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Holiday eCommerce Checklist 2015

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This time of year, it can get harder and harder to stay organized so we’ve put together this checklist of the most important things you need to do to get your store ready for the best holiday season yet!

1. Get your shipping policies figured out.

Online shopping is so convenient but no one likes paying for the shipping. That’s part of the reason Amazon Prime is so successful. So look for ways to reduce your shipping costs or work out a way to give a free shipping offer on certain items or certain days. While it can cost you to do these things, you should make up for it in additional sales and customer appreciation is invaluable.

2. Pre-plan your sales and promotions.

Of course you know the biggies – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But you should get out your calendar and plan out all the details in advance. Look at last year’s numbers to predict how this year will go. Did you run out of a product or wish you had done something differently?

3. Get your communications plan planed and prepared.

Just as you’re planning your sales and promotions, plan out how you’ll communicate them to your customers as well as your staff. Think about announcements, reminders and what you’ll do with emails and social media to promote these events.

4. Update your product information.

Do you have the most recent images for your products? Could you add more pictures or better product descriptions? People are buying gifts and will be even more reluctant to try something they’re unsure of. So the more images and information you ca provide, the more sure customers will feel about clicking that “buy now” button.

5. Find ways to add value.

Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting the best deal and with your competition no more than a few clicks and keystrokes away, it’s important that your customers find the best value with you. So think about anything you can do to make a sale with your store a little better than somewhere else. One great way to do this is to offer free gift wrapping. It doesn’t cost you that much to offer and it’s something a lot of customers will really appreciate.

6. Get your inventory ready.

This one probably goes without saying. Of course you know you need more items in stock this time of year. You want to be the store that “has it” when everyone else runs out. That said, right now is a good time to take a close look at your entire inventory, not just the items you think will be best sellers. Look at the add-on items or accessories – anything you could upsell or things customers might want as stocking stuffers. Also, look at anything you’ve had a hard time selling all year. Maybe this is a good time to run a special sale on those items to move that inventory.

7. Bump up your customer service offerings – live chat, longer hours, quicker turnaround on responses.

A lot of retailers higher temporary holiday employees to help with the increased hours and demands of the holiday season. Online retailers should consider this too. You might not have customers coming into your store but you will probably have an increase in calls and emails, not to mention the increase in orders to process.

8. Remember the holiday spirit.

This may seem like a strange suggestion. Of course you’re in business to make money. But whether or not you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah – this time of year, many of your customers are in the spirit of giving. It will go a long way to be the retailer that treats them right. So in your customer service interactions and in your policies – if you can find ways to be more generous than your competition, your customers will remember you for it.

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