The 15-Point Checklist To Prepare Your Store For The Holiday Season

The 15-Point Checklist To Prepare Your Store For The Holiday Season

The holiday season is almost around the corner, the most promising season for the audience that marks the beginning of the paramount time of the year for retailers. It brings unplugged enthusiasm, curiosity, and eagerness to blend with happiness and joy for the audience which leads to higher engagement on the website during these shopping days.

The holiday season of 2020 was a big hit. One of the best in recent years. Both online and brick-and-mortar businesses illustrated strong growth rates.

According to the recent holiday statistics, E-commerce sales during November, which included Black Friday and Cyber Monday, reached $100 billion for the first time, said Adobe, which tracks the web transactions of 80 of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S. In another first, online spending exceeded $1 billion daily during the 2020 holiday season and 50 days topped $2 billion, Adobe said.

In 2019, Cyber Monday was the heaviest online spending day in history, jumping 19.7% to $9.4 billion, according to Adobe. Black Friday posted a similarly strong gain at 19.6%, reaching $7.4 billion as the second-heaviest day of the season, followed by Thanksgiving’s 14.5% increase to $4.2 billion.

“We expect to see these new innovations remain in 2021 with holiday strategies becoming the new standard that consumers expect from their favorite retailers and brands,” said Rob Garf, vice president of Industry Strategy for Retail at Salesforce.

To take the most out of your e-commerce site, are you all set to welcome the 2020 holiday sales season and skyrocket your revenue? If not, then we have prepared a checklist for the upcoming holiday season for every e-commerce store to scale their business.

Best holiday marketing checklist

1. Mobile optimization

Mobile e-commerce sales are predicted to touch $3.56 trillion in the coming years – 22.3 percent more than the $2.91 trillion it recorded in the past.

With mobile purchases set to hop again this holiday season, considering your store’s mobile experience should be at the forefront.

So is your website mobile-optimized and quickly loading your home page?

You might think why this question, the reason is Google has changed the website ranking criteria for all the sites and now the page loading speed affects the Google ranking of any e-commerce website.

if your website is mobile-ready but it’s still taking more time to load. It’s not worth it.

For this, you can implement AMP (Accelerate Mobile Pages) which gives a precise way to create web pages that are more effective, smoother, and quick to load for users. The steps are easy to understand in order to set up AMP on your WordPress site. It will help you enrich the overall user experience for all mobile users. Else, you can go for Progressive Web App, a highly responsive web app for mobile platforms that offers user mobile experience similar to a native app. It is cheaper than other apps and has the ability to show push notifications. Below are a few examples of large companies using PWAs.

Companies using PWAs
Source: Medium

After that, you can optimize your website on mobile devices for free with selecting a responsive template or theme. These templates automatically tailor themselves with the display of the visitor’s device. To make your website mobile-friendly, you must have a responsive design template, dynamic website versions, and obviously a mobile app. Make sure your purchasing experience is seamless, and once it’s done don’t forget to test it across multiple mobile devices.

Mobile website optimization
Source: Androidauthority

2.The color palette for dazzling holiday designs

Website design with the best fit color instantly implicates conversion rates as it amplifies brand recognition and prompts visitors to take action on your e-commerce site.

For holiday marketing, color is a significant, and highly important part when it comes to sprucing up your store to match holiday mood. Using holiday season colors can stimulate your visitor’s emotions and entice them to respond to a call-to-action on your website.

Selecting the right colors for the design of your website is critical for your online success and many brands change the color and themes of their website according to the holiday season.

For example, to celebrate Christmas shopping, Macy’s has a splash page with a red color that first greets site visitors when they land on the retailer’s site. This splash page is an ingenious touch because it grabs the visitor’s attention and directly shows them the store’s best sales and connects them with the Christmas vibe.Color Palette for Dazzling Holiday Designs-min

However, there’s a vast variety of holiday colors to select from. You don’t always need to use green and red, other colors such as gold, tan, and blue work well as well. For this, take a look at the below images to learn how brands changed their site design to match the holiday shopping mood.

Store design for holiday shopping
Source: Tapfiliate

3. Ultra-high quality product image

In the holiday season, stores are swamped with products, knock-offs, and hottest deals of the season. So your store should be one step ahead of all this competition.

To entice your targeted audience make sure your products stand out with mind-blowing, clean product images. The more you will aspire to present your products in a skilled way, the more traffic you will start to see rushing to your site.

For no more returns and frustration, offer your customers high-quality images to ease their shopping experience as a picture is worth a thousand words, and make your store more reliable for future purchases. 

Ultra-high quality product image
Source: Shopify

A single image of a product empowers more relevant information about the product’s quality than long descriptive paragraphs. However, considering slow image load speed can scale down the sale, you must reduce the image file size by using the “Save for Web” command in Adobe Photoshop and help your customer get familiar with your product before purchasing it.

