Follow these tips to get your holiday strategy in order!

Lay Our Your Promotions

Let’s start by pulling out your calendar (digital or physical, whichever works for you). Here’s a list of major shopping holidays that you need to know about:

October 31st – Halloween November 26th – Thanksgiving

November 27th – Black Friday November 30th – Cyber Monday

December 10th – 18th – Hanukkah December 24th – Christmas Eve

December 25th – Christmas December 26th - Day after Christmas

December 14th – Green Monday

Green Monday is normally the second Monday of December, and most small businesses using USPS consider it as the cut-off date for customers to receive their packages before Christmas. While the second Monday of December may be industry standard for the shipping cut-off date, it's important that you sit down and evaluate what the cut-off date is for your business. Don't fall in line with the crowd if your shipping timeline looks different.

Free Shipping Day (Mid-December)

Free Shipping Day happens in mid-December. Businesses that participate in this event give customers free shipping with a guaranteed delivery before Christmas.

December 19th – Super Saturday

Super Saturday is always the last Saturday before Christmas. It’s the last chance for many shoppers to get to a store before it’s too late. But you can grab them online with a one-day sale on Super Saturday! You might consider offering discounted, fast shipping rates along with this sale.

You don’t need to create a promotion for every single one of these holidays, but it’s important to pick a few and really run with them. Be sure to post about your promotions on your social media platforms (now might be the time to pay for a targeted Facebook ad or to promote your Instagram post), and send out an upcoming promotions guide to your email list.

Check on Your Inventory

Now that you have your upcoming promotions laid out, you need to check into your stock. Are you doing a sale on candles for Black Friday, but you only have 10 candles left? Start building up that inventory ASAP for the holiday season. If you have custom items that won’t last, consider not including them in your promotions or raising their price for the holiday season - supply and demand, folks.

If you start building your inventory up to holiday standards now, you won’t have a nightmarish holiday season full of spending every waking hour on producing items that have already been purchased. You want to enjoy the season too!

Deck Out Your Website

Your website has to be running flawlessly as you head into the holiday season. Wanna hear some shocking stats? You have 0.05 seconds before a customer decides if they want to engage with your website or not, and 38% of people will stop using your website if they find the layout or design unattractive. So if you’ve been putting off a website clean-up, you cannot delay.

A quick way to spruce up your website for the holidays is to add a festive overlay to your home page. This could feature presents, Christmas trees, cookies, snow … anything that fits your brand. And try adding some of your best selling items near the top of your homepage. When customers land on your site, they should immediately be thinking of your products as potential presents.

BONUS TIP 🔥: Do not forget about your website on mobile! Over half of online sales occur on mobile devices, and 85% of adults believe that a site's mobile version should work as well as if not better than the desktop version. Ease of use converts directly into sales.

Unboxing + Creating Instagramable Moments

Let’s focus in on the unboxing experience you create for your customers. This moment leaves a lasting impression and can increase future sales. If you don’t already have an aesthetically pleasing way of wrapping and packaging your items, start brainstorming now, and roll out your new look this holiday season. Adding simple tissue paper and a handwritten note can make a world of difference. If you want to really up your game, use your brand’s colors for the tissue paper, order stationary with your company’s logo for the handwritten note, and add in a little piece of branded merch for your customer - like a sticker, pen, or magnet. People love free stuff, and they’ll think of you every time they see your logo on their fridge.

All of this takes preparation and forethought. So yes it’s October, but you’ve got to start now to knock this holiday season out of the park!

Hire Some Extra Help

If you run a small business, you know what it’s like to juggle being creator, designer, tech support, packager, accountant, and customer service all in one. This holiday season, consider hiring someone on an hourly basis to help sift through your emails and give customers that extra attention that is so important during the holiday season. Customer service can easily be done remotely, so you don't have to worry about another person crowding up your workspace.

If you need help setting up your business's holiday game plan, Media A La Carte is there to step in. We want your business to have record sales this season, but we don't want your holiday season to be wrecked from the stress of fulfilling those sales. Let us help you lay the groundwork for success.

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