Where has the time gone? It’s already Q4 of 2021 and the holiday season is closing in on us.
With so many people turning to the internet for their holiday purchases, are you ready to claim your share of the holiday sales cache? Having a game plan essential to your holiday success.
To help you, we’ve put together this holiday prep checklist that we hope will help you plan for what’s to come.
Know your timeline
At the most basic level, you and your team should have a shared calendar that communicates the timeline around your holiday planning.
Set the dates and times for:
☐ When your sales events begin and end
☐ When your sales events ad campaigns begin and end
☐ Sending campaign e-mails and/or newsletters
☐ Publishing social media posts
☐ Sending out print marketing
☐ Releasing new pricing and reverting to old pricing on your product feeds
☐ When free shipping promotions begin and end
☐ Shipping deadlines (USPS, FedEx, UPS)
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 performance
☐ Do an inventory of your marketing channels
☐ Audit and segment your email list
☐ Verify tracking pixels, set up relevant analytics systems (Facebook, Pinterest, Google)
☐ Optimize website SEO for the holiday season
☐ Optimize your product feeds
☐ Revise ads to include holiday deals
☐ Set up retargeting campaigns wherever possible
☐ Adjust ad spend accordingly
☐ Create newsletter or email blast content
☐ Create and schedule social media content
☐ Create transactional email content (empty cart emails, thank you, follow-up emails, etc.)
☐ Create graphic assets (website banners, hero images, print materials, etc.)
☐ Send pitches to blogs and gift guides
☐ Secure plans for any offline events to promote your sale
☐ Prepare for a busier Cyber Weekend
Prepare your team
The season 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 your team is prepped to:
☐ Evaluate site security
☐ Answer email inquiries
☐ Respond to social media engagement (mentions, comments, etc.)
☐ Help customers through live chat, phone support, etc.
☐ Handle your merchandising strategy
☐ Keep an eye on competing brands and sales
☐ Collect data and measure your success in real-time
☐ Coordinate holiday return processes
Sharpen your customer experience
If there's ever a time to polish up the path your customers have to travel on to get the end goal, it's right now.
Combat cart abandonment and prevent silly frustration by optimizing your customer experience. Take the time to verify that every aspect of your business is ready to handle what's to come.
Confirm the following:
☐ Test your site on desktop and mobile
☐ Test your server load capacity at loadimpact.com
☐ Optimize your checkout page
☐ Optimize landing pages
☐ Test coupon codes
☐ Verify inventory levels
☐ Make order tracking easy and obvious
☐ Update your shipping and returns policy
☐ Review shipping and packing best practices with staff
☐ Consider alternative forms of shipping (just in case)
☐ Make sure buyers are thanked
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 issues
The holiday season is always a busy time for brands and for sellers.
Follow these guidelines and check items off as you go to make sure your ecommerce marketing is in order before the holidays. Be sure to checkout our full Merchant's Guide to the Holidays for some more insight.
Good luck and happy holiday sales!