5 steps to prepare your online store for the high season
The end of the year is a time of strong sales for fashion retailers. Here are the five steps you must follow to get ahead of the competition and close the year strong.
1. Prepare for incoming traffic
The first thing you need to do is make sure your inventory is well stocked. Nothing is worse for your business than a disappointed customer because that must-have gift they were looking for is out of stock. Now is the time to check with suppliers to ensure you’ll have everything you need, especially regarding the most popular gift items.
Improve your store’s loading speed and security so that it can take on the growing demand and remain stable. You can check with your e-commerce provider. Over the past eight years, BigCommerce has been able to boast 99.99% and even 100% availability during Cyber Week.
Check that your third-party integrations, such as payment solutions, are up to date and can handle the increased traffic. It’s best not to add any last-minute integrations to avoid potential technical issues.
2. Create a simple customer experience
Ensure your customer’s buying journey is as smooth and easy as possible. This is a perfect season to offer your customers personalized experiences that adapt to their needs. Still, both navigation and payment mustn’t involve too much effort.
Just as you did with speed and personalization, optimize your website’s search engine to help shoppers find what they need. The same search data you use for SEO can be useful for web searches. It is worth checking that the search results within the website show products that fit what the customer wants. Surely it will not go unnoticed.
3. Surprise and seduce with shipping options and logistics
Expand your sales channels to those where your customers are most likely to buy. You can connect to online marketplaces like Amazon or update your product catalog and tag items to sell on Facebook or Instagram.
Don’t let your online channels steal all the attention if you have a physical store. You must maintain continuity in online and offline channels. This could be a good time to buy online and pick up in-store options. It may be a good nod for those customers who prefer to avoid excess packaging.
4. Prepare a marketing and promotions strategy for Christmas
Marketing is often a long-distance race, so it pays to get ahead and go long before your customers start thinking about Christmas shopping. And when it comes to SEO, it’s especially important to plan well.
Adopt new promotion strategies that catch customers. You can offer gift cards to drive more sales at checkout, seasonal services like free shipping or gift-wrapping options, or limited-time offers to add a sense of urgency to the purchase.
Regardless of what you’ve invested in—paid search, emailing, content creation like blogs that show how to best use your products—make sure all options align with your strategy. This is a great way to keep your budget in check and show creativity.
5. Reinforce service and customer care
Now is the time to ensure your e-commerce platform has 24/7 global support, top-notch security features, and exceptional availability.
It would help if you also had a specialized support team to help your customers. It’s often very busy and sometimes even stressful, so be prepared to deal with any questions or concerns.
Make sure essential information like your return policy is easy to find on the web but also easy to contact by phone, email, or social media. Try to respond to all inquiries within 24-48 hours.
In general terms, you need to create an engaging customer experience and offer them a seamless journey to and after purchase, giving them a compelling reason to choose your store over the competition.
And don’t forget yourself in this process. Showing you are exceptional and passionate can always make a difference, no matter how busy you may be.
If you don’t sell online yet, it’s not too late to start or to switch platforms if the one you use doesn’t meet the above requirements.
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