People love the holidays. It's a time that brings about a sense of warm nostalgia for holidays past, memories of childhood, feelings of togetherness, and a general excitement strung along by Christmas lights, the smell of hot chocolate, and the taste of sweet peppermint candies. It’s a time to be with family, friends, and all our loved ones.
We all know that the holidays are right around the corner, and for those in the ecommerce business, we’re also thinking about the biggest shopping season of the year.
Conventional wisdom has us knowing that the weeks that lead up to Christmas are the most crucial time for online retailers. These are the days that can make or break our entire retail year, and they bring with them lots of challenges and joys, with days like Christmas, New Year, and Boxing day to prepare for.
While the last few years have, undoubtedly, brought on their challenges, people across the globe have proved resilient and determined to enjoy life, and the holidays, in spite of challenges brought on by lockdown and the global health crisis.
In 2020 and 2021, consumers kept up the festive spirit, all the while changing the face of commerce, boosting online stores to grow the ecommerce industry at an unprecedented rate.
2022 also comes with its own set of challenges, with rising inflation caused by the rise of gas prices in many parts of the world. But if Covid 19 has taught us anything about the human spirit, it’s that we forge on to find moments of joy and merriment, carrying on with our traditions and keeping the holiday spirit alive.
To help Shopify store owners make the most of the holiday season 2022, we created a short guide with tips on how to prepare yourself and your Shopify store for the coming holidays.
If you are wondering where to get started in prepping your shop, you have come to the right place. In this article, we talk about what you need to do for your online business to get ready for the holiday rush.
1. Plan Ahead
When it comes to planning—sooner is always better. As seen on Google Trends this year, people start looking up Christmas gift ideas as early as the first week of October, so if your consumers are planning ahead, so should you.
During the holidays, its best to start with the basics and mark out the biggest dates.
The first thing you must do is decide which of the significant holidays you want to put your marketing efforts into. There are a ton of religious holidays, official holidays, and unofficial holidays in the months of November and December. Depending on the size of your business operations, it might not be possible for your brand and team to take part in all of them. However, you can hold extended sales across these important dates.
Knowing your target market will help you understand which 2022 holidays are significant to them. The coming big holidays include:
- Christmas: Sunday, December 25
- Boxing Day: Monday, December 26
- New Year: Sunday, January 1
When you’ve decided which holiday and holiday theme to focus on, whether it's Christmas, New Year, and What have you, the serious prepping can begin.
This is when you begin to map out a plan of action. It’s important for you to map out the days and times when you will:
- Update your store’s graphics to reflect the holiday season
- Update your product range
- Update your return and shipping policy
- Update your FAQs
- Create special holiday offers
- Share blog content that reflects the holiday spirit
- Update social media and online groups
- Advertise your promotions over Google, social media, and email
2. Decorate Your Shop
When we see those string lights lining up the center of town and decorative Christmas-themed angels in shops, it instantly gets consumers in an undeniable festive mood. Just as brick-and-mortar shops are decorating their stores for the holiday season, you should decorate your Shopify store to reflect the holiday spirit in 2022.
You don’t need to redesign the entire website to give customers a festive experience, just create a few holiday-themed elements or go with festive colors to update your pages. You can even set up a countdown timer to mark the approach of Christmas and New Year to give customers a sense of urgency at the fast-approaching date.
Don’t forget to change your announcement bar and header to promote your special holiday sales and discounts. Another tip is to incorporate the colors red and green, colors that we are used to seeing all over the place during the holiday season.
3. Set Up Your Holiday Promotions & Sales
Everyone loves sales and special deals, and the holidays are known for these tantalizing bargains. During the holiday season, when you decorate your Shopify store, make sure that these special holiday deals are displayed front and center, ready to entice shoppers into sticking around and completing a holiday purchase on your Shopify website.
Make your discounts and discount codes visible to site visitors by showcasing them in prominent ways. Also make sure your loyal customers, followers, and email subscribers are aware of the sales and special deals that are now happening on your online store by getting the word out across every available communications channel you’ve set up to be a part of your marketing strategy.
Additionally, while you might be thinking of a loss of profits with all these special deals, it's important to note that, while holiday shoppers are looking for bargains, they are also willing to spend more and buy more than at any time of the year!
One other way that you can make more sales is to offer your customers bundle discounts—a strategy to get online customers to buy more items and spend more. Just make sure to offer your customers a great bundle offer that they can’t resist.
Here are examples of special offers you can do during the holiday season:
- Highlight your best sellers, and create a special deal
- Issue special holiday-themed gift cards
- Offer holiday-themed gift wrapping
- Offer personalized, handwritten notes
- Create holiday gift sets/bundles
4. Promote Your Special Deals Online
The goal is to make more sales during the holidays and to do this, you’ll also have to create some themed promotions, posts, and ads to get customers in the know and into your online shop. So, leading up to and during the holiday shopping season, you should be active on social media, at the very least.
