What is E-commerce?
E-commerce, or Electric commerce, is the process of buying and selling products through the internet.
Since the start of COVID-19, U.S. consumers have been shopping more frequently online. U.S. consumers spent $2.2 billion on Nov. 2, the day before the U.S. presidential election, a 31% year-over-year increase. And they spent $2.0 billion on Nov. 3, Election Day, which was a 27% jump year over year, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Experts are predicting this trend will continue and that online businesses will see a very heavy online shopping presence for the holiday season. What does this mean for your business? It means that e-commerce is booming. You need to be able to sell your products and take payments through an online marketplace to prepare for the upcoming Holiday season.
What is E-commerce? E-commerce, or Electric commerce, is the process of buying and selling products through the internet. There are a few ways to set up an online store, but the easiest way is through the WordPress plug-in, WooCommerce. WooCommerce is now known for powering 8% of all ecommerce websites. It has gained its popularity because it is free to set up, most themes in WordPress are made to work with WooCommerce and it allows unlimited products and visitors. This means you’re essentially able to sell anything you want through WooCommerce, from physical products to online services, all through one platform.
Here are my top tips and tricks to prepare your business for the holidays
Once you have your e-commerce platform set-up, it’s time to optimize your site to make the most out of the upcoming holiday season. Here are my top tips and tricks to prepare your business for the holidays:
Visit your Website
The very first thing you should do is to make sure everything is live and working properly on your website. This includes checking every page, every link and making sure your content is still timely to your customers. For your products, you want to make sure the pictures are loading, descriptions are available and prices are reflected appropriately. While this is a task that should be done every few months, it’s especially important around the holidays. Potential customers want a website that is easy to navigate, so broken links and wrong content will drive them away.
Have your Holiday Promotions and Specials Ready
So many major retail holidays are right around the corner. You want to make sure you are set-up before customers start to shop for the Holiday season.
Are you offering any special deals to customers who shop on certain days? Are you releasing any special products? Do you plan to offer free shipping after a certain amount of product is purchased or offer a discount code to frequent customers? These questions can be used as strategies to maximize your sales during the holiday season.
Update your holiday hours and delivery times
Most customers will check online for the most updated information concerning hours and delivery times. Make sure to update your business hours through Google and on your website. You want to make sure if you have changed hours or plan to close on the holidays that your customers are aware. An easy way to showcase new hours could be through a pop-up display when a customer opens your website.
Delivery times are a common concern for customers. What is the latest date they can order from your shop and have a delivered product before the holidays?
Quick breakdown of ship by dates: For USPS, they suggest getting all retail ground shipments in by Tuesday, December 15th. For USPS Priority mail, you have until Wednesday, December 23rd. If you use UPS, ground shipping needs to be in by December 15th, and USPS Next Day Air shipping needs to be in by December 23rd. FedEx has a wider range of services with similar dates. Their suggested ground shipping date is by Wednesday, December 9th.
By having multiple shipping options available, you can maximize your holiday sales. If you’re still having trouble figuring out what dates you should offer, check directly with your preferred shipping source for updated information and pricing.
Prep your inventory
The worst thing that you could do is to not prepare for a rush of sales during this season. Statistically, most customers will place orders around Black Friday and the week before Christmas.
It’s important to have extra of your most in-demand products on hand. If you have statistics from last year’s sales, check to see what sold out immediately and what dates were most popular for shopping. Finding trends for your specific business will give you a good base to complete your ordering for this holiday season.
Build a Gift Section
Building a gift section of your website is an easy way to help match customers to products they’re looking for. You can do this by creating sections of your websites with tags such as “Gifts for him”, “Gifts for her”, “Gifts for Mom”, “Unique Holiday Gifts”.
This takes the guesswork out of shopping for your customers and highlights how your products/services can fit for different types of people. Adding Bundles to your gift section is another simple way to maximize sales. How do you create a bundle?
First, look through products to find similar things that can go together. Then create a bundle (or box of products) that your customers can purchase with one click, instead of having to buy everything separately. For example, let’s say you are in the coffee business. You could bundle a bag of coffee, a mug, and a French press together for a “Coffee Lovers” bundle. Not only is this selling more product at once, but you’ve created more value for the customer. Selling bundles are a great way to sell more of a product that maybe isn’t your best seller to make sure you’re moving inventory.
Don’t Focus on one Holiday
Most companies cater to the Christmas season because it is the most popular holiday in the United States. However, there are many cultures and customers you could be attracting by also including selections for other holidays such as Kwanzaa or Hanukkah. By offering bundles or specials aimed to these customers, you increase the reach your business can have.
Hire Extra Support as Needed
You can hire freelancers or part-time contract work through online services such as Fiverr or Upwork.
If the holidays are super busy for your business, consider hiring extra support. You can hire freelancers or contract work through online services such as Fiverr or Upwork. Part-time workers can help you by answering customer inquiries, filling orders, interacting on social media and staying in touch with customers. Extra hands can help you make sure that every order lives up to your expectations.
Plan for New Years
Although the holiday season is important, don’t forget to create your New Year’s strategy. You should be ready to roll out your specials as soon as Christmas is over. New Year’s is often associated with resolution setting for the upcoming year, so it’s a great time to position your services to fulfill those goals. You can double down by creating special deals and discounts for unsold Christmas stock to make way for future inventor.