Christmas in August

The FitForCommerce elves are already helping clients plan for this year’s holiday season. Have you made your list?

For most retailers, the weeks leading up to the holidays are the most important time of year. In 2019, even more could be at stake: eMarketer is projecting that holiday shopping could top $1T (trillion!) for the first time!

For many of you, holiday sales make up a great share of your total business. In some cases, we’ve seen the holidays contribute as much as 35%-38% of a retailer’s annual revenue. That’s a huge volume of sales to manage in a short period of time, and it requires strong and thoughtful preparation.

You should expect that holiday sales will continue to creep up earlier on the calendar. Merchants seeking to get an early read on consumer preferences will begin promoting deals right around Labor Day, when vacation zen is replaced by back-to-school and back-to-work urgency. Black Friday will again be Black November, encompassing the entire second half of the month.

Given the importance of the season and the shift to earlier shopping, the time to plan and prepare is NOW! We’ve outlined the main areas you and your team should focus on.  When in doubt, contact us so we can help you get ready for this holiday season. Whether you’d like to bounce around ideas, figure out your 2020 budget, or have us work as an extension of your team during this busy season, we’re here to help!

Visions of Sugar Plums Happy Customers [Customer Experience]

Consider these ideas when planning for a superior customer experience:

  • Optimize your checkout process
  • Offer product recommendations
  • Site search – did you know that customers who utilize site search convert at 5x to 6x higher? Here’s a webinar we did recently on this topic.

Omnichannel alignment:

For omnichannel retailers, customer touchpoints extend well beyond digital. Make sure that you align stores and all digital channels on pricing, promotions, and inventory.

  • A single source of truth for store, web (and marketplaces), and all selling channels. Check out our latest whitepaper on Unified Commerce Platform.
Making a Santa’s Wish List for Success [Marketing]

Plan ahead and create your holiday promotions and communications calendar. Make sure all team members have visibility into your integrated marketing campaigns.

  • Evaluate your Q4 budget and plan early in the second half.
  • Review last year’s key learnings and opportunities. Analyze keywords that drove success last year.
  • Build your email strategy and segmentation plan. Analyze LY email campaigns to understand the keys to success/ failure. Check out the best practices checklist on Email Marketing and so much more.
  • Align with stores on promotional cadence and planning on key items. Plan out homepage and category banners to align with marketing messages.
  • Triggered emails for abandoned cart should be reviewed and optimized.
  • And don’t forget to prioritize your to-do list!
Setting a Holiday Feast [Merchandising]

Entice your customers with your products and offers. Plan and prioritize new landing pages and category pages.

  • Homepage hero images
  • New holiday landing pages
  • Gift guides
  • Dedicated landing pages (e.g., Stocking Stuffers)
  • Review site navigation and filters (e.g., Gifts under $25)
  • Plan inventory needs and align with your promotional calendar
  • Test, test, test!!
Dressing Up (your site) for the Holidays [Content]

Consider adding expanded content to inspire and keep customers coming back through the season.

Create new pages and blogs to inspire and drive up SEO and keep an eye on your social channel metrics with the goal of optimizing the content you post.

  • Blog posts
  • Eye-catching social posts
  • Sneak-peek pages
  • Holiday trends
  • New arrivals

Oldie, but goodie… webinar on Extending Holiday Shopping with Immersive Content Experiences.

Making Sure the Grinch Doesn’t Come Out [Technology]

Is your Technology tuned up and ready for peak?

There’s nothing more frustrating for your customers than dealing with a slow site (or even worse, down site) especially during the busy season.

Your preparation for peak should include:

  • Load Impact and peak projections
  • Mobile
    • Your mobile site needs to be SEO-friendly and have a great UX for the customer (and be just as fast as desktop). Remember, you will have a greater number of buyers checking prices in store and a greater number of buyers when they return to their desks and homes especially on Cyber Monday. Have you deployed mobile and desktop cart best practices?
  • Image management (one of the biggest factors in slowing a site)

Naughty or Nice [Operations]

Review all of your service levels with your internal teams and align on the holiday standard. Determine how you will communicate shipping thresholds, shipping options, and cutoffs in the cart and on the site.

Establish reporting and monitoring for both Operational and Customer Service SLA’s – capture every possible sale to surprise and delight your customers and keep them coming back.

Make Your List and Check itDaily! [Measuring Success]

Review your dashboards now to ensure that the Key Performance indicators for a successful holiday season are well laid out and visible to all team members. Ensure that key benchmarks are reviewed daily as one day at peak can have a significant impact. Are you ready and set up with reports and alerts?

  • Mobile and desktop conversion
  • Mobile and desktop traffic
  • Total visits
  • Visits by source
  • Top products
  • Bounce rate
  • Top product pages
  • Negative search

Wishing you a successful 2019 holiday season!

And remember, we’re here if you need us.FitForCommerce