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Just the other day, our team was brainstorming blog post ideas while being in the middle of preparing for our Halloween Sale. Mixed emotions are in the air – excitement to work on new campaigns, stress about planning sales, feeling overwhelmed to meet deadlines & getting the word out about our discount.
Taking this as a point of reference, Vishal thought, if we’re going through these feelings, our clients must also be going through something similar! So why not focus on helping our clients handle their online business during peak-business months?
And here we are! If you’re a store owner & you’re probably freaking out about the coming two months, we’ve got you covered.
How to handle your online store during peak business months in a stress-free way
Did you know that sales in the first three weeks of November raise up to 17% year-on-year globally?
Yep, it’s all thanks to different celebrations and festivals such as Diwali, Thanksgiving, Black Friday & Cyber Monday. December is no different because we’ve got Christmas and New Year’s Eve. So, let’s get right into how you can handle your online business without breaking a sweat!
Plan & review your Inventory
During this time, you also need to be prepared to handle things as and when they come. Let’s say that you’ve run out of certain items during your Black Friday Sale. How are you going to tackle this issue?
The best way is to plan in advance. You already know what kind of customers your store is going to attract. If you also know what kind of products are sold better during Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales, then that’s great! According to it, you can plan and review your inventory.
If not, then you should inform your supplier (if any) about it in advance. Another tip: Always have an extra pair of helping hands. If you’re selling items such as bakery goods, then they can be super useful! The importance of inventory planning and control cannot be overstated.
Test site performance for website & mobile users
It’s almost the end of November, and your Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales have already begun. Globally, during Black Friday, online shopping increased 22% year on year – that’s around $9 billion. Just imagine the kind of traffic you’ll receive on these days. They would certainly be far more than what you’re used to on daily basis.
What if due to increased traffic, your site starts to function slowly?
In the last six months, 79% of smartphone users have made an online purchase. So, what if the majority of your traffic is from mobile users?
What you’ve got to do is plan & prepare yourself in advance. Check if your site can handle the traffic that’s expected during your sale period.
Figure out your shipping and delivery schedule in advance
The moment your deliveries increase so does your workload. If you have not properly planned your delivery appointment schedules beforehand, you might have just bitten off more than you can chew.
End result? Delivery doesn’t reach on time & you’ve got an unsatisfied customer.
Pre-planned delivery schedules will help you know exactly which orders will get delivered when. You will also be prepared to figure out your inventory based on this.
For instance, you’ll know which items will be picked up from your Pickup locations or which items will be the ones that you will have to deliver.
Offering different Pickup Locations on your Cart Page can help
If you know the exact date & time of your deliveries, you’ll be aware of the deadlines you need to meet to fulfill the order.
If you’re the one handling your deliveries, say holiday flower delivery or food delivery services, then don’t forget to pay special attention to your delivery team. Figure out in advance which team member will be on leave during the busiest days and see how to manage your deliveries with the remaining team members.
If they are using a 3PL, then make sure to check up on the delivery schedules of the respective company.
Overall, this sequencing & planning will help you lower your delivery costs, help in optimum utilization of resources delivery drivers, chefs, other staff, etc.) and provide a way to use the best resources for a fulfilling delivery.
Align delivery schedules to your own holidays
Even store owners and workers deserve a break. So, how do you ensure that those holidays do not affect your online delivery schedules?
Let’s say that your delivery drivers will not be available on 4th November and 5th November due to Diwali. What you can do is not offer deliveries for those days. If you have a WooCommerce store, then you can use a delivery scheduling woocommerce plugin like Order Delivery Date Pro for WooCommerce to set those 3 days as Holidays & pre-inform your customers that you won’t be delivering on those days.
When users visit the checkout page, to choose their delivery dates, they will find that the holiday dates (in this case, 4th & 5th November) are disabled in the delivery date calendar.
Diwali Holidays displayed in the Calendar on the Checkout Page
In case some of your drivers are working while some aren’t then make sure to let your customers know about your situation. Some of the ways in which you can do this are by creating a “Delivery Info” page on your website or posting about it on your social media channels. Remember, communication is the key as it makes your customers sympathize with your brand.
