The holiday shopping season is right around the corner. For many businesses, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined provide enough revenue to ensure their finances are “in the black” for the rest of the year, even if revenue decreases sharply afterward.
It’s no stretch to say that your online store has a ton at stake! If you want this year’s eCommerce sales extravaganza to go smoothly, you need to know how to prepare your eCommerce site for holiday shopping. Let us break down ten key tips to implement for maximum effect.
Review Previous Holiday Sales
First and foremost, you should review the previous holiday sales you enjoyed last year. This gives you a good baseline to strategize your actions for the upcoming holiday shopping spree.
For instance, if you made 100% more profits during the last holiday shopping season, you can expect at least that much in terms of profits this year as well. Reviewing previous holiday seasons can also tell you information like:
- What your highest-selling items were, and therefore where you should focus your marketing
- Where your biggest customer demographic growth was
- How many customers took advantage of free shipping, coupons, etc.
Information is power, so gather as much of it as possible to leverage it for the upcoming discounts and sales you have in mind.
You should already have good invoicing software to review your previous holiday sales and all relevant metrics. If you don’t have invoicing or accounting software yet, sign up for a platform that includes tools for tracking business profits, analyzing or projecting future business profits, and more.
If necessary, set up credit accounts so you can buy more supplies or raw materials to fulfill expected holiday orders. You can use net-30 accounts to get 30 days extension to pay for key products that your business may need during this busy time.
These trade credit lines are also excellent tools for building business credit if reported to credit bureaus.
Prepare Your Website for a Surge in Traffic
Your eCommerce shop needs to be prepped for a massive surge in holiday shopping traffic. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest shopping days of the year, and your site needs to be able to weather the digital storm ahead!
To that end, consider upgrading your server hosting (either through switching to a new provider or sticking with your same provider but subscribing to a better server plan, like dedicated hosting).
You should also ensure that your site is streamlined and updated, with all of its software up-to-date, to minimize potential security breaches.
Be sure to have your website backups ready to go as well. If the extra traffic causes your site to crash, you need to get it back up and running ASAP. If you have a backup of your site ready, you can reload the last stable version and restore it for your customers in minutes.
Given the increased traffic, you may also want to offer new ways for your customers to pay for holiday purchases. For example, allowing your customers to pay using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may provide you with more business profits throughout Cyber Monday and beyond.
You can easily accept crypto payments by accepting transactions from crypto debit cards, where customers can load their crypto holdings onto a debit card and spend it as normal currency.
In any case, increasing the ways your customers can pay will only bring good things to your eCommerce store during the holiday shopping season.
Adapt Your Store for the Holiday Shopping Season
No one wants to shop at an eCommerce store that doesn’t look festive. If your store has a basic yet neutral aesthetic or layout, consider starting a web development project to update it by sprinkling a bit of holiday cheer throughout all of its pages.
Simply changing your eCommerce shop’s background to red or green for the holiday season can go a long way toward making it more welcoming for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers.
This advice is even more important if your site normally has a dark, relatively serious look, like a black background, gray sliders and buttons, etc.
Decorate the buttons on your site, put festive pictures throughout your shop, and highlight your holiday products front and center to make your store feel like it has gotten into the spirit of the season.
Make Category Pages for Holiday Products
Speaking of holiday products, don’t forget to create dedicated category pages for those products so your shoppers can find them quickly and easily. Some examples of holiday-focused category pages include:
- Christmas offers
- Black Friday deals
- Cyber Monday deals
- Christmas gifts for men
- Christmas gifts for women
- Christmas gifts for (insert family member here)
You get the picture. The idea is to make shopping as easy as possible for your holiday visitors. The easier they can find items, the more time they may spend browsing the other things you offer at your shop – and the more likely they will make another purchase.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
More than half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices these days, so your eCommerce site needs to be optimized for mobile users. Even though holiday shopping is a big deal, many people will make their purchases on their iPhones or Android devices.
To optimize your site for mobile:
- Make sure it is easily navigable
- Make sure your buttons are large enough to be tapped with a finger or thumb instead of just clicked on
- Make sure that your site loads quickly and that it doesn’t include any unnecessary visual elements like videos
If in doubt, visit your site on your mobile device and ask yourself whether it is fun and easy to browse through.