4. Countdown offers to drive sales

Creating a sense of urgency in the holiday season can be an effective method that nudges shoppers to make a faster decision on a purchase they’re considering.

For example, in the below image, the conversion rate of the second landing page was almost three times more than of the first because unlike the first image that only has basic offer and price, the second has information on how many items had already been bought and a countdown timer.Countdown offers

Countdown offers to drive Holiday sales
Source: SaleCycle

As the holiday sales season begins and ends in a specific period,  the countdown timer is crucial to capture and grab the attention of your online visitor.

A well-placed countdown timer highlighted as a digital clock on your page lets your visitors know exactly when your offer ends.

It creates a sense of urgency, puts an end to procrastination, and improves conversion rates as knowing that they have only a few hours or minutes remaining then they will experience the fear of missing out (FOMO) which will encourage them to make a quicker decision if they do not want to miss the opportunity.

Holiday sales countdown
Source: Coredna

5. Make free shipping profitable

Just like other years, free shipping will be hot this holiday season as consumers expect it and brands always promote it. It’s estimated that millions of more buyers will be shopping this holiday season as compared to last year. You can claim your clump of the increasing numbers by offering free shipping and competing with other marketers who use it as the supreme shopping trick.

However, if you plan to charge for shipping during the holidays, you must find ways to minimize your shipping costs so that you only charge customers what is wholly necessary to ship items and so that you can “break-even” with the shipping costs.

Include a free shipping bar on the header that allows you to display the required amount for free shipping. It works as a reminder informing visitors of the benefit of getting products without paying an extra fee on shipping or the lacking amount of money to reach the threshold for free delivery. The bar automatically updates the required amount when a customer adds items to the carts. You can customize the look and feel that matches your website, and of course set the goal amount for free shipping.

To enable this feature you can install Wigzo from the Shopify store.

Special offer for holiday marketing season
Source: WPbeginner

6. Display banners on the homepage to advertise holiday sales

The homepage banner is the gatekeeper of your holiday sales season website, it represents your e-commerce store accurately and helps the visitors dive deeper into your website and make a connection with your brand right away.

The purpose of a website banner is to entice and engage visitors, which is why it is so critical to get a banner right as it only has mere seconds to capture the interest of a visitor and encourage staying on the website for further browsing.

There are myriad ways to make your banner ethical, unique, and appealing to visitors, take into account the below points

  • A business brand name is the first obvious thing that should appear on any banner.  You can always try to showcase high-quality images but don’t over clutter the banner with multiple images.
  • Plan your ‘Unique Sales Proposition’. For this ask yourself, what is it that makes your company so different from everyone else? This quality needs to be visible in the banner design, giving off an instant symbolic impression that includes your corporate identity.
  • Use holiday templates from Creative Market. Each template costs around $10 – $20. You can also use Canva if you are looking for a free template page. It’s a simple design tool for everyone with thousands of free holiday templates for you to choose from.
  • Include a sticky header bar on your page. The header is the best choice to grab customers’ attention within seconds. It enhances their shopping experience and helps you drive traffic.
Display banners on the Homepage to advertise holiday sales
Source: Dreamhost

7. Launch PPC holiday ads

The holiday season is a time when quick, impulse-driven purchases are at their peak, and it is indeed crucial that you take time to optimize your PPC campaigns to accommodate holiday shoppers and ensure that your ads are being triggered, drawing attention and driving clicks. In the holiday season optimizing your text ads is one of the core strategies.

Launch PPC Holiday Ads
Source: Bounteous

The holiday season signifies a great opportunity to increase clicks, conversions, and sales. But you’re only going to see these benefits if you allocate enough budget to the holiday months.

How much budget you should save for November and December really depends on past performance. Look back on your campaigns from previous years and see how your impression share and clicks changed during key seasons.

Most advertisers don’t bother creating campaigns to target holiday-specific keywords every year. So this is a huge missed opportunity to reach a highly targeted audience that is ready to convert on search.

It doesn’t require a significant time investment to create dedicated holiday PPC campaigns. Simply duplicate one of your current campaigns, replace the keyword lists, allocate more budget, and then wait for the increased conversions to roll in.PPC campaign for holiday sales

8. Social media advertising

The holiday season is the liveliest time of year in all aspects including social media advertising. To drive more traffic, conversions, and sales with social media, you need to set your goals and strategies to get things done.

Holidays are the prime and excellent time for advertising on Facebook. Set up your Facebook ad campaign at least 24 hours in advance for a higher cost per click rates. Use CTAs like “Shop now” or “buy now” to increase people’s readiness to click on the ad. Also, when creating your holiday ads this season, keep your ad image colors contrasted for better visibility.

