Tips for getting your store ready for the holidays


christmas_sackThe most active season of the year for shopping is by far the year-end holiday season.  According to eMarketer research, e-commerce sales in 2015 will hit $350B in sales, a 14% increase over 2014.  In the UK, projections are that e-commerce sales will reach £60b.  Those are seriously big numbers, and IncomeShops store owners are in a terrific position to exploit it.

 According to Yory Wurmser, an analyst at eMarketer, “Consumers’ increase in comfort in shopping online, and in particular shopping on mobile, led to an extraordinary holiday shopping season [in 2014] on digital channels and created a headwind for strong e-commerce growth overall in 2015.”(1)  Keep mind also, that not only are growth prospects for 2015 good, but the season’s actually started already.  According to google, they start receiving queries for Christmas shopping in as early as August!

So how do you plan to take advantage of the increased spending that typically comes with the holiday season?  If you don’t have a game plan, don’t wait one second longer; get one ready now!  We’ve put some ideas together below, but get creative, think “outside-the-box”.  Remember, the key to your success is going to be dependent on a) traffic b) providing value and c) giving people a reason to shop with you again.  So here are some tips for getting your store ready for the holidays:

  1. Put together a promotional strategy – virtually every retailer on the planet will have holiday specials that you’ll be getting in your inbox on a daily basis.  Do you know what to look for?  Do you have a good idea of what trends are popular and which kinds of products will resonate?  Have you told all your friends and family to buy from you FIRST before shopping anywhere else online?  Do you have your Facebook page up-to-date and ready for the holiday season?  Or are you just hoping people will remember to shop with you?  Are you planning to do your own holiday shopping online? From your own store?
     
  2. Identify your promotional focal points – Okay, so we know that loads of promotions from your retailers are going to hit your inbox.  That’s a given.  One thing to be careful with is making sure you do a bit of investigation on each promotion.  Don’t just blast every promo that comes along out to your newsletter or twitter followers or Facebook friends.  Try to do a bit of investigation.  Find out what products are really great deals and add that bit of value to the mix – people will appreciate it.  Don’t apologise for asking people for their business either. 
     
  3. Get your store ready for the season – is your store really ready for the holidays?  How do you plan to get it ready and when do you plan to get started?  In the US, the traditional time to get stores ready for the holiday shopping season is after Halloween, however, do you have a signup sheet on your site encouraging your visitors to sign up for deals and alerts?  And what of your banners?  Are you seriously going to let the holiday season arrive and have your store looking like it’s promoting summer specials?  We hope not.  Get the right kinds of products in your store, the right kinds of promotions, and the right look!!  If you need help, check out our design & marketing services or email our friendly sales team at salessupport@incomeshops.com with ideas and assistance.
     
  4. Know your holidays – you did know that the “holiday season” is more than just Christmas right?  In the US, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all have large followings.  It may be a good idea to know a bit more about the gift giving tradition behind each of these wonderful holiday celebrations.

  5. Go social – there are worst things that you can do than spending your time promoting your store on social media.  Make sure you do frequent updates to your Facebook and Google+ pages and spend time being selective about tweeting.  Twitter is a FANTASTIC way to promote specials in your store.  Be clever and respectful.  And always be rabid about adding value.  If you know something about a product from personal experience – include it in the tweet.

  6. Make sure your blog has a holiday theme – don’t tell me you’re not blogging.  I said – “don’t’ tell me you’re not blogging!”  Blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog!!!  And then blog some more.  Don’t blog junk though.  Make sure you’re writing stories that people will get value from.  Make sure your articles appeal to the audience your trying to reach.  And last but not least – be consistent.  Keep to a schedule.  For the holidays, have a theme – e.g. “The twelve products of Christmas”, or “Hannukah Happy”, or “Kwanzaa Krazee” – be clever, be glib, but always be respectful.  Ask yourself – what in my store is really a great product, then write about it, then tell everyone you know your wrote about it, then ask them to tell their friends as well.

So there you go.  That’s a pretty good start.  If you can get all of that done you’ll be in great shape for the holiday season.  But you’d better start now!  And remember, if you’re looking for helpful ideas or tips, don’t be afraid to reach out to us at salessupport@incomeshops.com.  We’ll help however we can.

(1)    http://www.pymnts.com/news/2015/e-commerce-sales-projected-to-grow-14-percent/