Prepare Your E-Commerce Business for the Christmas Rush: 10 Tips to Succeed with Online Sales

09 November 2015

Prepare Your E-Commerce Business for the Christmas Rush: 10 Tips to Succeed with Online Sales

With just a few more weeks until the festivities peak, e-commerce businesses need to prime their websites for a potentially huge rush of traffic. Losing sales due to poor preparation hits the bottom line hard but, by laying some groundwork, sites can be ready and waiting to encourage eager customers to come and buy.

Check the items on the list below to make sure you are prepared for Christmas shopping and the January sales:

  • 1. Is your web hosting solid? There is no point driving traffic to a website if the hosting fails and potential customers are greeted by error messages. You may need to ramp up your bandwidth requirements and speed up your site for the next few months; speak to your developers and hosting provider if you have any doubts. Make sure you get a good quality web host such as EuroVPS.
  • 2. Make use of your existing audience. If you have a good social media following or a large email marketing list, don’t overlook the importance of these valued, loyal customers. They have already bought from you or chosen to hear more, so take advantage of this and promote your best offers and last-minute deals to them.
  • 3. Test your site on different browsers and platforms. An e-commerce site that is not mobile-friendly will lose out.
  • 4. Prepare marketing options for different eventualities. Have some website copy and social media updates ready for if the country gets cloaked with snow, or if you decide to have a last-minute push for any products you have in excess.
  • 5. Look at what happened last year. This is a good time to look at your site’s analytics and revenues from 12 - and even 24 - months ago to see if you can anticipate trends and patterns that may recur.
  • 6. Prepare your affiliates. If you have affiliates who promote your products in return for a percentage of the sales, give them early access to banners, special promotional codes and offers and let them get to work, selling for you!
  • 7. Listen. Consumers increasingly expect brands to respond to their queries and problems on social media. Set up a social listening system so nobody’s question or complaint is ignored. This can also help you to anticipate problems (such as faulty products or delayed shipping) before they become unmanageable.
  • 8. Plan your PPC advertising. While SEO continues to be incredibly important, PPC ads have the benefit of showing virtually immediate results, even in highly competitive niches. Prepare a range of ad copy, images and headlines and get ready to test which combinations are the most effective.
  • 9. Consider ad retargeting. While some customers aren’t a fan of product ads ‘following them around the web’, retargeting advertisements are a popular way of keeping somebody’s attention and drawing them back to your website.
  • 10. Be flexible. Keep an eye on social media chatter and Google Trends to see if there are things happening that you could use to promote your brand or products. Don’t exploit any kind of tragedy, but if a celeb wears your clothing, or your top-selling toy hits the national bestseller list, you want to know about it so you can make sure everyone else knows about it, too!