4 Tips for Preparing Your Store for the Holiday Rush

Prepare Your Store for the Holiday Rush!

The holiday season is fast approaching. For retailers, this is the most important time of year, and that goes for eCommerce firms, as well. In fact, this may be the biggest year for online holiday shopping yet – a Deloitte report predicted that online sales will increase by 8.5 to 9 percent this season as compared to last year, according to Fortune. 

For a merchant to fully take advantage of the growing online shopping trend, it needs to adequately prepare. You don’t want to be caugh off guard by an influx of holiday shoppers or invest in multiple marketing campaigns only to find out that your checkout process is broken.

With that in mind, here are four tips to help you get your online store ready for the holiday rush.

1. Stress Test Your Website

Can your online store handle the traffic?

First and foremost, you need to make sure that your website can remain operational even when your traffic soars, as it (hopefully) will during the holiday season. At what point will your website crash? Just as importantly, when will performance start to deteriorate? Holiday shoppers have many stores available to choose from, and they won’t be willing to stick around if the site loads slowly.  

You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to measure the load time of your site and receive recommendations for making it load faster. If you’re on a SaaS platform like Zoey, you can learn about the platform’s ability to scale to handle increased traffic by talking to a Customer Support representative. 

In addition to these tests, you’ll want to ensure that other key elements of your site are functioning as they should. A good best practice is to browse your site pretending you’re a shopper. Can you do all the things you want to do without getting confused or running into an error? Key questions to ask while doing this testing include:

  • Can shoppers add products to their cart?
  • Can shoppers checkout without issue? 
  • Do key menu links work as they should?
2. Consider Your Offers

Give holiday shoppers an added incentive.

One of the best ways for your business to gain attention – and new customers – is by creating holiday-specific offers and promotions. Your business needs to consider what deals to highlight and how long they should be available. Free shipping from Thanksgiving through Christmas is a popular and easy option, but you can also get more creative by promoting bundles of products or “buy one get one free” offers. 

Furthermore, you could consider cycling through different offers, highlighting a wide range of your available products. That can draw attention to your entire inventory, encourage shoppers to keep coming back to your site, and lead to a repeat purchases throughout the holiday season. 

Be sure to prominently highlight your offers by adding banners and slideshows to key pages of your site like the homepage, category pages and product pages. 

3. Create Content

Tailor your content for the holiday season.

The creation of informative, engaging content is a best practice for any eCommerce company year-round. During the holiday season, when it’s so important to attract consumers to your website, content becomes even more valuable. You want to start this process sooner rather than later as content marketing often takes time to show results.

This means that your business should make content creation a priority in the time leading up to the holiday season. Make this content timely, with blog posts focused on holiday themes, gift-guides and product reviews. The sky is really the limit here and the more creative you can be, the better. A good trick is to review what your competitors did last year (and may have already started to do this year) and identify an area where your subject matter expertise can be used to differentiate yourself from them. 

4. Develop A Calendar

Get the timing right when it matters most.

To stay sane leading up to and throughout the holiday rush, you really need to create a marketing and content calendar. A calendar is going to help you keep track of when you need to publish your holiday-specific content and promotions and ensure that everything is on schedule. When this information is written down vs. mentally catalogued, you’re going to be far less likely to miss something, ensuring your holiday marketing goes off without a hitch.  

Additionally, a calendar is a great planning tool. It can help you map out your blog posts, promotional offers, design updates, ad campaigns and email marketing to ensure you’re communicating with shoppers in a timely and effective manner, as well as not spreading yourself too thing during this busy time of year. 

By following these steps, your online store will be in prime position to maximize your profits – and your customer satisfaction – during the holiday season. 

Not selling online yet? The best way to get started is to take Zoey for a test drive with a free 14-day trial

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