If the answer is “no,” start upgrading it ASAP before your first mobile shoppers have a less-than-stellar experience.
Implement Better Navigation Tools
As mentioned earlier, you should implement easy navigation tools like links to important category pages for holiday products. Consider redoing your primary navigation bar at the top of your eCommerce site as well. You can add a new, dedicated button for Black Friday or Cyber Monday offers for even more straightforward navigational assistance.
The easier it is for customers to browse through your shop, the more likely they are to make one or more purchases.
Set Up Heat Maps
You should also consider setting up heat maps for the holiday shopping season. Heat maps show where customers spend most of their time on your website. They also tell you where people click or where their cursors usually rest when visiting one page or another.
All of this valuable data can help you optimize and revamp your website in the following year and locate pain points or areas where customers get stuck.
With the right heat map set up, you’ll be able to improve and optimize your website as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping season rolls out, facilitating even more purchases and a better shopping experience for your core customers.
Get Your Marketing Gears Turning
Around the holiday shopping season, you need to ramp up your marketing efforts all across the board.
The more marketing you do, the more traffic you can expect at your eCommerce site – and the more revenue you may make as a result.
There are three primary areas you should focus on as you create and launch holiday shopping marketing campaigns.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is an important part of modern marketing, and for a good reason.
Through social media ads and customer service responses, you can build relationships with current or prospective customers, as well as announce big deals and Black Friday sales through yet another platform.
Social media marketing is arguably the best way to spread the word about your upcoming sales besides basic advertisements. Be sure to post frequently on social media platforms like
Facebook and Instagram to get your current fence-sitting customers visiting your store on the run-up to and well after Cyber Monday.
PPC or pay-per-click ads are also important. You should plan to launch a new wave of PPC ads based around target keywords, like “Black Friday sales,” that are related to what your eCommerce store offers.
PPC ads can be cost-effective if you target the right keywords and leverage them effectively.
However, remember that your site needs to be optimized for SEO – as do your PPC ads – if you want people to find those ads when they input search terms in Google, Bing, or other search engines.
Don’t neglect email marketing! Good email marketing can bring previous customers back to your store for another holiday shopping spree, or they can draw back people who visited your site only once to take advantage of a major Black Friday sale.
Your marketing emails should start on the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and continue well into the next week. Be sure to highlight things like:
- Limited-time discounts and sales
- Personalized offers based on shoppers’ purchase histories
- Announcements and other key information regarding changed shipping policies or other developments
Launch a Pop-Up Campaign
You may also wish to implement a pop-up campaign on your eCommerce site. A pop-up campaign involves posting pop-up messages on visitors’ screens as they stop by your store to consider making a purchase.
However, there’s an art to successful pop-up campaigns.
If you don’t get it right, pop-ups can irritate your potential customers and send them away from your store before they make a single purchase! For a successful pop-up campaign:
- Time your pop-ups correctly, so they only appear when a customer is about to leave a page or after a customer has already put something in their shopping cart.
- Make sure your pop-ups are eye-catching and engaging rather than annoying.
- Ensure that your pop-ups have real value to your shoppers, so they read the messages rather than dismiss them.
Pop-ups can be an excellent way to build up an email list for your email marketing efforts and keep people shopping at your online store for many hours rather than buying one thing and zipping away.
Revisit Your Shipping Policy
Around the holiday season, customers are looking for great deals everywhere. That may mean offering a new or temporary shipping policy or free shipping for all orders placed on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
You’d be surprised at how much extra revenue you may see just by implementing this basic change! You don’t have to stick with free shipping forever, but offering free shipping for a limited time imposes a need to buy in many customers.
Just be sure that your shipping policy changes have their terms and conditions clearly listed on your website, so there isn’t any confusion once your shipping policy goes back to normal.
If you can’t afford free shipping, discounted shipping might still be feasible and attractive to your customers.
As you can see, there are many ways to prepare your eCommerce site for the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping.
For the best results, you’ll want to combine all of these methods to really make sure your online store is prepared for new customers and can facilitate order fulfillment over the next few weeks.
Prepare properly, and your business’s bottom line will bloom with increased sales. Good luck!