How to Prepare Your Online Store for Holiday Season 2016

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The holiday is the busiest time of the year for retail businesses. Black Friday usually kicks off this critical sales season but retailers are opening doors even as early as Thanksgiving evening. Last year Thanksgiving brought out 35 million people shoppers, while Black Friday saw 74.2 million people in stores spending average of$299.60 per person.  A few days on Cyber Monday $3.19 billion total digital sales were made on desktop and mobile.

These numbers alone speak to the great opportunity to appeal to willing customers looking to splurge on savings for the holiday season. With just a couple weeks to prepare for holiday season, here are some important dates and tips to help you maximize sales.

Setting Your Calendar

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First, decide on which important shopping days and holidays you want to participate in.

  • Friday, November 25 – Black Friday 
  • Traditionally known as the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Millions participate in this event known for the best sales of the year. Select retailers will offer their best deals on Thanksgiving evening to award early shoppers.
  • Monday, November 28 – Cyber Monday
  • The Monday after Thanksgiving is the biggest online shopping day of the year. Smaller businesses, especially fashion retailers, take advantage of this opportunity to compete virtually with bigger retails on discounts in clothing, jewelry and technology.
  • Friday, December 16 – Free Shipping Day
  • Some online retailers will offer their customers free shipping and guarantee delivery by Christmas eve. This usually brings in last-minute shoppers and unique visitors to your e-commerce site.
  • Saturday, December 24 -Hanukkah Starts + Christmas Eve
  • Gift-giving during Hanukkah has increased because of it’s close proximity to Christmas. Hanukkah is an 8-day minor Jewish holiday.
  • Monday, December 26 – Kwanzaa Starts
  • Kwanzaa is a 7-day cultural holiday where African Americans can connect with their heritage and culture. Education and artistic gifts are usually given on the last day.
  • Saturday, January 28 – Chinese New Year
  • Chinese celebrate the new year with the beginning of the second new moon after winter solstice. Gifts range from toys to teas depending on age and relationships.
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Preparing Your Website

Business Weekly Diane Faye Zerr

Create a website that is easy to navigate and easy to find deals!

  • Landing Pages are the best way to convert traffic into leads. It’s where you will send all your traffic that comes from social ads, SEM, retargeting, etc. Your landing pages often offer a discount or membership in exchange for the customers email address. This will be useful in communicating with visitors that did not convert to customers.
  • Return Policy will be reviewed by customers before purchasing. Your return policy should be easy to access from any page on your site. It should be written in easy-to-understand terms.
  • Shipping Schedule should be clearly laid out. Because customers are usually buying for a specific date or holiday, they will want to be confident that their item will be delivered in time.

Advertising and Marketing

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Let potential customers know what you’re offering during this holiday season.

  • Capture Existing Customers by offering discounts in advance. Consider emailing an exclusive promocode or running a contest on social media.
  • Expand Your Reach and get your brand in front of new customers. Once you identify your target customers, advertise on social media, SEM, retargeting ads, print ads, and affiliate marketing.
  • Constant Customer Service on standby. Have a representative available to answer any emails, FB messages, and tweets concerning promotions and products.

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