Social media Advertising
Source: Nanigans

Furthermore, when advertising discount offers, consider which number has a bigger impact: a percentage, or the number of dollars saved. If you had to choose between -20% and -$350, the latter is clearly a better option.Discounted offer for holiday marketing

Now, to make the most out of the holiday shopping season, wouldn’t it be great if you could boost seasonal sales on Instagram?

Holiday marketing on instagram
Source: Nanigans

With 1 billion monthly active usersInstagram isn’t just a place for people to share fun selfies with their friends; it’s a robust advertising social media platform on which brands can create their own streams of glossy photos, videos for holiday marketing.

Even Instagram stories are best for seasonal sales, they are growing 15X faster than feeds, using Instagram stories is one of the promising marketing trends that help brands get business results.

You might think Why?

As with a short lifespan of 24 hours, Instagram stories create a sense of urgency as users are afraid of missing out on something important.

Instagram stories for holiday marketing
Source: Veedyou

You should also maintain the higher engagement level with your customers this holiday season to convert them into loyal customers. There are many tools that can help you attain it such as Wigzo’s Magic link, it can boost your subscriber list and optimize your customer engagement. It is a two-step seamless opt-in method where you include a link in your Instagram stories that brings users directly to the intended page after the swipe up (This link also works on the onsite behavioral messaging channel)

  1. Magic link for holiday marketing

9. Email campaigns

Holiday email marketing is the perfect way to start gathering the interest of the consumers, in turn, help you capture higher conversion rates and revenue.

During the holiday season, you’ll have more eyes on your website and social channels, so make sure visitors can easily sign up for your email list no matter where they are. Be sure to include relevant fields in your sign up form that you can use to power automation and personalization beyond just first name.

While planning email campaigns give your holiday shoppers insights and set expectations on what promotions you are running during the holiday season. Take a look at the important dates during November and December and start making an email marketing plan. Think about what kinds of emails to send and when, and consider using marketing automation to send the right message to the right person at the right time.Email campaign Holiday Marketing Strategies

Email Campaigns
Source: Getresponse

This holiday season will be a success for you not only when you will captivate buyers but also to keep cart abandonment low and customer value high. Therefore, you must try to seal more sales by reminding busy shoppers about the items they have left at the shopping cart and didn’t purchase.

Around 81% of customers have shown that they’re more likely to purchase something after they’ve been targeted by a crucial email. So this season, adding an extra touch of personalization along with an incentive like 20% can make your customers feel more like they’re buying from a trusted friend than a random brand. That sense of affinity means a lot during the festive time of year.

Your objective in a cart abandonment email is to convince people to come back to your store and buy from you. However, during the high-stress holiday season, you don’t want to overwhelm your customers with anything too demanding. Rather, you will need to plan how you can phrase your CTA in a personal and engaging way that makes people want to buy something that you’re selling.

So you must resist instantly telling people to “buy” the item they’ve left in their basket, instead try something more subtle, like requesting users to “view the shopping bag”, a little extra discount in your abandoned cart email could be all your customer needs to come back to your site.Cart emails

To get your abandoned cart email timing right, you’ll need to analyze your target audience carefully and review how they respond to messages sent at specific times in the sales cycle.

According to  SaleCycle, emails sent less than an hour after a cart is abandoned have an average of a 3% conversion rate. Emails sent exactly an hour later, on the other hand, had double the conversions, at 6.3%

You may even need to send multiple abandoned cart emails in a single cycle.

10.  Enhance checkout page

Checkouts are the most desirable and preferable pages for every online store especially in Holiday Sales when traffic will be huge. There are several tools and plugins available in the market which not only simplifies the checkout process but reduces the overall shopping cart abandonment rate of your website.

Now if we talk about other ways to modify the checkout page, take into account these points.

  • Develop a mobile version of your website or invest in responsive design for an increased number of visitors to your e-commerce.
  • Providing guest check out to curtail extra steps to likely increase your conversions on mobile.

Enhance checkout Page for holiday marketing

  • Remove navigation bars from the checkout to reduce visual clutter that could distract buyers and increase the chances of customers clicking away to another section of the site. For example, Yuppiechef saw a 100% increase in conversion rates (from 3% to 6%) by removing the navigation bar.
  • Add trust badges on the checkout page to assure potential customers that the process is safe and secure such as “Secure Payments by PayPal” or “McAfee Secure”.
Trust building during checkout
Source: Ecwid
  • Use multiple payment options for the convenience of users. However, it isn’t necessary for you to offer each and every payment option available online, nor it would be a convenient option for you. You should take a look at your target audience and work on which payment option suits them best. This way you will be able to cater to the majority of your visitors.

Multiple payment options

11. Extend your holiday promotions for last-minute shoppers

Last-minute holiday shoppers contribute to a significant portion of holiday sales. One of the nicest ways for e-commerce stores to support last-minute customers is by offering gift guides. You can also create a gift basket or assortment of items that complement one another and showcase it prominently on your website or in your shop.Extend your holiday promotions for last-minute shoppers

You can also set up a last-minute holiday sale of your unsold holiday items during peak events such as Christmas before the year ends. When you still receive high traffic from holiday buyers, it’s a perfect time to engage with the post-holiday traffic with sales promotions or new products.

