Complete 2021 Guide to Preparing Your Ecommerce Store for Holiday Magic

Complete 2021 Guide to Preparing Your Ecommerce Store for Holiday Magic

The holiday season is once again approaching rapidly. In the blink of an eye, tons of shoppers will descend upon stores for presents and deals. And, because of the shift online over the past year, a large majority of that will be on the internet. Holiday ecommerce is experiencing the biggest boom ever, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. In 2020, holiday online sales amounted to $190.47 billion USD.

You want to be prepared to take full advantage of the holiday season, as it’s ripe with opportunity. But it isn’t as simple as getting some extra inventory. Here are some key practices to prepare your ecommerce store for holiday magic.

Wrapping paper and present

Prepare for Crowds

A few years ago, holiday shopping meant frenzied customers breaking down the doors on Black Friday. With holiday ecommerce, you don’t have to deal with the hordes literally, but figuratively, the idea is the same. Heavy traffic can strain your server, drain your inventory, and strip your third-party integrations of reliability.

So, you’re going to want your site in the most robust state it’s ever been in to handle the holiday surge. Stock up ahead of time to keep inventory loaded. Reinforce your server and upgrade its speed and security. Test your integrations and make whatever changes you need to ensure they work in high-volume consumer counts. Performance is key, don’t let yours drag.

Treat Customers Like Royalty

This may be obvious, but customers love online shopping because of how much more convenient it is than shopping in person. If your Holiday Ecommerce site is difficult to use, people will shop somewhere else without a second thought. Don’t let it get to that point. Optimize the user experience so there’s a seamless path to checkout, and all the options are right at customers’ fingertips.

Also, make sure your loading speeds are top tier. Roughly half of mobile site visitors will leave a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to make some visual improvements. Your site should be clean and eye-catching to boost your brand.

Checking Out: Easy and Personalized

People love dynamic, personalized sites. Giving your holiday ecommerce site the personal touch can be exactly what you need to hook customers. Funnel this into your checkout process and you have a recipe for success. Customers can simply discover new items and go to checkout in a few easy steps. Simplifying the checkout to a single page to make this even more streamlined.

Shorten the checkout process and allow users to checkout as a guest if they don’t have an account. Consider offering several payment methods as mobile options like PayPal are on the rise.

woman on bed with gifts, shopping on her laptop

Improved Shipping and Fulfillment

By including products in multiple storefronts and offering flexible shipping, you can increase your holiday sales. In addition to selling on your ecommerce site, consider:

  • listing your products on online marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay;
  • tagging products on social media for in-app purchases;
  • offering convenient curbside pickup options for brick-and-mortar locations.

For shipping, consider free or low shipping fees as 51% of people prefer to shop online because of free delivery. To simplify the process, write a clear return policy and automate online sales. For an additional touch, personalize your packaging to add to the customer experience.

Strategic Promotions

Don’t promote your holiday ecommerce the same way as always. Go bigger to take full advantage of the increasing market. It’s best to get started early, so you have ample time to generate a full plan. Promotional strategies on-site can be a big part of this. If you use gift cards to upsell at checkout and offer seasonal services like free gift-wrapping and shipping, you’ll stand out amongst competitors.

More importantly, keep a constant stream of content on all your major channels. Blog posts, videos, articles, anything you can to spread the news about your site that’s relevant to the holiday season.

marketing principles such as consumers and users on a color wheel

Urgency Marketing

One of the best holiday ecommerce marketing strategies at your disposal is urgency. Push the message that there is a limited amount available, a flash sale, anything that gives the message customers must buy now to get the best deal. Part of this can even be pre-holiday season sales as production stops on those items.

Ideally, though, you will center this on your holiday efforts, offering special deals or items that further drive sales while demand is high. The earlier you push for this, the more opportunities you’ll make. Scarcity marketing tactics are the best way to inspire sales immediately.

Holiday Promotional Content

Generating more marketing content is a crucial part of holiday ecommerce operations. You want all this content to be top-notch to generate as much attention as possible. The way you frame your message is key to this: show people why they have to take advantage of your holiday offers.

Combine this with urgency marketing and you’ll further boost potential sales. Increase your marketing budgets as well, your ads should be plentiful and high-quality to get the best results. Do it all: social media campaigns, email campaigns, paid promotions, everything you possibly can to promote your site.

Gift with joy wrapping paper against a Christmas tree background

Gift Guides

Gift guides are a specific type of holiday ecommerce marketing that can help drive sales by giving an appearance of authenticity. Rather than directly pitching your items to customers, you’re presenting them as a friend would suggest possible gifts for their loved ones. People are much more likely to trust content when they don’t feel they are being explicitly sold to. 

Prioritizing this type of marketing over other content can shift your image to one that’s more trustworthy and helpful, and better bring in customers than traditional adverts. Consider reaching out to other companies and including each others’ products on your gift guides for an even larger reach.

It’s Never Too Early

The most important takeaway from this guide to holiday ecommerce is that you need to start as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the sooner your site will be equipped for the holiday rush, and the more strategic holiday content you’ll be able to release. Make sure the site is as functional and smooth as possible. Get your shipping fully optimized, and market like never before. And don’t forget to bring in urgency, as it’s key to the short time window of the holiday season. You want to drive sales now, not later.

Do all of that and you’ll be bringing in more customers than ever this holiday season. For any more questions or information on web design, marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and more, check out all the content Coalition Technologies has to offer. Maximize your marketing potential with help from CT!

‘Tis the season to be selling:

Must-knows for the 2021 festive period

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