How Online Retailers Can Prepare for the Holidays

shipworks_blog_holidaySummer is barely behind us, but the holidays are quickly approaching, along with the outstanding opportunity for ecommerce and shipping companies to meet or exceed yearly sales.

With 103 million shoppers attacking their lists over Thanksgiving weekend last year as well as a 16 percent increase in first-time customers alone over the holiday shopping period, the next few weeks can make or break your business. Prepare now for that surge in online shopping with these tips for getting the most out of this important sales season.

  • Calculate your peak day. Look at data from past years – volume and customer behavior – to analyze when your overall sales have historically spiked. Once you pinpoint your high-visit periods, figure out what brought shoppers to you at those particular times and capitalize on their browsing and buying patterns to adjust your inventory and otherwise prepare for the possibility of high-volume sales.
  • Strategize extra services. Anticipating when your sales may peak can help you offer deals and extras on both historically busy and slow days. To drum up business and generate buzz on the early side, consider offering limited-time free gift-wrapping services or a “come again” coupon toward future holiday sales, which may help space out your high-volume days.
  • Ramp up your marketing content. Reach out early to your store’s network of customers and influencers, but do it wisely. Remember, everyone is frantic around the holidays, so be careful not to waste readers’ time with emails or blogs that don’t offer something concrete. Rather than just checking in, be sure to share product news, new arrivals and promotions upfront to keep your contacts engaged and interested in what’s in store this holiday season. Include key dates for ordering with on-time holiday delivery and whether anything you carry has limited, first-come, first-served inventory.
  • Document what goes right and wrong this year. If the steps you take this year don’t work, imagine how much more refined your projections and promotions will be next year! Take the time to think about your successes and failures to prepare for 2017. A knowledge management template can help you take stock of your activity and organize your data.