The Christmas rush is not just like any other time of year in eCommerce
Gift buying starts earlier than ever, and nine out of ten shoppers will buy their presents online, so it’s no surprise that sales for the holidays grow steadily year upon year. This means that to be able to cope with the onslaught during the festive period, sellers must plan well ahead to keep up with the demand. Here’s a checklist and some tips to help you get geared up for this merry time of year!
– I have cleared last season’s stock, e.g. back to school/summer stuff
– Decide what in your market/inventory will be in higher demand
– Which categories are bringing you the most returns?
– Which products are turning over quickest?
– Which trends are non-seasonal?
– Look at what sold well for you at Christmas last year
Winners and Losers
Have a look at your sales and profits on each product and identify your stock winners and losers. It is essential to decide where your time and money is best spent. Remember, if it’s not selling now – it won’t sell at Christmas! Insanity is described as doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. The products turning over quickest and bringing you the most returns NOW are the ones to focus on this time of year, so sell slow-movers now, so you can invest in the winners.
Seasonal products aren’t just stockings and baubles. In most industries and markets there are products which can be marketed as gifts during the holiday season. Your buyers will be shopping for friends and the whole family so don’t limit yourself to just toys for kids.
Alter your product listing names at this time of year to include words which shoppers will search for, like “gift”, “for him” and “for her”. Remember that everyone is different, so putting these phrases in with products like jewellery, beauty products, books, bedding and kitchen products will mean that you’re suggesting products as a gift and increasing the chances of another Christmas sale!
Don’t forget Delivery
Remember that stock also pertains to your delivery needs! Stock up on bubble wrap, tape, boxes, gift wrap etc. to make sure you have enough to on hand to manage the demand. Don’t worry about buying too much as you need it all year round anyway!
Fulfilment and Logistics
– Set clear and realistic delivery dates
– Update delivery and gift wrapping costs
– Do you need to hire some extra help for the rush?
– If you are FBA, have you sent extra stock to Amazon yet?
– How many orders can you handle each day and still get the deliveries out?
It can be tempting at this time of year to overshoot your delivery dates in an attempt to get a few more sales. Make sure that if you’re promising orders will arrive in time for Christmas that you can deliver on the goods! Online businesses have been bogged down with bad reviews and feedback for promising gift deliveries by the Big Day and not delivering.
Creating your Christmas Budget
– Identify your fixed and variable costs
– Predict how they will be affected
– Identify how much can you invest in seasonal stock
Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! Set out your budget early and stick to it, don’t spend what you can’t afford to in the hopes of huge Christmas sales – be optimistic but cautious. If your expenses are going to increase, make sure that these expenses are accounted for in the item’s sale price.
Don’t miss out on other big holidays in this season. Hanukkah is December 16th this year and buying children a small gift for every one of the eight days of Hanukkah is catching on, which can be a great boost for your holiday sales!
If you can, make small, festive additions to your website, if buyers are choosing a gift between two sellers at Christmas, the more festive one will win out.
Use Google Analytics data to see which item’s search terms worked well in terms of conversions, and which didn’t.
Christmas doesn’t just take monetary investment – prepare to put in the hours and work harder and longer!
And finally ENJOY the Christmas rush! It only comes around once a year…