Plan on publishing holiday-themed posts that will reach your followers and beyond, by boosting your posts or using hashtags. You can even offer followers exclusive deals to encourage site visitors and more sales.
The coming holiday season is the best time to reach and engage your audience, so share and publish those hot sales and deals. You can schedule posts ahead of time for better time management but don’t forget to engage followers by replying to comments and DMs, interacting with them to show that you are an active brand that is fun and approachable.
Here are other great ways to market your special holiday deals:
- Create shoppable Instagram posts
- Start a social media contest
- Deploy a holiday email campaign to established customers
- Use social media ads and Google ads
- Promote on TikTok
5. Update Your Products
For the holidays, it's time to carefully consider the products you are already selling and decide whether you want to update your product line. Ways you can do this are by creating gift bundles, adding brand new variants to the same products, or simply adding new products you think will sell well during the holidays,
During the holidays, it should be your goal to assist people in finding the perfect gifts and subsequently increase your sales during the holiday season.
It's crucial to create at least one product category range centered on the holiday season. This will assist customers in finding holiday-specific purchases while preserving the holiday vibe throughout your website. Here are some suggestions for categories you could use:
- Presents for mom
- Presents for your wife
- Presents for men
- Presets for pets
- Exclusive holiday collection
- Holiday gift bundles
- Holiday gift cards
6. Double Down on Customer Support
Now imagine yourself in a busy physical store in need of assistance, but you can’t find an available sales assistant anywhere to help you with your queries. In this instance, you are very likely to leave and take your business elsewhere. The same is true for online businesses. This means that exceptional customer support during the extra busy holiday shopping season is a must, as you expect more traffic to your website.
One of the best ways to solve this issue is to have dedicated customer support in your Shopify store, with the help of Shopify apps like Shopify Inbox and Tidio ‑ Live Chat & Chatbots. With the help of live chat, your customers can get the answers to their queries quickly without having to click off-site, helping them get the information they need to reach a purchase decision. You can also set up automated messages and employ the help of chatbots.
Additionally, don’t forget to update your FAQs. Your Frequently Asked Questions page is an asset to your shop, one you should never underestimate or play down. FAQs help customers get the answers they need, quickly, saving both you and your store visitor time, and helping you make those sales.
Also consider adding a parcel tracking app to your site, so customers can track their order and not have to enquire about their order status every couple of days. Parcel Panel Order Tracking is a Shopify app that can do the trick.
7. Review Your Shipping & Returns Policy
The holidays are a busy time when it comes to in-store and online shopping. Lots of packages are being moved across the world and this can affect how fast a parcel travels from your warehouse to your customer's doorstep. Not only that, holiday shopping returns can be an unavoidable consequence for a lucrative online business.
Before the holiday season comes into full swing with Christmas online shoppers, it's time for you to revisit your shipping and returns policies. This one has been a mainstay in our holiday season advice for Shopify store owners looking to prepare themselves and their shops for the Christmas and New Year rush.
When it comes to return policies, your customers are looking for customer-friendly returns. If the return policy does not seem customer-friendly enough, they might not bother to buy anything from your store at all.
A reasonable return policy is crucial to your business because you can bet your competitors are allowing returns. Not only does a return policy function to protect your Shopify store’s reputation as well as your customers and their money, but a lot of your sales are also hanging on this page.
Some online shops adopt an extended return period during the holidays as well. This is because of shoppers who buy gifts in advance, wrap them up and give them as presents, only to find damage or a bad fit later on.
Many retailers offer a two week extension into mid-January for holiday returns. But while you do want your return policy to be generous and reasonable, take a concession to protect your store from customer fraud.
Aside from returns, shipping delays during the holiday shopping season is also a reality to contend with. Each holiday season, your shipping carriers release shipping deadlines to ensure delivery before specific holidays, so try to find out about changes to shipping schedules and update your shipping information accordingly during the holidays.
Shipping delays are common during the holidays, so let customers know ahead of time when there might be a delay. To cushion the impact of a delay, offer customers free shipping during the holidays.
Enjoy the Holidays
We hope you have a lucrative holiday shopping season ahead, with a well-rounded strategy that will help you sail smoothly through the coming weeks. In this article, we’ve given you seven tips to prepare for the busy online shopping season ahead, highlighting the importance of planning ahead for the coming weeks so that you are ready for Christmas, New Year, and Boxing Day.
Don’t forget to decorate your shop, review your products, and promote your sales.
Are you ready for the holiday shopping rush of 2022?
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