This is a guest post by Suzy Viola. Suzy is a social media marketing specialist and a photographer. She loves sharing her knowledge and interest with everyone, which led her to become a freelance writer.


The holiday season is just around the corner, and it’s the time of the year to prepare for the holiday rush to ensure that you have a bountiful sales season. The holidays are one of the biggest times of the year for shopping, and everyone is ready to buy gifts for their friends, loved ones and even themselves. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, there’s a dramatic increase in website visitors, and this trend will likely continue until Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Promo-kit-xmas_signature-email-min

Of course, this sudden spike of traffic can also be a source of stress for website owners and digital marketers alike. So, how do you save yourself from stress, and take advantage of this most festive time of the year to boost sales?

Here are practical tips and strategies to see to it that your online store is profitable:

Develop your holiday plan

holiday sales

It’s vital to plan ahead if you want to craft a successful holiday campaign. For instance, what are the products that you want to offer, and how are you going to ship them to potential customers?

Here is our recommended list of things to do to develop a successful plan:

Learn from last year‘s analytics – Take a look at last year’s holiday analytics, to learn what you need to prepare. You can start by asking yourself these questions:

How many orders are you expecting?
How many employees are currently in your support team?
How much inventory do you currently have in stock?
What kind of issues did you encounter last year and how did you overcome them?

Understand what people want to buy – If you have a keen understanding of what people want to buy in advance, this allows you to design and craft a campaign tailored specifically for them. The thing is, most people don’t need much convincing when it comes to the things that they already want.

Read the news – Be updated with the news, as well as with what people talk about the most on social media.

Check out your competition – A smart way to check your competition is to see what the highest selling items on Amazon are.

Review of Google Trends – Google Trends is a great way to see if there is a downward and upward trend on certain items that you sell.

Check social media channels – Review popular holiday hashtags such as #BlackFridaySale or #ChristmasGiftIdeas

Review your Analytics – By setting your eCommerce Analytics right and turning on your tracking and goal conversion, you’ll be able to get valuable data on your product performance.

Check your reviews – Start to review your category pages, to find out which products have the best reviews. Think about what people want, and how can you deliver.

Create your pre-launch campaign

holiday social networks

By creating your pre-launch campaign, you let your followers and readers know in advance what’s coming to keep them on their toes. This way, they can expect and score great deals on your website on your target date.

Ready your product photos – The most basic pre-launch activity that eCommerce owners miss is making sure that every product photo is ready. According to this product photography guide, e-commerce store visitors are first engaged by visual elements, which makes them more likely to explore the website and see and buy products that the store is offering.

Decorate your store for the holidays – One of the best ways to drive in traffic and boost your sales is to redesign your online store with a theme that fits perfectly for the holidays. For instance, if you want people to think about shopping and buying presents for their loved ones, you have to make them feel that the holidays are fast approaching. For that extra holiday cheer, go with the colors that are fitting for the holidays ‒ such as red, white and green with an engaging call to action.

Collect your visitor’s information – Sometimes, even if you advertise the best deals and discounts of the season, it’s still not enough to reach your target. More often than not, it’s relatively easy for people to forget what they’ve previously seen. That’s why it helps to remind them. Try getting email addresses in advance, so that when the time is right, you can market effectively.

Have a social media strategy in place – social media is what it sounds like ‒ being social. So it’s vital not to forget to engage to your audience on social media this holiday season. A helpful tip is to pin the most important post that you have (together with the special deals) so that when people visit your page, it’s the first thing that they will come across.

Don’t forget the special offers

holiday deals

After you’re done with your pre-launch campaign, then it’s time to think about what you’re going to offer your customers. Potential buyers want add-on services ‒ something that significantly saves them time, and increases the overall value of their purchase.

Discounts – Holidays are all about hunting down the best deals. People want to spend money, and yet they want to look for the best bargains. To stay ahead of the game, you need to give better offers than the rest of your competitors.

Bundles – Bundles are more attractive than discounted products because two or more products are bundled together at a better price.

Free shipping and returns – Another great way to encourage purchases is free shipping. For instance, you can offer free shipping with your products during the days leading up to Christmas.

Gift cards – Cards are also a great way to boost sales. Other people prefer to give out gift cards so that they don’t give the receiver a gift that they don’t want. Chances are, customers end up spending more than the actual value of the gift card.

Free packaging – A lot of people buy products as presents. They’re thinking about how they can package it in the form of a gift. By adding free packaging, not only will it make your customers’ lives easier, they’ll be more compelled to buy from you as they see it as a bonus to purchasing your products.

Faster Delivery – Most online shoppers will shop at the last minute. It’s either something they forgot to buy, or they missed out on a deal. Offering fast delivery is also a bonus, as buyers want to receive these products as soon as they can.

Think of revenue optimization strategies

You need to implement revenue focused strategies to deliver better results on your campaign to increase your conversion rates. Here are some:

Upsell – Upsell to people who are already more than willing to buy from you. If you price it right, people will purchase additional items from you.

Bulk and early discounts – People will always tend to buy more if they pay less. You can also offer exclusive discounts to people that buy early.

Live chat customer support – Another important detail that most customers consider is the assurance that there is excellent customer support that’s willing to help them out with their needs, and other issues that they might encounter.

Send e-mail reminders – Many visitors add items to their online cart, only not to go through with the entire purchase process. While there are a variety of reasons why people don’t finish their purchase, a great way to re-engage them is through email reminders (about the products that they’re interested in, or want to buy.)

In Summary

Don’t wait up until the last minute to put these strategies in place. Preparing ahead of time will ensure that you maintain your smooth operations, and provide customer satisfaction. As a result, it will help you achieve a more successful holiday sales season.