The end of 2021 is rapidly approaching, and the holidays will be here before we know it. Go through this checklist now to get your business ready not only for the upcoming holiday season, but the early 2022 holidays as well.
1. Understand when your holiday seasons actually are. We’re all getting ready for the end-of-year holidays in one way or another, but many businesses have more than one holiday season. Florists, for example, may find that Mother’s Day is their busiest holiday. For chocolate makers, it could be Easter or Valentine’s Day. Go through the calendar and assess when the best times would be to do special seasonal promotions.
2. Decide what to promote when. Not every product or service you offer may be appropriate for every holiday. If there are certain items that would make better sense at certain times of the year, plan ahead so that your promotions will go smoothly and deliveries will be made without any delays.
3. Boost your inventory in anticipation of demand. Imagine getting an impressive uptick in orders, only to have to cancel a lot of them because you didn’t anticipate needing so much extra stock. It sounds obvious, but unexpected supply problems are shockingly common and can cause issues not only with sales, but also with your company’s reputation.
4. Have a backup plan for stocking issues. Many small businesses, especially those just starting out, may not have the capital or the space to store all the stock they’ll need to cover a successful promotion. If you are getting products or components from a supplier, find out what their limits are and what they can do to help if you need more stock on short notice. If you are creating your own products, be prepared in case you need to hire some seasonal help or perhaps rent some extra space temporarily. Be sure to build the necessary extra time into your promised delivery dates.
5. Know your logistics. Exactly how long does it take for you to get a product to customers in various regions, states, or countries? Does that shipping time increase near the major holidays, and by how much? You need to know these lead times as precisely as possible so that you can time your promotions appropriately, and warn your customers of any approaching deadlines for orders.
6. Organize your seasonal promotions well in advance. If you’re not planning your Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year promotions now, you should be. Generally speaking, you want to start sorting out your promotional plans at least two or three months in advance, depending on how complex the promotion will be and how much work will need to be done to keep everything running like clockwork.
7. Prepare for contingencies. E-commerce has a lot of moving parts, so it’s inevitable that things will go wrong sometimes. Customers might be temporarily angry if a purchase doesn’t show up in time for a holiday gift, but you’ll lose them forever if you’re at a loss for how to make things right. What sorts of financial or other compensation are you willing to provide as amends if a customer is let down by a failed transaction? What will you do to let them know that you’re serious about earning their trust back?
E-commerce has become central to most businesses over the past couple of years, but mastering it can be surprisingly difficult. If you’re looking to grow your e-commerce customer base and revenue, contact us for a free consultation and we’ll give you personalized tips on how to transform your online marketing strategy.
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