Posted Oct 13, 2020 by Anastasia Prokofieva

How to Get Your Store Ready for Early Holiday Shoppers

It’s 2020, and holiday shopping (like everything else this year) will be a little different. Due to smaller budgets and pandemic concerns about supply chain disruptions, experts say the shopping season will start in October.

Why? Well, customers plan on spending less on holiday shopping this year. Plus, some people fear the gifts they want will sell out if they wait until after Thanksgiving. So, October it is!

This new timeline means that it’s already time to get your store ready for some holiday shopping. The good news is you can already cross one item off your to-do list: “Make a plan for holiday sales preparations.” We’ve already done that for you!

Read our step-by-step instructions to prepare for your holiday season sales, and download our free planner to guide you on your merry way.

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Prepare Your Website

There are a lot of ways to make your store a number one destination for all holiday shoppers. But first, you have to ready your shop for a rush of new customers.

Start with testing your website speed. Then make sure all your payment and shipping options work. And most importantly: make sure your store is looking good! Your products should be displayed correctly on the site, have detailed descriptions and high-quality pictures.

Some helpful hints:

Think Through Your Holiday Marketing

You may have already set your sights on some holiday discounts and special offers. However, holiday marketing isn’t just about creating a deal your customers will want. It’s also about showing related and recently viewed products, preparing gift-wrapped options, enabling selling tools for social media accounts (like Product tags on Instagram and Pinterest), creating urgency, running contests, and so much more.

Check out our top tips and use them to prepare an absolutely crackling holiday marketing campaign:

Create the Holiday Look for Your Store

The holiday season calls for a visual update—something bright, stylish and appealing. This applies to banners and popups, landing pages, covers for social profiles, newsletters, contest and giveaways pictures, as well as posts on your social media pages and even order wrapping.

It’s best to make the look consistent across all your platforms, but you’re free to experiment with different styles. There are plenty of free holiday templates online, for example, on Canva or Crello.

More ideas:

Holiday poster templates on Canva

Add a “Holiday Gifts” Category to Your Store

Holiday shopping can be a tiresome task, so do some of the work for your customers to point them in the right direction. Create a seasonal product category with items that would make great gifts. Choose some items from your best-selling products or ones that are popular around the gift-giving time of year.

Also read: How to Design Product Category Pictures That Your Customers Can’t Resist

Prepare Your Holiday Newsletter

Email marketing remains one of the most effective marketing channels during the holiday season. The only drawback is that almost all sellers will try to use email for promoting their holiday sale.

To make the best of your holiday newsletters without annoying your potential customers or getting lost in a crowded promotions folder, first study past campaigns and  analyze your competitors. Then think through your marketing campaign’s email subject, alternative subject lines, delivery date, offer type, and target customer segment.

Check out the following articles to make sure you don’t leave anything out:

Update Your Customer Reviews Page

When shopping online, people tend to rely on comments and reviews about products they are interested in. An estimated 58% of people read 4-10 reviews before they say they trust a business. That’s why it’s vital to get as much customer feedback as possible before you start your holiday sale.

Here are a few articles to help you rack up some customer reviews and handle them with care:

You can add up to four customer testimonials to your Ecwid Instant Site

Prepare Your Ad Campaigns

To make the most of your advertising campaigns, you need to be an expert on your audience. Special pieces of code — pixels — can help you with that. Install them ahead of time (aka nowish), so that you can compile some data before your sale starts. This way you’ll be able to remarket your products — show ads to people who are already interested in your items.

Remarketing is more effective than regular old advertising. It also allows you to save on ads, which often get more expensive during the crowded holiday season.

Get started:

Perfect Your Customer Service

Prepare to communicate A LOT with shoppers during holiday sales. Be ready to answer endless questions, keep customers updated on their orders, and handle negative feedback in a way that it compliments your store.

Sounds like a tough job, no? Not to worry! Our guides on providing excellent customer service will keep you calm and capable while communicating with holiday shoppers:

Minimize Cart Abandonment

Holiday season shopping can be tiring for your customer. Remember, lots of people are trying to buy gifts for all their friends and family at once! It’s easy to get distracted with other deals and offers, especially while shopping online.

That’s why it’s crucial to reduce cart abandonment in your store by setting up special automated emails. These handy little blurbs will remind your customers about the products they left in their carts, and (hopefully!) bring them back to complete their purchases.

Read more:

Automated abandoned cart recovery email for Ecwid stores

Automate Everything

While the holiday season provides a great chance for sales growth, it’s also a demanding time for merchants. So save your sanity and use as many automation tools as possible. Whether it’s a scheduled posting app or automated ads or emails, implementing these tools will make your routine more time-efficient.

Check out these tips:

Rock Your Sale

Sales preparation might be time-consuming, but your efforts WILL pay off — literally. According to NRF, holiday sales represent about 20% of annual retail sales per year.

Now that your website is top-notch, your holiday marketing is well-targeted, and some of your processes are automated, you’re ready to rock your sale. Reach for the moon, and give us a shoutout in the comments below if we helped you along the way.

About the author
Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.
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