Holiday Prep Ideas for 2017

 

Holiday Prep Ideas for 2017There’s no time like the present to get ready for the selling season.

By creating a strategy now, retailers can take advantage of the holiday  retail peak with optimized cross-channel experiences, initiatives aimed at customer retention, and marketing focused on the entire season (not just a few key days).

According to Justuno, the Holidays are the most important time for retailers. If there’s one time of the year to put forth all your marketing efforts, it’s now. In fact, holiday sales accounted for 24% of total U.S. ecommerce sales in 2016 and are expected to increase by 16.6% in 2017. This is a massive opportunity to gain new customers, drive repeat purchases, and ultimately increase sales for 2017. But this can only happen effectively if you start preparing today. Here are some useful tips and ideas that will help you get started.@ShipStation offers simple tips to help you get ready for the holiday selling season. #Unify Click To Tweet

1.   Build your staff now for the busy period. As we know the holidays can be chaotic for retailers. Even if you are a one person operation, there will likely come a time during this period where you will need help. Even hiring holiday staff for a few months or weeks can make a difference. And there are plenty of folks looking to make a little extra money over the holiday period.

If you have a support team, now is the time to start recruiting. According to the National Retail Federation, “If you’re a retailer who’s not hiring in the fall, you’re giving your competitors a lead on you.” Companies should start screening applicants in September and October to gauge how well the person gels with the team. Doing so also puts you ahead of the curve when it comes to making the necessary marketing, staff, or inventory changes as the months progress. Additional holiday season help could be the secret ingredient to ending a successful year and starting the next with a bang. Weigh the benefits of capitalizing on your busy season and plan your hiring accordingly.

2.   Embrace email marketing. Over the busy holidays, and especially over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your customers’ inboxes are going to be slammed with emails, offers, and promotions. It’s all too easy for them to hit “delete” and move on with their lives.

Create a funny, clever, or otherwise engaging holiday marketing campaign that grabs their interest from the first email subject line and keeps them wondering when you’ll be mailing again. Do whatever you can to rise above the fold. Discounting is an option, but a better option can be humor, newly released products, beautiful photos, or a compelling storyline.

Here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • Personalize your email messaging. Your customers aren’t all the same, so try segmenting emails by user engagement or behavior to create a truly customized experience. Not only will this make your customers feel like you understand their likes and preferences, but it will also elevate their brand affinity, increasing the likelihood of turning them into loyal, repeat customers.
  • Pair coupons with welcome emails. Adding new names to your database? Give your new customers a little gift with your welcome email. After all, welcome email campaigns with coupons have 2.5x higher transaction rates than those without.
  • Consider weekend emails. Don’t over-send to customers during the holiday period as this can leave a sour taste and most probably your email being diverted to the spam folder. Consider sending emails over the weekend. According to VerticalResponse, Fewer promotional emails are sent on the weekends. This has created an opportunity for some businesses to scoop up some email love when there is less competition. 
  • Test, test, test. Experian’s email marketing study found that recipients responded more to promotional emails they received on the weekends – when the send volume was the lowest. The unique open rate for Saturday and Sunday was 17.8 percent for both days, the highest percentages of the week. But before you change all your email launches to Saturday and Sunday, we recommend you test weekends first. Remember that open rates on these days are still lower. Try splitting your list in half and send the same email to group A on Sunday and group B on Monday or Tuesday. Repeat this a few times to see when you get better results.

So there you have it, a few simple things to put in place now that may proove to be game-changers for your bottom line in Q4. Happy selling!