The Musictoday team is feverishly working with our clients to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. I reached out to some of my colleagues to find out what their recommendations are to prepare for a successful Q4. These e-commerce holiday prep tips will help you maximize store revenue this holiday season.
Reward Top Customers
Del wood, CEO:
Del recommends identifying your top customers based on revenue or number of orders for the year and reward them with a special offer during the holiday period. It’s a well-known fact that it costs more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, so treat your existing customers well and provide incentives to encourage future purchases. Del goes on to advise that it’s important to identify your top selling categories and understand what customers desire going into the season.
Plan, Cross-train and Load Test
Joey Porterfield, Marketing Director:
This year Joey and team are focusing on early planning. He recommends getting started early when it comes to approvals on merchandise, promotions and supporting creative assets for your store. This will give you a structure for the holiday and allow you to react to new opportunities as they come up.
Use this time prior to the holiday season to cross-train employees. Employees will greatly benefit from the additional experience, and the organization will benefit from their additional knowledge. If you have a warehouse, call center, marketing team, or other group that will be at maximum capacity this holiday season, have people from other departments learn enough to be helpful if those departments need additional support.
Amazon experienced outages during Prime Day. If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone. Do load testing and page optimization before your organization’s code freeze for the year – then hold that freeze until your busiest time of year is over.
Plan Products Early and Check Stock Levels
Jay Jarvis, Buying Manager:
Starting product development early is one of Jay’s top tips for the holiday season. It’s important to outline development timelines as different products take different amounts of time to manufacture and bring to market.
Jay recommends performing an aging inventory analysis to prepare for Q4 markdown strategies. Think of special promotions you can run prior to November to clear stock. In addition, proactively manage inbound inventory to meet internal deadlines and shipping cutoffs.
Early Inventory to Meet Delivery Deadlines
Mitchell green, Client Services Account Manager:
Like Jay, Mitch’s main concern is ensuring inventory is in stock to ship in time for Christmas delivery. He recommends that inventory is received here at Musictoday no later than December 1 to avoid risking late delivery to customers.
Build Customer Lists and Retarget Visitors
Kaylah Rodriguez, Social Media Specialist:
To boost your email and social targeting lists prior to the holiday season, Kaylah recommends running giveaways and sweepstakes in summer and early fall.
Running dynamic retargeting on social platforms during peak holiday will ensure you recapture the attention of store visitors and convert as many as possible.
She also advises to plan any creative assets and offers well in advance. This will allow you to maximize the effectiveness of holiday promotions and stand out (do you need new lifestyle photography, video, animated gifs, etc?).
Clear Creative Messaging
Chad Bassett, Visual Designer:
Keeping sales and promotions simple for customers to understand is important. Chad recommends that marketing messaging is clear and easy to understand. Less clutter will also maximize the impact of the creative assets.
Plan Creative and Use Calendars
Shadiah Garwell, Senior Visual Designer:
Shadiah recommends preparing branded templates and elements in advance. Calendar planning also helps so the teams creating your campaign assets know what’s coming and can approach creative more thoughtfully.
Gift Guides Live by November 1st
Jasmine Van Schaick, Senior Marketing Specialist:
Gift guides should be live by November 1, so start planning now if you haven’t already (there’s still time!). If you don’t have an existing gift guide landing page, start building it out and ensure creative is prepared for the upcoming season.
When it comes to assortment planning, populate the gift guide with your existing best-selling products and any unique, holiday specific items (check the stock levels!). Create categories like price points “gifts under $50”, gender or age “gifts for her” or “gifts for kids”, or even interests like “gifts for gamers”. Not only do these help the consumer navigation experience, but these terms are great for organic search. The gift guide assortment can be updated throughout the season, so don’t hold off on planning. And, don’t forget to give some love to your store’s eGift cards!
Gift guide landing pages will come in handy as they can be used across all of your marketing channels like email, social, paid search, affiliate and more. Plus, gifts aren’t just for Christmas! Think about holidays and other gift-giving events held throughout the year and keep your gift guide active year-round. This will help your site avoid losing authority on any gifting search terms. Simply strip out the seasonal elements and reap the SEO benefits.
Looking for more e-commerce holiday ideas? Check out these 10 e-commerce holiday prep tips from last year.
About the Author: Jasmine Van Schaick is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Musictoday. She manages projects across affiliate marketing, display remarketing, organic SEO, corporate content development and more.