The holiday season is going to be very different this year as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. There have been major disruptions and loss of business in almost every industry. The holidays are on the way and they need to be the biggest shopping season yet. But will they?
Keep yourself up to date on current trade, logistics, and manufacturing news. Be aware of the current disruption in manufacturing, product supply and shipping. Plan ahead to ensure you have enough stock on hand and do not run out. If you use an order fulfillment and inventory management company, ensure that they are up to date on shipping and logistics policies affected by the pandemic. A key point echoed by all logistics and manufacturing gurus during the pandemic has been to diversify product sourcing and manufacturing. That will ensure minimal disruption to your inventory.
Here is a checklist to start early to ready your online store ready for the coming holiday season.
1. Analyze holiday season data of previous years and adjust for the pandemic
Every business has a goldmine of data on consumer behavior from previous years. Leverage that data to know where the majority of traffic during the shopping season came from that led to conversions. Analyze the data to find whether social media or email marketing drove traffic to your online business.
Dive into your analytics data to find the most rewarding channels so you can build campaigns for holidays. You may want to understand whether it was paid search or organic traffic so that you can repeat as needed.
2. Create holiday-specific landing pages, NOW!
Build landing pages in advance for the holiday season, rather than struggle to get them done at the last minute. All big box stores create their landing pages well in advance so that there is ample time to be indexed by search engines.
Pull data from previous seasons to identify good and bad performing pages to create your holiday marketing campaign. Use your sales data to find out what products sold better than others and also add new products to your holiday season landing pages. The sooner you can do this, the more quickly you can draw a majority of the traffic to your best performing pages.
3. Create your email marketing campaigns for the season with the pandemic in mind
It is a good idea to keep your holiday email offers and funnels different from your traditional campaigns. During the holiday season, be a little more aggressive with your email campaigns, but keep the pandemic in mind. Since some consumers have lost jobs, and may or may not be in a buying mood, you want to show empathy and show them you care. Attract potential customers by showing them you care and not lose them to a competitor by merely throwing out a bunch of badly crafted emails at the last minute. That is a recipe for disaster and poor conversions.
4. Mobile-friendly website
With the proliferation of mobile technology, a majority of consumers use smartphones and tablets for online search. It is important to have a mobile responsive website that caters to this segment of your audience. It would help to test user experience in real time.
Test out by letting employees, and friends and family access your website via smartphones and tablets to see if your pages are easy to navigate. You may want to know if they are able to submit forms, access offers, and establish contact with your business. Honest, unbiased feedback is the need of the hour. This is a critical part of the checklist to get your online store ready.
Make sure site visitors have a great user experience. The key to rev up sales lies with capturing your audience when they are in a buying mood.
Related: 4 Easy Steps to Compete with Amazon.
5. Schedule your season-specific social media posts
It is a great idea to use an automated tool like Buffer, to schedule social media posts in advance for the holiday season. It would help to schedule posts that can intrigue interest and spark interaction and lead to engagement, thus ultimately driving website traffic. You may want to use holiday specific hashtags, images, and messages to attract consumers looking for holiday bargains and new product ideas.
It always helps to promote some direct offers and deals using appropriate hashtags, keywords, and optimized content that can draw traffic and boost conversions. Try a caused based approach. It is a great way to reach out to your community and help others as well as help your business.
Use these 5 points as is OR add them to your checklist to get your online store ready for the very different holiday season ahead. Also Make it a Point to Check Your Order Fulfillment Partner so that there are no surprises with regards to inventory, order fulfillment, and shipping.
Elite OPS has been a leader in Shipping and Logistics for over 20 years. Contact Us to find out how we can help you Save Time and Money on Procurement as a Service, eCommerce Order Fulfillment, and Kitting and Assembly.