It may only be October, but the holiday season has already begun. Retailers are spilling the beans on their most exciting offers. Ecommerce experts are making their annual predictions. Shoppers are doing their research and making their lists.
Yes, the year’s biggest shopping season is underway, and it won’t stop until after Christmas.
Instead of lamenting “Black Friday creep”—or losing your mind over all the things you have to do—see this as an opportunity. After all, the holidays can represent as much as 30% of annual sales for mid-sized retailers, with online merchants alone expected to ring up $128–134 billion. It’s important to do everything you can to gain a competitive advantage and prepare your online store for an influx of traffic and an increase in sales.
While we’re sure you have an avalanche of impending items on your to-do list, now is the time to prioritize. This article outlines six tasks you should tackle sooner rather than later. Once complete, they will be the foundation for the rest of your holiday preparations.
Complete the tasks below and you’ll be one week closer to BFCM, and one step closer to your most lucrative holiday season yet.
Dig into your analytics
If there’s one thing that separates the ecommerce pros from amateurs, it’s data. Tools like Google Analytics and Shopify reports can give you rich insights into your visitors’ behaviour and sales transactions. Reviewing this information is an essential tactic ahead of the busy holiday season.
By looking at last year’s sales data (or even data from earlier this year), you can predict what your hot products will be and identify areas of your site that need a little TLC.
Estimate orders and compare to your stock
Holiday shoppers won’t hesitate to go elsewhere if you don’t have what they want in stock and ready to ship. If you rely on a supplier for inventory, talk to them about the increased demand you expect during the holiday season.
Remember, it’s better to have too much than too little. Leftover inventory can always be sold off at a discount in January (a great way to get customers back into your store during what’s typically a slow month in retail).
Research advertising options
Online stores are spoiled for choice when it comes to advertising channels. That said, bids skyrocket during the ultra-competitive holiday season, and we certainly don’t recommend blowing next year’s marketing budget on a few BFCM ads. Instead, choose a few avenues that align with your target demographics, and put your efforts and dollars there.
Get a jump on ads and content
You’re going to be extremely busy when November rolls around, so take some time now to focus on content. Prepping ads, creating graphics, and writing blog posts well ahead of when you’ll actually need them will help keep your messaging more consistent and of better quality.
If you wait until Thanksgiving to throw together your BFCM ads, you’re not going to get the best results. Nobody does their best work in a food coma.
Install Pixelpop and build your mailing list
The lead-up to the holidays is the perfect time to build your mailing list. Why? Because traffic to your site is going to explode over the next few months. You should be doing everything you can to turn those browsers into buyers, even if that doesn’t happen right away.
Our Pixelpop popup app is a great way of doing this—just set up an email signup popup, offer a killer incentive, then sit back and watch the emails roll in.
Double down on email marketing
Email may not be as new or novel as live video or social selling, but with email marketing driving 23% of Black Friday sales last year, it’s a tried-and-true communication channel you can’t afford to ignore. Start drafting your emails now, get your lists sorted, then deploy according to your marketing calendar.
Looking for more BFCM tips and tricks? Get our free Holiday Handbook for Shopify Entrepreneurs.