Prepare Your eCommerce Store for the Holiday Sales
The substantial way to begin.
Winter brings snow. And something else along with it. I speak of the shopping frenzy among people. Such people fall under two categories — the ones who want to purchase and the ones who want to sell. If you fall under the second category, and if you own an eCommerce store, you may want to read further. If not, you may still want to read further.
As the year comes to an end, the holiday season brings about a new kind of energy among the people. At least that’s how I feel about the holiday season. The frenzy starts with the preparations for Thanksgiving, goes on through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and finally comes to an end by New Year. All this while, the people play Santa Claus to the store owners by helping the sales reach a new high. Almost any store can expect an increase in sales during this period. The eCommerce stores are no different but with a slight edge over the physical stores.
The ‘e’ factor, that is, the fact that you are a digital store puts you at advantage. But it takes a lot more to actually use the advantage in your favour. Customers get ready financially and emotionally to go on a shopping spree. You are ready to welcome them too. But… Have you ever really thought about the readiness of your store? Or if your eCommerce site is holiday ready? You might have. Or not. But it is definitely something that should be thought about and acted upon.
There are millions of tools available on the web to enhance your online store, both free and premium. Probably you used a great tool to set your online store up. Say, WooCommerce. Apart from the core eCommerce plugin you might need some other plugins and extensions to gear up for the sales.
I am keeping this article central to WordPress CMS because it powers the most number of eCommerce sites among others. Here are some questions that must be marked “Important” when it comes to preparing your online store for the holiday sales:
More Discounts, More Sales — Is This True?
Totally true. Discounts do have a catalytic effect on sales because customers are on the lookout for great deals. Time and again, discounts have proved to boost up sales. Especially during the festive seasons. In fact, the very existence of days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday account to the discounts and offers on sales. Why provide discounts?
- Increased sales
- More customers
- Customer satisfaction
- Stock clearance
All the more reasons to give discounts, right? Plan your discount rules, apply them on your products and hike your sales.
Some WordPress Discount plugins : WooCommerce Discount Rules, WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing & Discounts, WooCommerce Bulk Discount.
Why You Should Email Your Customers?
Email has always remained and will remain a great way to reach your audience. Regardless of age group or location, email is used by almost everyone. When it comes to mass marketing, social media, email and television advertisements are the three largest means. While the first two are the most common ones among the eCommerce businesses, TV ads are opted only by huge players. There are people who do not use social media actively but email is a constant among teenagers and adults. Email marketing is meant to build loyalty, trust, and/or brand awareness. By regularly sending newsletters to your potential customers and existing customers about your store, products and offers, you market your brand. And they remember you. But to not end up on their spam list, ensure you write quality content. When you do so continuously, you might be at a great advantage during the year-end sale and further.
Some WordPress Email Marketing Plugins : Email Subscribers & Newsletters, WooCommerce Email Customizer.
How To Show Up On The Search Engine?
Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first. — Wendy Piersall
Not only Google but on any search engine, your site needs to be on top of the search results to be noticed by people. Search Engine Optimisation has become one of the most standardised marketing strategies today. If one asks what it has to do with the holiday season, I’d say it has everything to do with the holiday season. You are ahead of the game if you manage to bring your site in the top search results by the time people start asking the web. Great! But how? Your site needs to be search engine optimised. Here’s what you could be doing:
- Do your keyword research.
- List your offers in blog posts and make sure they have all the relevant keywords in them.
- Create landing pages with pleasant, clean and relevant design and content.
- Make sure the headings are SEO-friendly. The What Is/Does, How To, Why Do/Don’t, Where To questions work most of the times because that’s what people search for.
- Your page title and meta description MUST have the relevant keywords.
There are plugins around the WordPress community which can help you with these SEO tasks. Making your site SEO-friendly can do wonders to the site’s traffic.
Some WordPress SEO plugins : Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, The SEO Framework, SEO Squirrly.
Keep Them Posted On Social Media. Why?
Social Media is here to stay. Well, that’s quite obvious from the changing and ever increasing influence of social media on businesses. According to the recent statistics released by Brandwatch, the internet has 3.5 billion users and there are 3.03 billion active social media users. While it is (almost) impossible to gain attention of the entire users on the web, your online store can attract a pretty good number of customers with an initial push from social media. People need to know that your brand exists and that you are good. While your website, products, content and offers can let them know how good your store is, the social media updates can play a part in bringing them into your website in the first place. Some of the retailers do not believe that a lot of traffic is generated from social media, but what they do believe is that online presence is mandatory to stay in people’s minds. In today’s world, to be general, if a business is not on social media, it does not exist.
Some WordPress Social Media Plugins : Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons, Social Media Share Buttons, Social Media Flying Icons | Floating Social Media Icon.
Why Should You Keep Track Of Your Customers?
Let’s say the holiday sales gave your eCommerce website a lot of traffic and your sales rocketed up. All good. The real challenge is, “Will the customers return?”. If you forget them after the sale is over, they will not. Keep in touch. To me, this aspect of eCommerce is very similar to real life. Nice people do not just forget their friends and acquaintances after a party. They try to stay in touch. Same way, you need to build your brand value by gaining the trust of your customers. How do you gain customer’s trust?
- Stay in touch
- Understand your customer, what they want and how they purchase
- Leave a personal touch while marketing
- Stay true to your brand’s views and values
- Sell good, serve good.
Your website needs a tool to do all these, doesn’t it? That is where the Analytics come into play. You need a plugin or a tool installed on your site beforehand to record your customers’ activities on your site. Chunks of visually represented data is all you need to understand your store’s visitors. You get to stay in touch with the customers by sending newsletters or providing more offers even after the holiday season ends. Google analytics is the most widely used analytics tool among others like Crazy Egg, Jetpack by WordPress and KISSmetrics.
Some Google Analytics plugins for WordPress : Google Analytics by Yoast, Google Analytics+, MonsterInsights.
How To Turn Site Abandoners Into Customers?
Let us say, someone visits your site as a potential customer, and leaves without becoming an actual customer. You need to know what happened and what she was looking for. Consider another case where a customer adds a product to the cart but does not purchase. The reason could be anything. Poor internet connection, lack of fund or she simply forgot about the cart. You may want to remind her about it. This is what we call Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) in the eCommerce world. It is all about being aware of what’s going on in your store with analytics tools and making changes that favour your sales. Especially when you are planning for the huge sales, you need to be more inquisitive about the metrics of your store.
Some WordPressplugins for CRO : WordPress Landing Pages, OptinMonster, Gravity Forms,WordPress Calls to Action. Google Analytics can be your CRO too.
How To Keep Your Site Safe And Sound?
You do not want your site to crash after an epic sale, do you? You do not want your data and your customer data to be stolen either. But you may want to keep a backup of your data, just in case. For all these reasons, you should prioritise the security of your eCommerce site and consider having plugins to help you out.
1. Some WordPress plugins for Backup : UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin, WordPress Backup and Migrate Plugin — BackupGuard.
2. Some WordPress plugins for security & firewall : Wordfence Security, Shield Security for WordPress.
With all these factors in your mind, remember the most important factor to consider a site optimised is speed. Installing a lot of plugins can make your site slow to load. So, weigh your options and install only what your website ‘needs’.
Think of your eCommerce website as a physical store. Advertisement, customer service, sales, profit, security and popularity are all part of the store. The same goes for the digital stores without taking up a lot of human efforts and physical landmass. Great, isn’t it? It is, only if you do it right or you could go unnoticed in the second page of the search engine. Now that you know what you need to get all geared up for the holiday sales, go out there and equip your store!