Checkin’ It Twice: To-Do List Items for the Holidays

The holidays can be stressful for anyone, but for ecommerce store owners, they’re often even more hectic. Take the stress of holiday travel, gift shopping, and handling your crankiest relatives, and then add in an explosion of activity on your ecommerce store and now you’re looking at the reality that most consumer retailers face! It’s not uncommon for ecommerce shops to start planning for the holidays in June; but whether you’re a proactive planner or a high-pressure performer, double-checking your preparedness during these final lead-up weeks can bring you some peace of mind.

To help you out, we’ve made a holiday preparedness list for you. All you have to do is check it twice, adjust accordingly and get ready for a fantastic holiday season!

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Forecasting

  • I’ve looked at last year’s holiday sales and our annual growth rate and adjusted for any new sales or other variables, so that I can get a rough idea of what to expect this holiday season.
  • I’ve hired seasonal help to realistically meet the needs of my projections.
  • I have enough inventory! But I also have a logical plan for handling out-of-stock merchandise.
  • Any new SKUs are properly logged and managed for smooth inventory tracking.

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Sales and Promotions

  • I know what my sales and promotions are, and they are appropriate for my business and goals. Deals are good enough to get customers moving, but not extensive to the point of eating into long-term profit.
  • I have a plan for merchandising and marketing each promotion I run. This might include: custom hero graphics and other website merchandising; a heavier social or content marketing schedule; a larger ad budget for PPC, remarketing or social media ads; and an email newsletter campaign that gets current customers excited.
  • My launch plan is organized into a schedule, and includes specific to-do’s, deadlines, and responsible parties.
  • I’ve tested out any promo codes I’ll use along with any new/custom functionality I’ll need.
  • If needed, there’s a page on my site that explains the promotional terms and conditions. The page is easy to find and linked to from the Sale page or an appropriate promotional page.
  • **There’s a launch plan for the day before/during/after the sale that includes any extra staff needed for merchandising, customer service, testing, and to address any technical glitches. **
  • My plan has some flexibility built in just in case things hit a snag, and if possible, I’ve scheduled any major changes for my most low-traffic time of day.
  • When it comes to social posts and ads, I’ve scheduled and automated what I can ahead of time so there’s less to manage during the sale itself. I will, however, remember to check and respond to social media comments.

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Website

  • My website is responsive and all promotional materials, like banners, are optimized for mobile devices. I’ve double-checked the mobile usability by walking through the entire customer experience on a mobile device.
  • It takes the user a single click to get to the sale page.
  • There are incentives and opt-ins for newsletters so that new customers can keep coming back.
  • For any sale products, my product pages use beautiful images and my product descriptions sell with aplomb.
  • Google Analytics is properly tracking and Search Console is set up, so I can measure my results.
  • All of my “must-haves” like https, SSL security, and GDPS compliance are up to date. My website runs smoothly, I’ve made test purchases, and there’s nothing hindering load times.
  • I’ve provided clear, easy-to-find information on my website about expected turnaround and shipping times, including the last day my customers can order if they want to receive their purchase by a particular date.
  • My refund policy is up to date and easy to find.
  • **I’m ready to have fun, learn from my results, and celebrate my successes! **

How are you preparing for the holidays? Let us know in the comments!