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6-Step Holiday Checklist for eCommerce Owners

Is your site ready for the busiest season in online sales? Make the most of the holiday rush with our 6-part checklist for eCommerce business owners:

1. Fine tune your email campaigns

Although it’s obvious you need a holiday campaign, it may be unclear what that entails. Besides sending the obvious hard hitters for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are other factors to make your campaign stand out.

  • To ensure your emails make it to the inbox, check that your list is clean so it avoids spam filters.
  • Get higher opens with personal and segmentation emails based off of info from email lists. Gifts for him? Send it to the ladies (and vice versa).
  • Starting well before Black Friday, people are bombarded with sale emails to the point of exhaustion. If you reduce frequency before the rush, your customers will be more accepting of a higher frequency during the holidays.

2. Stress-test site performance

There’s nothing worse than thousands lost in revenue due to your site being offline during shopping rush hours.  Investing in load testing prior to massive holiday traffic spikes may be money well spent if you’re concerned with your site’s stability.

Ideally, be ready for a huge spike in traffic without having to change your marketing campaigns, but if you need to, stagger your emails to make sure you don’t send out a server-crashing deal.

3. Evaluate and re-evaluate merchandise

Make sure your sales are as exciting as the season with competitor comparison and product deals. Take a look at what your rivals did last year and if they used a loss leader (selling one item at a loss to draw buyers), chances are they will be as aggressive this year. Don’t have that info? Use the Wayback Machine to see features of competitors’ sites in years past.

Making quickly expiring deals is a way to increase urgency and shorten the decision process, which can lead to an increase in sales. Also check last year’s records for inventory levels for this year’s orders. You don’t want to stock out too early or be left with a surplus of candy cane greeting cards.

4. Beef up security

Cyber attacks are high during the holiday shopping season, especially on Cyber Monday. Click fraud and malware cannot only ruin a sale, but can also destroy your reputation during an important time. Take this opportunity to add security before it’s too late. It can be as simple as having a security provider and displaying the logo somewhere on your site. Shoppers are more likely to buy when they know their info is secure, so this step can also mean a bigger bottom line.

5. Make mobile shopping easy

We won’t annoy you with statistics about mobile shopping being more popular than ever. But if there is one time to take advantage of those non-stats, it’s the 2013 holiday shopping season. Increase conversions by optimizing your mobile site and cleaning up the checkout process. Adding helpful features like easy-to-find checkout buttons, readable browsers, and automatic field fill-ins can prevent shoppers from getting too frustrated to continue.

Still, you can’t save them all. Mobile abandonment rates are high, so make sure you give your customers a way to remember what they looked at and buy on a desktop later. Also, in-store mobile comparison shopping is increasingly popular, so be sure your prices are competitive enough to make the deal or try pushing extra features instead.

6. Expand your shipping options

Make sure you are offering next day shipping or “arrives by” guarantees as late as possible to squeeze more out of the holiday rush. Online shoppers are going to be looking around as late as December 23rd hoping they can get their gift delivered next day.  If you have nothing to offer that can be delivered in this time frame, make sure you push them towards a gift card so you aren’t turning desperate last minute shoppers away.

While price reigns king, speed and convenience rise near the top of customer priority during the holidays. Options like gift messages, gift-wrapping, and/or gift receipts are time-saving perks that improve satisfaction and may sway a buyer’s decision.  Offering these options can also increase your average order value by tacking on some additional costs, all the while increasing customer satisfaction.

Ripen Services:

Check everything off your  holiday wish list with the unique eCommerce services at Ripen. Our development & tech teams will spruce up your website performance and boost security while the elves in creative craft stunning design and copy. See a full list of services at RipeneCommerce.com.