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5 Key Takeaways from the Holiday Rush to Apply to Your Online Store

Apply lessons from the holiday season to your next sales push.

By Miva | December 15, 2021 | 4 minute read
Frustrated holiday shopper in front of laptop

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Ah, Christmas. That time of the year when the trees sparkle with snow, lights twinkle on rooftops, and more than a few online retailers experience a Yuletide meltdown. From supply shortages to website crashes, it seems that everything can go wrong during the holiday season. If you’ve found your business in the midst of your own merry misadventure, you’re not alone—the strong demand and usual challenges of the holiday season impacts many online merchants.

The good news is that you can use the takeaways from this current season and uncover better ways to manage your online store and handle the next shopping rush. In this article, we go over strategies for making the next season feel more like a warm sip of hot cocoa and less like a stale fruitcake to the face. 

Keep the Lights On for Shoppers

Tis the season for sleigh bells, sugar cookies, and site traffic spikes. While a holiday surge in traffic and sales is great for merchants who are on scalable ecommerce platforms, those that are not could be in for a disaster when the holiday season reaches its peak. Sudden and drastic traffic increases can put merchants at risk of crashes and downtime, causing them to lose both sales and customer trust. If you’ve seen any holiday crashes on your site, make sure you have the following in place by next year’s rush:

  • A scalable ecommerce platform: The last thing you’ll want to deal with is your site struggling to keep up as holiday shoppers descend on your site. A scalable platform will accommodate your growth over this next year, giving you plenty of time to prepare for the holidays and providing you with the stability and flexibility when you need it most.
  • Completely native functionalityRelying too heavily on plugins can leave your site vulnerable to breakage. Instead, having a full-scale commerce solution with complete native features will lessen your dependence on any third parties to function. The latter is the way to go if you want to ensure constant uptime by next December.

Get Ahead of Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Ongoing supply chain issues have presented online merchants with many challenges. If you want to get packages shipped to customers for pre-Christmas delivery, time is of the essence. Missing holiday shipping deadlines puts your business at risk of late deliveries, customer dissatisfaction, and a potential torrent of angry reviews. Here’s how to fix your shipping in time for next year’s holiday season:

  • Find a better warehouse management system: If you’ve experienced struggles with keeping up with the current holiday season, you can take action to make next year run more smoothly by overhauling your order fulfillment processes and streamlining your back-end systems. 
  • Get strategic with your shipping: Review your pick-pack-ship processes to detect and eliminate inefficiencies. Optimize your shipping station and inventory management, stock up on your top sellers, and get to know your carriers for ultimate holiday shipping success. 

Manage Promotions

Without the right tools, running a successful promotion can be a bit of a nightmare. Can that 40% off discount you’re offering be used multiple times? Are existing customers included in your latest deal? Promotions are sometimes too easy to mess up, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday rush. Make sure your promos are airtight with the following:

  • A solid shipping integration: This can help you establish custom shipping parameters, allowing you to exclude certain locations from free shipping, adjust shipping cost by weight, and more. 
  • A data-driven promotional structure: Use your customer data to create promotions that are both hyper-targeted and easy to stay in control of, limiting the risk of promo code abuse and accidental shopper inclusion. 

Relieve Customer Anxiety

Christmas has a way of turning even the most laid-back of shoppers into a nervous wreck. Merchants regularly field questions like, “When will it be back in stock?”, “Is my package on the way?”, and “When will my gifts arrive?” all the way up to Christmas Eve. Sound familiar? Here’s what to do to better relieve customer concerns:

  • Integrate your warehouse management system with your ecommerce platform: This will keep your onsite catalog synced with your inventory, so shoppers can see what’s in stock and what’s going fast.
  • Provide package tracking: Online shoppers have become accustomed to transparency in online shopping. Regular updates on the status of their orders can put them at ease during those nail-biting days leading up to Christmas.

A Great Sales Plan Starts with a Great Website

While this season might have its fair share of challenges, there’s no reason the next shopping season can’t be better. With the right tools, strategies, and a fair amount of planning, online retailers can avoid the dread of the holiday season and run an effective campaign that drives spectacular results for their business.

Before you start planning for your holiday strategy, you must start first with your website. Use our free website assessment tool to discover ways to optimize your site to drive sales, increase revenue, and improve your business management.Ecommerce Website Assessment

This blog was updated on December 15, 2021.

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Author's Bio

Miva

Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.

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