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How To Prepare Your Online Business For the Holiday Shopping Season

how-to-prepare-online-business-for-holiday-shopping-season

Statistics, Important Dates & Tips To Prepare Your Online Business For The Holiday Shopping Season

By: Bailey Holtz

For anyone who has not yet gone through the holiday shopping season with their new online business yet, you are in for a treat! This is the time of the year when most businesses experience a boom in consumer activity that is a holiday gift unto itself. That’s why here at Pure-Ecommerce we’ve compiled some great information about the holiday shopping season for you below. You can use this information to work hard now to prepare for those eager customers!

You, as the business owner, need to be savvy and prepared, so you can take maximum advantage of the season. Customers are more eager to buy during the holidays, however, you can’t just sit back and wait for them to flock to you. You have to make a plan and prepare. We encourage you to peruse our findings and our advice, and you’ll soon find yourself riding the holiday spending wave like a true professional!

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Holiday Spending: It’s Real and It’s Big

As consumers ourselves, we are familiar with the trappings of the holiday shopping season. You see stores putting out merchandise earlier and earlier each you. Plus, you’re receiving far more marketing and promotional emails in your inbox. We are bombarded with holiday-themed advertisements everywhere we look. 

But that’s all just observation. As an online business owner, we understand you need cold, hard numbers. The National Retail Federation has compiled some compelling stats about the holiday spending season, which we would like to share with you. 

According to the Federation, holiday sales represent about 20% of annual retail sales each year. That number can be even higher for certain retailers, including game, hobby, and toy retailers—up to 30%. The takeaway here is that the prepared business owner can make almost a third of their revenue during the holidays. 

The National Retail Federation further says that holiday sales will grow between 3.8 and 4.2 percent over sales in 2018. That’s a far greater number than the 2.1 percent growth we saw last year. If real numbers speak more to you than percent growth, then we’ll say this: last year, U.S. customers purchased nearly $1 trillion worth of merchandise during the holidays. That’s a whole lot of cash, and some of it is yours for the taking! 

Based on the Forrester’s Holiday 2019 retail series online retailers should “buckle up for a strong season”! As they are estimating in 2019 online holiday sales will reach $138 billion.  This represents a growth of 12.7% over online sales in 2018. 

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The Major Holidays

What businesses term “the holiday season” is actually a collection of several holidays, each with its own identity. You can capitalize on in your marketing and promotions during these various times of the year.

In November, you have Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. While in December, you have Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. 

These holidays are not in themselves big-spending days—it’s the days surrounding them, which are important. Here are a few of the days you as a business owner should prepare for:

  • Cyber Monday, December 2nd: This is the big one! Cyber Monday was “invented” in 2005 as a way to boost retail sales on the still-very-new internet. Since then, Cyber Monday has become a truly epic day of online sales, surpassing Black Friday in spending. In 2018, $7.9 billion was spent on Cyber Monday. This is a day that you, as an online business owner, should be preparing for right now. 
  • Green Monday, December 9th: This is a date about ten days before Christmas, and usually the last date by which the Postal Service can ship gifts in time to arrive for Christmas. Many people get their last-minute gift-getting done on this day, and businesses can cash in. This is typically considered to be “Cyber Monday 2,” because it is the second biggest day for online holiday shopping season. 
  • Super Saturday, December 22nd: This is the last Saturday before Christmas when many procrastinators will hit the stores. If you are an online business with a brick-and-mortar presence, you can take advantage of this day by offering Click-and-Collect, the option for consumers to purchase the product online and pick it up in-store. 
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Prepare Now For The Holiday Shopping Season

To take the best advantage of this wild spending season, start preparing now! Follow the below steps to ensure a lucrative and successful holiday shopping season.

1. Make a Plan

The first thing you must do is come up with a holiday plan. Get a calendar, note all the big holidays and all the important dates for businesses. Then decide which holidays you wish to participate in. 

Each new holiday involves fresh marketing material, fresh sales, and fresh content. The more holidays you participate in, the greater your revenue will be, but the more work you must do. Determine carefully what you can and cannot handle. If this is your first year doing holiday sales, it might be a good idea to limit yourself to only one or two. 

Definitely participate in Cyber Monday, as this is the key spending day, and then choose one other holiday, be it Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas, to anchor your other holiday sales and promotions. Or, if you want to get creative, check out this full list of all U.S. holidays, and pick something new! This might be an especially good idea if your business is somewhat niche.

2. Spruce Up Your Website

Updating your website is important year-round, but especially crucial during the holiday shopping season. Customers want to feel confident that they are buying from a real and active business, and the best way to convince them of that is to keep your web pages crisp and current.

You will also want to take this time to ensure your content is search engine optimized, for maximum visibility during this busy time of the year. This means modifying content so that it contains relevant keywords. 

According to Northcutt, it’s a good idea to choose keywords and -phrases that combine your product, the holiday, and the year. For instance, “Cyber Monday Dog Leashes 2019.” Place such key phrases strategically throughout your website and on your blog.  

If updating all the copy of your website and blog feels like an overwhelming task, then you can get in touch with us and we will be glad to assist you in developing fresh copy for your pages! We offer SEO Packages, which contain relevant keywords and compelling copy. Or you can check out the other ecommerce services we offer to enhance your business before the holidays!

3. Kick Your Marketing Into High Gear

Once your website is spick and span and ready to welcome those holiday customers, it’s time to start directing them to your site. Email marketing, according to Campaign Monitor, is one of the best ways to promote holiday sales. Emails are mobile-friendly, allowing customers to view your promotions on their phones. And, more importantly, they allow customers to make purchases directly through the email.

Customers needn’t fear clicking on an online ad and being directed to a completely different site; they can trust that the email comes from you. You also have the opportunity to personalize your emails and send out different ones to different segments of your consumer base. That’s a lot of power and control over one marketing channel.

Be sure to make heavy use of your social media channels, too, and not just to promote your products. It is important to create high-quality content to engage current and potential customers. Since consumers are being bombarded with sale phrasing like “Huge Holiday Sale” that they are no longer stopping in their tracks to shop.

Therefore, you need to think of more creative ways to capture their attention. It is important to create original, informative content. For example, write an intriguing blog post about how to use a particular product and why it’s great for them – it will be more likely to grab the interest. Also, creating a video to go along with the post on how to use the product will really help it stand out. So be thoughtful and creative in your advertising!  

RELATED POST: Blog and Email Marketing Tips to Help You Drive Customers to Your Internet Business

Navigating the holiday shopping season can be a little tricky. There are many businesses out there vying for the same piece of digital land as you. But if you plan ahead, are diligent about updating your website, and can craft some unique and engaging marketing content, then you are in a very good position to cash in on that big holiday spending, and make 2019 the best year yet for your business! 

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