What they should tell you is that it's the most IMPORTANT time of the year if you happen to be in the e-commerce game. 

The holiday season is of course the most profitable time of the year for online business. The 4th quarter almost always brings a hefty increase in average order size, along with an increase in overall orders period. Some retailers make up to 40% of their yearly revenue in this quarter alone. 

So, not only does this time of year represent the biggest shopping season, it also gives you huge opportunities to attract new and, if you play it right, repeat customers, you’ll also be able to reach a wide array of customers you otherwise might not during the rest of the year. 

So here’s our top 5 tips on how to get ready for the holiday season, just in time for you to deck the halls with ad spend and promos. 

Tip #1: Prepare to Prepare for the Preparation of the Season!

It’s hard to prepare if you don’t know what you’re preparing for! The holiday season is a several-month long process that includes those who want to get their shopping in before the crowds to the last-minute shoppers who only wake up a few hours before the milk and cookies. The holiday season should realistically start for you at the end of August. Once Back To School is over, the focus shifts to the holidays beginning with Halloween. You should be thinking about your strategies and goals for the holiday along with those goals you have for Halloween. Focus early on growing email lists, followers, etc. so that you have them ready to receive your campaigns once you’re ready to deploy them. This will ensure you’re reaching a larger audience once the holiday season rolls around. Your biggest focus will of course be Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas. You’ll see the largest sales generated around these holidays, and many ecommerce sites report that they earn more in this season than they do the entire rest of the year combined. But there are other holidays you need to consider. Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah need to be on your radar as well depending on your demographics and what you’re selling. You won't be able to cater to everyone, but if you can reach more target audiences, you'll increase your sales exponentially. Time to get out your notepad and check your list. Twice.


Tip #2: New Phone, Who Dis?

Ready for some data you already knew, but didn't know you knew? Online shoppers are using mobile devices to complete their orders a whopping 68% of the time. That should give you all the info you need to know who and how to target your ideal customers. Today, people want to be able to make purchases quickly and easily from their mobile devices, with as much ease and as positive a UX experience as possible. Making sure your ecommerce store can accommodate this is crucial to meeting and exceeding your goals this holiday season. First off, you need to update your payment processors, you really don't want any issues once you get a customer that close to converting, do you?  Although we just said this above, it bears repeating; 👏”Make sure your design and UX is mobile friendly, and keep your product pages easy to scroll through.” 👏 And if by any chance your site is not mobile-ready, be prepared to receive some coal in your stocking. 

Tip #3: Do It For The ‘Gram

I mean let’s be real. Basically everyone is on at least one platform of social media. In fact the average American spends almost 3 hours per day on some sort of social media, so if you want customers to notice your brand, you need to hang around where they do. Make sure you are advertising on social media platforms, specifically where your customer base hangs out most. Use ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, or other platforms to grow sales, get customer-generated content, and target your clients where they’re hanging out all the time anyway. You cannot leave selling on social media off of your holiday strategy. 79% of retailers who sell online also sell on at least one social channel, and data shows that an unbelievable 98% of consumers planned on or made a purchase on social media in 2022. Connecting your social channels to your online store puts your products in front of more people, and the effect is compounded during the holiday shopping season. Shoppable Instagram posts and including product links in Tiktok videos will boost holiday sales, and shoppers can go straight from their feed or videos right to your store. The key is to definitely use social media, but also to try to be creative this year and don’t just post your own products, try collaborating with someone and think about ways you can cross promote. Maybe you ask one of your most loyal customers to post a link in exchange for a discount. It’s always effective to have other people talk about your store so find multiple voices. So go ahead, get on Tiktok and show them your best “griddy.” On second thought, maybe don't do that. Lolzzz…

Tip #4: Everyone’s a Critic

Some of the most powerful ads are positive customer reviews. Before your customers become your customers, they are absolutely rummaging through your reviews. In fact, almost 60% of consumers base their purchase decisions on what other purchasers have to say about your product, and consumers also trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a loved one. Crazy, right? The fact is that your customers want to see reviews of your products to help them make a decision, and not just one. They want to see them all. This means the more reviews you can offer, the better. Besides helping to drive sales, reviews can help build your store’s reputation and even help with SEO efforts. When a customer reviews your product, they often use keywords and product names that boost your site’s SEO and can help your site appear in search. The simplest way to start gathering reviews is by asking customers to leave them and making it easy for them to do so. Incorporating an ask for a review into your email marketing flows is crucial to generating more positive reviews for your products. Offer a chance to leave a review after they checkout and even incentivize customers with a discount code if they leave a review. So go ahead and ask! The most they can do is say your product is garbage, right? Right!?

Tip #5: Don’t Be Like John Cena. They Have To See You!

There are a few simple SEO tactics that can increase the number of online visitors to your eCommerce site, and make your site more visible. Optimizing items, categories, and photos will make your site more visible to users, so shoppers can discover your products on Google Search, Shopping, and Images to help boost sales. Your preparations and marketing efforts should encourage your customers to come back, even after the holidays are over. But if that’s not enough, you could always start a loyalty program. Customers who were enrolled in some sort of rewards program were twice as likely to be repeat customers and spent almost 40% more than customers who weren’t in a loyalty program. The more you can do to personalize the shopping experience can make it easier for returning customers to reorder items or to check out faster. You can add personalized recommendations to your site so returning customers get unique product recommendations based on their order history. Other than SEO, marketing emails are an amazing way to drive traffic to your eCommerce store, and if we have read tip #1 and planned in advance, they can be a great tactic for keeping your business top of mind for customers during the holiday season. Craft a holiday email strategy in September that’s catered toward customer spending habits or promotes certain products and discounts. In addition to a planned email strategy, creating some holiday specific abandoned cart emails can help re-engage customers and encourage them to complete their purchase.

SUPER AWESOME BONUS TIP (You’re Welcome): Drop It Like It’s Hot!

Dropping a new product or a limited time sale will help create some brand awareness and shopper excitement around the holiday season. Product drops and limited time discounts are timely and, dare I say, limited, so they’ll boost interest in your products while helping you move specific inventory. Customizable codes that can be redeemed at your store can help market your promotions and limited-time events, and can be useful tools for raising your brand awareness on social channels, capturing new leads, and rewarding your loyal customers. You probably need to offer free shipping as well. Most other online stores are offering free shipping, so shoppers are less willing to pay shipping costs during the holidays because they can simply go somewhere else and get the same or similar products without the shipping fees. For this last part, we need to go back to tip #1. Don’t wait until the last minute to start advertising your holiday product promotions or product drops and bombard your customers with a ton of emails at once. Create and stick to a calendar with a specific strategy in mind. Just know that your customers are getting hit with everyone’s holiday campaigns, so try sending something unique to catch customers’ attention. Step up your game around the holidays so you can offer the best experience for your customers, and you can ensure they will keep coming back, even once the menorah is back in the attic for another year. Happy Holidays or whatever you're into from Porters.io.