In 2018, holiday retail sales generated more than $1 trillion in revenue for the first time ever. It is not uncommon for holiday sales to generate more than 30% of annual revenue for many retail businesses.
Ecommerce sales in 2018 accounted for $126 billion in sales, with $7.9 billion of that being generated just on Cyber Monday alone.
There is no doubt that the holidays are an important time for all retailers, both online and traditional but the competition during that time is also fierce.
While the holidays are primed for retail sales, it is not a guarantee that your eCommerce business will automatically get a good share of the spoils.
Here are three ways to boost your eCommerce sales this holiday season.
1. Start Early and Do Your Research
Some retailers start planning their holiday campaigns as early as January or February.
Every holiday is something of a gamble for retailers. They have to understand the market and even more importantly, predict which items are likely to be the hottest sellers or most in demand.
In some cases, retailers may even start creating buzz around certain products earlier in the year that they can then capitalize on over the holidays.
As in all businesses, if you overestimate demand, you could end up with excess inventory that you may even have to sell at a loss.
On the other hand, if you underestimate demand, you could lose out on vital sales that could carry you through the rest of the year.
Showing a healthy profit over the holiday season requires careful planning long before the season sets in.
An inventory management system can not only help you manage your inventory over the holidays but also provide you the data and analytics you need to determine just how much inventory you might need over the holidays.
Make sure you put in the time to determine just how much of any item you will need to have in stock and to ensure you don’t overstock too much product.
If you run out during the holiday season, don’t count on being able to get new shipments before the holidays are over.
2. Plan Multiple Campaigns
Your best customers over the holidays are likely to be your most loyal current customers, but it is also not a good idea to overlook the potential for gaining new clients and customers.
Your current customers will most likely have different tastes and interests and enjoy different products that make them a loyal customer so you will want to plan a few different campaigns even for your current clients.
The goal is to offer good sales on your most popular products while also offering enticing incentives to try new products or expand their horizons into different products or services.
This doesn’t just happen by accident, but takes careful planning and strategizing.
Remember that everyone’s inbox is going to be filled with promotions from the competition, so you want to strategize carefully to make your promotions and promotional material stand out from the crowd.
Don’t forget that Cyber Monday is to eCommerce what Black Friday is to brick-and-mortar retailers so even if you don’t do anything else, you want to be sure and have a special plan in place for Cyber Monday.
3. Improve Delivery and Have a Good Customer Care
Coming up with a killer campaign to sell all of your best products doesn’t do you a whole lot of good if you don’t have a good system in place for managing inventory and getting your product swiftly into the hands of your consumer.
Remember that not only is competition fierce to sell products in the first place, but delivery services are also running 24/7 to get everyone else’s products into consumer’s hands as well.
If you significantly increase your holiday sales through good campaigns and strategies, it could actually cost you a significant business in the end by not getting the goods in their hands in time.
A sale doesn’t end when a customer places an order but when they receive a satisfactory product and service.
You also have to have a plan in place for dealing with any issues after the sale has been made.
Many of your customers will wait until the last minute to do their shopping in the first place but will still want to give the right gift, product or service on the right day.
The faster they can return something and get a replacement, the better.
Make sure you have a good customer care plan in place to help them have the best experience possible with your eCommerce business from end to end.
Technology has made it easier than ever for even the smallest businesses to compete with corporate giants.
From social media management tools, inventory management, and online chatbots, there are plenty of tools available to help you have one of the best and most lucrative holiday seasons ever.
The big caveat to this, of course, is that you can’t wait until the last minute and then expect a huge windfall to occur.
If you didn’t manage to make a comprehensive plan for holiday sales this year, it’s not too late (or too early) to start planning for next year.