4 Key Behind-The-Scenes Things To Prep Before Holiday Season


Revel Blog | Jake Rheude | October 12, 2022 |

Featured retail shopping

This year’s holiday season is approaching. Despite the gloomy global economy, retailers are preparing to make the most of the opportunity.

Now is the time to start planning your holiday sales. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers have been aiming to spread out their shopping budget and avoid last-minute purchases — which is why the shopping season has migrated to an earlier period during the last decade. With more deals happening sooner, and expedited shipping pricing going up, it’s time to get started.

Source: https://infogram.com/1pr9rxyp2yxppjcgv0e1ydq7g9cmvnwe23q

The holiday season often is the most profitable time of the year for online businesses, and it can help you reach and engage with new customers. Considering the season’s benefits, it’s never too early to start preparing for holiday sales.

Holiday season sales can increase your bottom line significantly. What better way to end your year?

But to realize these benefits, you need to plan.

It’s not just about massive discounts and flash sales. Here are five things you can do behind the scenes to prepare for the holiday season.

1. Get your website ready


In 2022, global retail eCommerce sales are estimated to reach $5.5 trillion — compared to $4.9 trillion in 2021.

Unless you’re looking to miss out on this opportunity, get your online store ready to handle the orders that will come through it. During this period, there’s an increase in website visitors and an eagerness to buy.

As much as you’d love to see traffic, too much of it can be stressful if you’re not well prepared. You don’t want your customers abandoning their carts or bouncing off your site because it’s too slow or has broken links.

Here are valuable tips for improving your website to avoid stress and take advantage of the increased traffic.

 

  • Get your pages ready ahead of time
  • Optimize your website for mobile browsing
  • Redirect until your sale launches
  • Test banners and coupons for deals
  • Address 404 errors, broken links, and any 301 redirects you don’t want

2. Refresh existing content and pages


Refresh your existing content and pages to turn them into evergreen items. Instead of letting them die and creating new ones, refreshing content updates your existing content, increasing traffic to your site.

Don’t forget to refresh your product pages too. Got a new item available in different colors? Make sure the item description captures that. Use high-quality product photos, and make product copies informative and engaging.

Since content decays slowly and you might not notice, review your search engine results page (SERP) performance and sales data to see what worked and where you should improve. If you see decreases in traffic, rankings, and conversions, ensure you update appropriately.

For sales, check your sales performance during previous holiday seasons. Which products performed the best? Why did they perform so well? Did they have detailed descriptions and excellent product photos? 

 3. Sort out any warehousing and fulfillment issues


The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns led to a 19% increase in online retail sales in 2020. While it’s a welcome fortune, it also led to unforeseen challenges for retailers.

This year, fuel prices and freight rates have risen to historically high rates, resulting in increased operational costs and reduced demand. These were met with high customer expectations, and warehousing and fulfillment challenges that online retailers are experiencing.

Address warehouse and stock issues early, so they don’t affect your orders. And when your orders start coming in (in large numbers), how will you process payments efficiently and seamlessly? Do you have an effective point of sale (POS) system in place? If not, get one.

Check your return and refund policies

See if your return and refund policies still make sense or need to be updated, especially if you’re having issues with fulfillment times. Ensure you have a time frame to avoid people returning products or demanding refunds months after purchasing.

Reach out to your carriers or 3PL

If you haven’t talked to your order fulfillment partner in months, now is the best time to get connected. Armed with sales estimates, find out how much volume they can allocate to you during the peak season.

Let them know the sales volume you expect so that you can plan in advance. If you need more volume or additional services like inventory management and balancing, find a valuable third-party logistics (3PL) service provider and start building relationships now.

Verify that you have enough product

You have boosted your marketing campaigns and ensured the warehouse and 3PL partners are ready to handle your orders — but have you verified that you have enough product and other essentials?

Running out of products mid-season is frustrating, and you might lose customers. Ensure you have enough inventory to fulfill your orders — including items of different variants like color and size. Also, ensure other necessities such as packing materials to handle your influx.

Reliable inventory management software can make your work easier by automating these processes. You’ll also save time and reduce manual errors.

4. Optimize your site’s SEO and ads


When refreshing your content, ensure your SEO is on-point and create high-converting ads. You want to improve traffic to your site and sales by making sure your site’s content and ads rank for relevant keywords.

To improve your SEO and paid ads performance, you should:

 

  • Review keywords from past years and current trends. Use keyword research and optimization tools to determine whether your keywords are still relevant. If not, update them.
  • Adjust your on-page SEO to match these elements.
  • Ensure your ads are targeting the most relevant, current keywords.

Do a walkthrough

If you start now, you still have time to prepare, implement, and test all this before purchase requests start to come in. After you’ve completed the preparation, do a test run through the entire sales process.

Test your ads, website experience, and order placement, and conduct test shipments. See where you’ve got issues and build a specific game plan to minimize or eliminate them. Remember, customers have high expectations, and you also need to meet your revenue goals.

Start preparations early to meet them, and build strong, lasting relationships with your new and existing customers.

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Jake Rheude is the Vice President of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.