HOLIDAYS; the biggest shopping days of the year will be here before you know it. So, it’s time to plan and prepare your ecommerce website to be ready to “cash in” on the Holiday shopping season. Today I will share some tips and best practices to help you maximize your efforts.

This post was written by Scott Drzonsc, National Sales Manager at Gearfire.

Plan and Prepare:

It is never too early to start planning, especially when it comes to the busy holiday shopping season. Hold a staff meeting and get input from your team. Try these example questions to begin the dialogue if you need help:

  • What types of promotions will we run?
  • Who will we target?
  • Who will help the process when web orders increase?
  • What social media can we leverage to increase our web traffic?
  • What did we do well or not so well last year?

When you include your team in the planning process, it is much easier to get a commitment from everyone to execute the plan and have a successful holiday season shopping boost. To help with the excitement, create a holiday team shirt that everyone can wear to be part of the team and show the holiday spirit.

Understand your Audience:

Have you looked at your website analytics recently? Can you look at the same analytics for the holiday season last year? Understand who is visiting your site and what they are searching for. These are key components to having ecommerce success. When looking at your analytics, be sure to search for trends or anomalies and dig into them to better formulate your holiday business plan. Your website analytics do the work for you, now just put the puzzle pieces together, and understand your audience.

Start Marketing EARLY:

You just researched your analytics, and now you are armed with who is visiting your site and what they are searching for. We can now take that information and start the marketing process. The easiest way to market to holiday shoppers is to market to your existing customers.  Thank your existing customers for their business and possibly offer them a pre-holiday discount? Get social (more below) with your marketing efforts, and make sure current and potential customers know that you will be ready for the holiday shopping season.

Get Social:

Link, Link, Link!!!  I start off every social media conversation with this. I see it too many times when someone posts a firearm review on social media and there is NO link back to their ecommerce store to purchase that particular item. You are opening the door for your social media followers to go shop elsewhere. Why would you do that? Every time you post on social media, include the link to your ecommerce website and get them clicking!

ecommerce-link-example

Create “Holidays” Content:

This is related to getting social and spreading the word. Have a plan and execute. What types of holiday content are you going to create?  What will cause excitement to get your followers to start clicking? Remember, online content engages potential customers, and helps boost local SEO! Below are a few examples:

  • Social Media Contest – Example, picture/video contest. Give something away over the holidays. Make sure to require an email address (for future marketing efforts).
  • Video Content – Post videos of your store and team getting ready for the holidays.
  • Promotional Content – Videos of “how-to” cleaning, firearm safety etc. Make it holiday related.
  • Bundles – Create product bundles that are offered only to your social media followers. Who wouldn’t like 30min of free range time after they purchased that new pistol?

Get Local: Do you have a favorite local charity?

Another way to boost the holiday shopping experience is to partner with a local charity. For example, donate a portion of your sales to a local charity. Promote a food drive. Support a toy drive. Partner with local law enforcement to promote firearm safety. Those are just a few examples, and studies have shown that if you partner with a local charity as a business, your customers will support you, trust you and shop with you more often.

Bringing it ALL Together:

So you have your plan in place, and you are ready to execute and optimize your ecommerce holiday shopping experience. Here is a quick checklist to make sure you stay on track:

  • Get your team involved – Include, to get full commitment to execute your plan.
  • Review your analytics and data – Who, what, where and why? Understand your target audience.
  • Develop a strategic plan – Develop, review and implement with your team.
  • Market to your target audience early – Use analytics to target your plans efforts.
  • Social Media – Promote, Promote, Promote!!! Remember to always include a link to your ecommerce store.
  • Holiday content – Show and tell time. What is new, what is coming, what makes your ecommerce experience different?  Remember again to include a link back to your ecommerce store.
  • Get Local – Partner with a local organization and do a good deed during the holiday season.
  • Optimize Homepage – Feature target products and get your customers clicking!
  • Have Fun – It’s the holidays. Have FUN with your team and make customers happy.

Thank you for taking the time to read about ecommerce business strategies. I hope that you find this information helpful. If you have any success stories after implementing your holiday plan, please share in the comments box. I would love to hear from you!