Review your delivery options
Let’s say that it’s Diwali time & one of your customers wanders upon your site to buy some lanterns & decorations. However, they’re looking to get these items delivered to them the very next day! Unfortunately, your site cannot fulfill this request.
“Hmm…I really wanted this delivered tomorrow.” [proceeds to click on the Exit button]
At a single glance, your audience should get to know the exact delivery option they will get to choose. Make sure to stress this aspect at every chance you get. It should be widely visible not only on your Checkout Page but also across your site. Social media is another way to let them know exactly what you are offering.
Ensure that different delivery options are available. Low-cost delivery, Free delivery, Same day delivery, Next day delivery, Fast delivery…the options are there, all that you need to do is strategize & choose the right ones for your customers.
Provide clear delivery details on your site
During the time of sales, your customers might be in a rush to grab the best offers as soon as they can. Imagine hosting a WooCommerce Cyber Monday and Black Friday plugin sale and in the frenzy of buying items, your order and shipments details are not clearly mentioned. Your customers may not feel assured and may end up leaving your site. But you can still capture them with our shopping cart abandonment tools.
So, this is why you’ve got to provide clear delivery details. Let’s say that you’re offering your customers to choose when they’d like to receive the order. For this, let them select the delivery date & time.
Ensure that it is mentioned everywhere – from the Checkout Page to Order Details Page, to even the emails that are sent.
Display details on Order Received Page
Display details in the Order Received Email
If you’re not offering this option to your customers, then you should at least let them know what the estimated delivery date of their purchase is going to be. Unclear dates often result in delayed shipping which can be frustrating.
Display Estimated delivery date on Cart Page, Checkout Page, etc
You need to clearly communicate everything a customer needs to know in order to make that purchase. Lastly, don’t forget to be clear about the Returns policy too.
Rescue your Abandoned Carts
Did you know that December is the month with the highest level of online basket abandonment? This is followed by November, as shoppers browse Christmas present ideas and look for items during the Black Friday sales.
Just last year, the online shopping cart abandonment during Black Friday globally was 73.05% from desktop users.
Each cart abandoned during the holiday season is a sale that’s lost. So instead of focusing your efforts on trying to reach out to new customers, it’s best to reach out to these shoppers. You’re more likely to get a sale from an abandoned user than a new user.
You can reconnect with the shoppers via an abandoned cart email. Time your emails at appropriate intervals, personalize them to ensure that your customer feels special & don’t forget to provide incentives such as coupon codes to help them make that purchase!
Offer discount codes as incentives to abandoned users
Plan your promotional strategies & email campaigns
Discounts are great to lure your customers. However, strategizing it so that it benefits your WooCommerce store is what will earn you those conversions. Think of creating a promotional strategy that considers all your channels.
For instance, during Black Friday, email campaigns had an average 12% open rate, a 1.3% unique click rate, 11% click-to-open-rate (CTOR), and an 8.8% conversion rate in 2019.
Plan in advance what kind of email campaigns you wish to promote. September and October are good months to start off with it.
Segment your promotions, target specific audiences with your email campaigns, try and build suspense- What should your customers look forward to in the coming months? What kind of deals are you offering?
The last thing you need to do is track your emails. This will give you a better idea of whether you need to remarket your campaigns.
An additional tip: Don’t forget to use urgency in your emails. For instance, send them reminders about when the sale ends, how much time is left for them to benefit from it, etc.
As for your social media platforms, prepare the promotions in a similar manner. See what kind of promotions you wish to run on your social media, see what promotions your competitors are running – maybe a countdown, or contests or giveaways – all of these can be utilized.
Design catchy graphics, plan your social media calendar in advance, and revolve the overall theme of these to match your sale. You can see how some of the best media buying companies create those unique advertisements that stimulate consumers and contribute to an overall increase in sales around certain specific holidays throughout the year.
For instance, to celebrate our Halloween Sale, we did a Spooky Week Countdown. One of them looked like this:
Handling your online business during hectic and stressful months during peak business months like November and December. But don’t give up! Proper planning, prepping & implementation can work a long way. Wishing you the very best for the coming two months!