Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Small Business Saturday. Green Tuesday.

There is no shortage of sales events for online retailers this holiday season. Some retailers have even had success starting their own unique events. Even if you aren’t starting your big sales event for the next few weeks, you should have a solid idea now of what it will look like and a clear strategy to make sure everything goes smoothly.

To help you, we've put together this exhaustive ecommerce marketing holiday checklist that we hope will help you plan for success.

Know your timeline

At the most basic level, you and your team should have a shared calendar that communicates the timeline around your big holiday sale.

One common mistake made by ecommerce businesses is forgetting to mention the exact start and end time for a promotion – including the time zone. Make sure it’s clear in your communication to customers.

Set the Dates (and Times!) For:

  • When your sales event begins
  • When your sales event ends
  • Sending campaign e-mails or newsletters
  • Sending social media posts
  • Sending print marketing
  • When your sales event’s PPC ad campaign starts and ends
  • Releasing new pricing on your product feeds
  • Reverting to old pricing on your product feeds
  • When free shipping promotions begin
  • When free shipping promotions end
  • The last day to ship to receive an item by Christmas

Review the marketing plan

Start by taking time to reflect on last year’s big sales event. What worked for your business? What worked for your competitors? What changes can you make to improve your marketing strategy this year? Then you can begin to implement this year’s marketing plan.

Make Sure Your Marketing Strategy Is in Overdrive:

  • Reflect on last year’s big sales event
  • Adjust website SEO for the holiday season
  • Optimize your product feeds
  • Add your product feeds to additional marketplaces
  • Retarget and revise PPC ads to include holiday deals
  • Adjust ad spend accordingly
  • Do an inventory of marketing channels
  • Create newsletter or email blast content
  • Create and schedule social media content
  • Create transactional email content (including empty cart emails, thank you, and follow up emails)
  • Create website banners and hero images
  • Design any print materials
  • Send pitches to blogs and gift guides
  • Secure plans for any offline events to promote your sale
  • Segment your email list
  • Create a product recommendation/holiday gift guide

Prepare your team

The sale is going to move fast, and you do not want your staff feeling flustered when the sales come pouring in. Delegate tasks to team members for the holiday season.

Make Sure You Have Someone on Your Team (Or a Group of Team Members) To:

  • Answer email inquiries
  • Respond to social media engagement (mentions, comments, etc.)
  • Help customers through live chat
  • Keep an eye on competing brands and sales
  • Collect data and measure your success in real-time
  • Coordinate returns
  • Evaluate site security
  • Update your merchandising strategy
  • Hire seasonal employees

Double-check everything (especially these)

Take the time to verify that every aspect of your business is ready to handle the increase in sales. Doing so can prevent emergency situations that cost you money.

  • Place tracking pixels (such as Facebook’s Custom Audience pixel and Google AdWords tracking pixel)
  • Set up Google Analytics
  • Test your site on desktop and mobile
  • Update your shipping and returns policy
  • Confirm suppliers can handle an increased demand
  • Review shipping and packing best practices with staff
  • Test your server load capacity at loadimpact.com
  • Test coupon codes
  • Verify inventory levels
  • Find possible alternative forms of shipping

Hope for the best, plan for the worst 

Planning for what is going to happen is important, but so is planning for what might happen. This means your team will be on the same page if something goes wrong with your business’s technology, partners, or products.

Plan for the Following Crises:

  • Shipping problems
  • Weather issues
  • Data breach
  • Website malfunctions
  • Product or supply shortage
  • Server crash

Follow these guidelines and check items off as you go to make sure your ecommerce marketing is in order before the holidays. Good luck and happy holiday sales!