The holiday season may seem a long way off considering you’re probably still sporting your Labor Day sunburn. However, for ecommerce retailers, the busy shopping season will come faster than you think. Is your holiday ecommerce strategy ready to go?
Many of the shoppers who visit your website during the holidays are likely to be first-time visitors. The customer service experience you provide will be the deciding factor in whether they become repeat customers or not. Here are X steps to getting your ecommerce site ready for the holidays:
- Create a calendar with important holiday ecommerce dates, such as Thanksgiving (a major online shopping day), Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and work backwards to create your to-do list. Don’t forget about the day after Christmas, which is another big shopping day.
- Plan how you will “decorate” your website for the holidays with holiday images, a special version of your logo or holiday music playing.
- Make sure your customer service policies are clearly understandable and up to date, and that they can easily be found from every page of the website. (Putting a link at the top of each page is a smart idea). Update your FAQs to cover recent questions and issues that have arisen.
- Beyond self-serve customer service, prepare to provide personal service using live chat or phone assistance. Again, make sure the phone number for assistance is prominently placed on every page of your site.
- Personal service means being adequately staffed, of course. Start now to hire temporary employees for the holiday rush so you can get the best workers.
- Return policies and shipping costs are especially important at the holidays. Consider creating a separate link or at least a dropdown for returns and shipping calculators or costs.
- If you don’t already sell them, add gift cards or e-gift cards to your offerings. If shoppers never redeem them, you’ve already made the sale! Gift cards were the number-one desired gift last year, and they’re ideal for rushed or undecided shoppers, too.
- Ensure you have adequate packing and shipping supplies for the increased orders. Also make sure your warehouse staff, if you have one, is trained in how to speed picking and packing of orders. You don’t want to get tons of orders, only to have inexperienced employees struggle to find the merchandise. Check out this article for detailed advice on how to organize your stock for maximum efficiency.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.