Preparing for the next upcoming holiday is a full time task, so it’s fair to say that focusing on a few every year is probably a good way to limit the stress and to keep you free to further develop your business. At least until you have enough staff to be able to handle the ever growing amount of holidays that are being thrown your way.It is easy enough to set up a few discounts or something along those lines for the smaller ones, but the few really big holidays will require your full attention and most of your time. Christmas is one of those big holidays, obviously, and it’s best to start the preparations early. Some would argue, that now is already a little late, but I reckon we still have plenty of time!
When should you start preparing?
As always with planning, it’s better to start earlier rather than later. Why leave until later what you can do today. The issue with big holidays such as Christmas is that there are so many things that can potentially be done, but you have to decide what you are actually able to do with the manpower and limited time that you have available.
This is relevant for any holiday season throughout the year. In this case we’re obviously focusing on Christmas, but there’s so many times a year where a big event might be a good way to generate some extra incomes from themed holiday events and sales. For example Easter, but also American holidays such as “Black Friday”, which are slowly becoming a thing in the UK, too.
Planning is key however. At the start of the year, make a list of Holidays that you want to be promoting and outline the time you want to spend preparing for and promoting these Holidays. This will save you significant time further down the road, as you won’t be scrambling for ideas and time to do all the work in.
There are so many things to do for Christmas
- Write a festive newsletter to keep your customers up to date with any offers that you are promoting during the Christmas period. It is the best way to get hold of as many of your past customers as possible without investing too much money. The good thing with newsletters is that you can theme them up for each holiday. A good looking newsletter is sure to get people through your doors. You can either design this yourself, or you could get it styled up by us for your ekmResponse account. As an ekmPowershop customer you’re eligible to 100 contacts to whom you can send numerous emails a month for free. Simply hook your shop up to ekmResponse through the ‘Features’ section of your control panel before redeeming your free sends.There are certain things you will have to avoid though, says Armando Roggio from PracticalEcommerce, unless you want to sabotage your own Christmas campaign.
- Offering discounts on deliveries during the run up to Christmas is a great way to get your customers to talk about you and to recommend you to their friends. If you can afford to offer free delivery, then I would consider offering it. It’s one of the defining factors for customers to make a decision on whether to purchase from you or not and at a time where there are many shops competing for every customer they can get, this might well be the the factor that might tip the scales in your favour. Something else you could consider, is the offering of ‘Next Day Deliveries’ at a discount price. Go and get those last minute shoppers that have, as I always always always do, left it way too late.
- Offer a Christmas Promotional Calendar. Something you can outline in your email campaign or on the front page of your online shop is that you are offering a discount on certain items for just one day or week and that this offer changes every day. That way you will have people coming back for more every day to see what they next offer might be! It’s a fun little way to promote some return custom. It’s also a great way for you to be very organised about the whole thing as you will have to have outlined the whole process beforehand.
- A Christmas themed blog post is also a nice way to engage with your customers. Outline your offers. write about great present ideas or maybe just talk about your business at Christmas time, if you think that is something that your customers will be interested in. Always bear in mind your promotions that you want to be promoting during the Christmas time and make sure that your blog posts are SEO optimised so that they will organically drive traffic to your site via search engines. If you haven’t started writing a blog yet, then this might be an ideal time to start. If you need to find out how you can have a look at a recent post of ours on ‘how to write a blog’. It’s always a good time for content marketing, but this time is especially good.
- Using social media during the Christmas time this is crucial and will get you great results if done well. It’s one of the easiest way to reach a significant audience and thereare so many different options that you can explore here. Twitter is an easy way to keep your customers up-to-date on your latest offers, you could use Facebook to get the word out about a competition that you might be running at the moment in the run up to Christmas. You can use Instagram to post pictures of Christmas present ideas that you might have for your customers and of your products set in a Christmas setting. You can show how to combine certain items to make something great and memorable! With Pinterest you’re able to make holiday specific boards where you can pin products from your shop with a creative description of the products, the price and how that product would be an ideal present.
- Chose whether and where you want to advertise. There are many options for advertisement and you need to decide whether this is something you want to do, whether you can afford it and if you do, where you want to be advertising. A classic one is obviously using Google Adwords or Google Shopping, just be aware that prices will most likely be higher for the bids as there will be a lot of people pushing for sales during that time period. It is also important that your ads are using strong “calls to action” such as “free shipping” and “Christmas sale” as examples.
You could consider Facebook Ads to get the word out as they are very simple to set up and won’t take up too much of your time. Or you could also consider looking at remarketing ads to reach people that have already been to your site and to specifically offer things based on their visiting habits
- If it is an option, offer Gift Wrapping. It is something I specifically look out for during the Christmas period. I am absolutely terrible at wrapping presents. I always feel awful when I hand over the presents that I’ve had to wrap myself as people might think that I hate them, based on the look of the wrapping. If a shop can offer gift wrapping then I am willing to pay extra for that service. It’ll also appeal to all the people that are leading lives that are too busy to find the time to wrap a lot of presents.
- Consider a Christmas redesign. You could revamp your website for the Christmas period. A good looking Christmas design will be a great way to inspire shoppers to buy from you. It shows that you are offering something specifically for Christmas and it might be nice to change things up for a short while. The good thing is that you can use that design for the next few Christmas years to come, so it won’t feel like a big investment for just one use. It doesn’t even need to be a full redesign. Just changing your logo up a little bit and having a few Christmas specific banners and boxes might well be enough to really smarten up your online shop for the holidays.
- Offer discounts. Offer a holiday sale, but remember that your sale doesn’t have to be exclusively on holiday items. Many shoppers will want to take advantage of the holiday season discounts not just for presents, but also for other items.
A successful Christmas
If you start early enough your Christmas this year will be a successful one. Just following a few of the nine steps should place you firmly onto a good track to be able to celebrate a Christmas that makes all the hard work that you put into it worth it. Good luck to you, but as you’re starting early, I don’t think you will need it!