3 Steps to Skyrocketing Your Holiday Sales
If you haven’t already heard, this holiday season is expected to reach over $63.2 billion in online sales. Sales are expected to be 15.5% higher than 2012, which means that this is expected to be the biggest season in the history of online sales (eMarketer).
If you are an online retailer who is ready to optimize your website and get the maximum profit this holiday season, you are in the right place. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you create the best possible ecommerce site for this Holiday season:
Step 1. Preparation is Key
Knowing the most important dates for ecommerce sales is the first step to preparing for the Holidays. Start now if you haven’t already. You can start by choosing a few tips from this post to implement in your store. The sooner you start preparing for the holidays the better.
The Most Important Holidays for Ecommerce:
- November 29 – Black Friday (U.S.)
- December 2 – Cyber Monday
- December 17 – Free Shipping Day
- December 21 – the last Saturday before Christmas
- December 24 – Christmas Eve
- December 25 – Christmas Day
- December 26 – Boxing Day (Canada and U.K.)
- December 31 – New Year’s Eve
Step 2: Craft a Holiday Marketing Plan
The online market during the holidays is extremely competitive, so it is important to have a solid marketing plan in place ahead of time. Coming up with an effective holiday marketing strategy is one of the most productive things you can do to prepare you online store for the holiday season.
Create holiday email updates to share with your customers. Schedule all email blasts with a calendar to ensure that you don’t flood your customers’ inboxes. Don’t forget to reach out to your previous customers by sending out personalized email with a holiday greeting. Give them a special coupon to use this holiday season to turn one-time buyers into repeat buyers.
Choose specific products from your store to highlight during the holidays. Whether they are holiday-specific or not, you can increase sales by promoting new products. You can market products with themed holiday pages.
Optimize SEO for Holiday Search
Update your SEO by using holiday keywords such as “stocking stuffers,” “gifts for kids” or “fast shipping.” Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to help you choose the perfect keywords and phrases.
Start promoting your holiday deals ahead of time so that your customers know where to go when the special deals will occur. For example, if you are planning to offer free shipping on Cyber Monday, let everyone know at least a week in advance by promoting the offer on your website. Promotional packages are also an effective strategy to increase sales. “Spend $100 and get a free product” or “2 for 1 Deals” are both popular promotional holiday strategies.
Social Media is a very powerful tool to engage customers normally, and during the holiday season this known fact is especially true. Offer holiday giveaways, such as discounts or free products, to help incentivize purchases. After all, the holidays are all about giving.
Social media is a great platform to entice shoppers to your store, especially with great deals. Tailor your social media campaigns to the platforms, so your Twitter marketing plan will be different than your Facebook plan. Don’t forget to use an analytics platform, such as HootSuite, to track what works and what doesn’t.
Use Product Page Facebook Comments to open up your products to social media reviews. Personal recommendations are one of the most powerful ways to get new sales.
During the holiday season, offering free shipping for your customers is a promotional staple. All of your competition will be doing it, and you will lose a significant amount of sales if you don’t oblige. Be clear on delivery dates, shipping estimates, and product availability for shoppers who are concerned with getting their products on time. In addition, you might also want to offer gift wrapping options.
Step 3: Optimize your Website
After crafting a marketing plan for your online business, you should start to work on optimizing your website for the holiday season. This will help to maximize the sales you will get from your marketing plan and the natural increase in holiday sales.
Test your Website
Your homepage is usually the first impression your customers will have of your business. This holiday season you’ll want to make sure that it is completely optimized by adding new content, pictures, promotions, etc… Update your SEO to bring in higher profits from search engines. Take the time to go through each page of your website to assess which ones need updates. Go through the checkout process as if you were a customer, and buy a product to ensure that everything is set up properly. Certify that support and contact information is easily accessible from every page. Finally, make sure that you have enough bandwidth and an ecommerce platform robust enough to handle the influx of sales.
Create an eye-catching, clear call-to-action button to help guide your customers through the checkout process. This element alone is enough to make or break your holiday sales, so it is very important that you optimize your call-to-action button.
Mobilize your Store
There are over 3.2 billion mobile users, according to the Mobile Economy 2013 report by ATKearney. Mobile ecommerce on smartphones and tablets will account for over $25 billion in 2013 (ComScore). It is vital that you make sure that your ecommerce store is optimized for mobile devices, otherwise customers will get frustrated and move on to another store with a mobile-optimized store. While you are at it, ensure that your marketing promotions are also optimized for mobile.
Enhance the Checkout Experience
One-page checkouts are great for increasing conversions because they make it easier for your customers. You could also add related products to your checkout to increase sales.
High-Quality Product Photography
The way that your products look on your website is the only thing your customers have to asses the quality, size, color, texture, weight, etc… You must have high-quality product images to get the most out of your online store. Use different angles to showcase your products. Use natural lighting to get the most accurate colors. Also, keep the background simple so you don’t distract the customer’s eye from the product at hand. Unique and captivating product descriptions are also essential to making sales. Consider refreshing the product descriptions to help close sales and boost your SEO rankings. An optimized product page will help you to make the most conversions this holiday season.
Get Ready, Get Set, Sell!
The holiday season is a golden opportunity for ecommerce stores, and this year has the potential to be the biggest selling season you’ve ever had. The time to start preparing is now. Restock your inventory, get your support staff, and get ready to sell. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to bring in more sales and customers than your online store has ever experienced. By using these three steps, you will be able to seize the season and set your store up for a successful holiday shopping season!