Online stores live and die by busy shopping seasons just as their brick-and-mortar counterparts do. Look behind the scenes of any successful e-commerce store and you will find a meticulously planned strategy. These 5 tips will help you ramp up for this year’s busy season well ahead of schedule.
Tip #1: Be sure your inventory is sufficient.
According to Retention Science, just as the busy season is the time to create new loyal customers, it can also be the season to turn customers away for life….especially if you run out of inventory right as they place their order.
How to fix it: To avoid this, take time to review what you sold last year. Especially note the date your sales began to spike and be sure your inventory for this year corresponds accordingly.
Tip #2: Make sure your e-commerce site is mobile-friendly.
Google’s latest set of algorithm changes specifically relates to how mobile-friendly (or not) your website is. In short, if your site doesn’t make it easy for visitors to read content and shop from small mobile devices (phones, tablets) you risk being filtered right out of Google’s search engine results.
How to fix it: Use Google’s free tools to find out whether your pages or entire site is mobile friendly.
Tip #3: Offer free shopping guides.
Your customers are very aware it is the busy season too – so much so that they may not even have time to plan out their shopping list the way they’d like to. Here, you can help.
How to fix it: Take a look at what is hot and what is not within your sphere of influence and write up a report. Or compile a list of ways to save on shipping and offer it as a free download when subscribers join your email list. Or design a free printable to help with gift planning that your customers can download and use. The options are endless!
Tip #4: Make your e-commerce site fraud-proof.
Just as you and your team and your customers will be busy this holiday season, hackers will be out and about stealing identities and sensitive financial data as fast as they can. This may be why CIO highlights online shopping security as one of the chief concerns that keeps customers from shopping online.
How to fix it: The FBI offers a list of tools to ensure your website is secure for online shoppers. Here are a few others to add as well. Shore up your online encryption tools. Update your antivirus protection software. Be sure your site displays the secure padlock or unbroken key. Post your privacy statement online.
Tip #5: Outline your marketing strategy, including promotions and priority channels.
There are several elements involved in creating a marketing strategy that will allow your e-commerce site to thrive during the busy season. You need to decide on your store’s holiday offers (promotions, sales, freebies, incentives). You need to ponder whether to jump on board for special days like Black Friday and (especially important in e-commerce) Cyber Monday. You need to figure out which channels (social media, email list groups, blogging) to use most heavily.
How to fix it: Study successful competitors in your field carefully. What did they do last year and how did they do it? Then plan accordingly.
With these 5 tips in hand, you can start now to craft a successful sales plan that will send you through the busy shopping season with plenty of profits to spare.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years. She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics and recommends them for all your online order fulfillment needs to further your success.