Last minute Holiday Marketing Strategies
Source: Facebook

Moreover, Holiday giveaways are incredible last-minute marketing tools for busy marketers. Consider creating a social media contest through which customers can win gift baskets or other holiday prizes. Even if you haven’t created an elaborate marketing plan for December, you can boost seasonal sales by treating your customers well.Giveaways for Holiday Marketing Strategies

12. Referral program

Planning and executing a referral program can give you an extra edge as you will be not only rewarding your returning customers, but you’ll also expand your customer base.

With a referral program, all you need is for each of your customers to bring one of their friends/relatives to your store in the holiday season and your customer base will be doubled.

The holidays bring with them a positive boost in offerings and customer service which will lead those new customers to see you at your best, driving them to visit more often and engage with you even after the holidays end.

For example, if you have a rewards program, you can offer bonus points for your customers that refer their friends anytime during the holiday months, during specific times of the holidays, or even multiple times during the season. This helps reinforce repeat visits while also offering your customers a reward for bringing their friends to your store.

Referral Program for holiday marketing
Source: Ad-examples

13. Integrate live chat support

In holiday marketing, a live chat function can provide indomitable support to your customers. By offering visitors an immediate form of customer service support, you can scale down the familiar backlog of emails and calls that greet you during the Holiday season.

24/7 Live chat support is the additional channel of contact that allows chatting in real-time with your website visitors.

According to a study, live chat can boost sales by 30%, keep 96% of customer happiness, and grow your customer base by 50%.

Shopping carts are often abandoned online because of either slow or non-existent customer service. Luckily, the live chat tool allows for immediate engagement with visitors, encouraging them to stay, complete a purchase and possibly even return to your site.

Integrate live chat support
Source: Livechat

Setting up an automated chat invitation is an excellent way to keep visitors engaged.

Sometimes users facing problems in your online store avoid reaching out for help. So an automated prompt with even a simple question, like: “Hi, can I help you?”, can keep them engaged.

Onsite automated prompt
Source: Betterthansure

14. Gather feedback from customers

Feedbacks are crucial in order to maintain a high level of conversions and customer satisfaction. It is the best way to obtain customer insight consistently throughout the holiday season.

Without giving it a second thought, plan a good customer feedback strategy this holiday season.

It will help you gauge visitors’ experience on your online store. You can collect feedback in a number of different ways. Either by adding an embedded feedback form on the page, using a passive feedback form, or enable a proactive trigger when a visitor has scrolled down to the bottom of the page.Gather feedback from customers for holiday sales

Customer feedback can reveal existing bugs and page errors and bring attention to design faults and based on it you can rectify.

Also, collecting feedback in purchasing funnels will help you gain more insights into how visitors are experiencing the purchase process and why they aren’t successful in converting within these funnels.

15. Analyze site performance and traffic

Lastly, amidst the holiday chaos, a lot can happen, especially when traffic level increases and customer expectations rise. Thus it’s important to invariably monitor and analyze customer experiences and make sure they’re in tip-top shape.

Your website traffic will help you understand what visitors do on your site, what they’re looking for, and what made them convert. Knowing what visitors are regularly looking for will help you improve your services and products. Also, Monitoring your traffic will help to identify possible website errors, such as duplicate URLs, duplicate tags, web spam, and broken URLs. These are some of the issues that affect your traffic volume and site performance on different browsers and devices.

With an analytics tool that monitors your site traffic, it’s easier to monitor the performance of your pages. You can determine pages that are ranking high, pages that can be improved, and those that are not ranking at all. It also allows you to access reports on visitor demographics, keywords, site impressions, and top pages. You can also set up custom alerts to monitor the performance of your site.

Final thoughts

The holiday season is the most favorite and most-awaited time of the year for retail and e-commerce. If you had best-selling products throughout 2019 then your winning products during the holiday season 2020 will also be the same besides the new products.

While it’s important to prepare your online store for the holiday season, it is also crucial that it syncs with your point-of-sale.

As an e-commerce store owner, it’s important that you take all the steps possible to prepare your business to capitalize on this seasonal rush. Plan a fully integrated omnichannel retail strategy, to ensure you are touching potential customers at all crucial parts of the sales pipeline.

If you want to take leverage from an omnichannel retail strategy, then schedule a demo with Wigzo. While you still have time to optimize your holiday sales, a 14 days free trial with us can be the best choice for you.

Rashi Kundra

Rashi Kundra

Rashi is a literature graduate from Delhi University. She is a content writer at Wigzo. In her spare time, you will find her meditating while grooving on EDM beats.

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