The Ultimate Guide To Prepare Your Online Store For The Festive Season

If you’re doing a business of any sort, you know all about the festive season and rise in sales volume.

Moreover, Diwali is just to start in next couple of days that is supposed a festival of victory of good over evil.

And, the Halloween is also arriving at the end of this month on October 31.

But, the most important, these both festivals open myriad benefits for the people like us working in sales and marketing industry.

So, almost every marketing channel is busy promotional activities and trying to lure more customers with the great offers & discounts from right now.

My mailbox receives at least 50 special promotional offers every day since the last week from a number of e-commerce sites like Amazon & Flipkart, etc. You might also be experiencing the same.

Am I right?

I think you have forgotten about the Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Traditionally, these days have the religious and cultural background and celebrated around the Thanksgiving Day.

But, at the same time, you can find a ton of deals and special offers for purchasing different products and services at a very low cost.

You might be wondering why I’m saying this all.

Yes! There is a reason.

If you are an online entrepreneur or owner of an e-commerce store, you need to decide your strategies for this entire season.

But before starting out, let’s see some of the interesting stats.

According to the SEMrush, overall transactions increase to 2x during the Diwali where male dominates the market with average 70% of purchases against 30% of females.

The keyword “Diwali lights online” has the highest competition because many big brands including Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, and ShopClues are advertising heavily while “Diwali crackers online” is the most searched long-tail key phrase found in SEMrush.

What can I say about the Halloween? Though it’ll be celebrated after a couple of weeks, you already know the craze of it among kids as well as adults.

Halloween stores are ready to cater every need of their customers including costumes, decorations, and gadgets, etc.

And, when we look back to the stats of Holiday Season Performance of 2016 (November 1 – December 31), these couple of months had record-high $91.7 billion of total online sale. (Source: CMO by Adobe). There’s a lot to learn from this prosperous sales opportunity!

So, in case, you haven’t started your online business yet, this is time to shift up gear because it’s never too late to start.

You can read my previous blog post to get help for how to start an online store [Step-by-step].

Looking Forward Towards the Opportunities

With a great chance of getting in retail, the upcoming festive season is extending out to give crowds more discounts & special offers enhancing their buying decision.

As the big retail brands like Amazon and Flipkart release different deals throughout this season with up to 80% price-cut or even more, small retailers need to be smart about which discounts should they offer and when.

Using big data, these businesses can build the strategies about which items to put on sale to achieve maximum profit, only slashing down prices when other sale methods aren’t working or seem too expensive.

Here are some tips to improve your sales performance during this season.

Keep Your Eyes on Analytics

You already know the importance of the analytics but more specifically you need to study about SEO factors like keywords, search volume, competition and historical data, etc.

Analytics for your e-commerce store

However, researching about other factors like CPC and competitors price range may also help you if you going with paid promotion.

These activities are necessary to cater the better deals to your customers without compromising much on price.

Another benefit of analytics is that you can predict which products will get the most sales including the tech toys, electronics, game accessories or apparels, etc.

Shopping Advisors/Reviewers

It’s hard to most of the businesses to answer how to cater the crowds as consumers are seeking expert advice before making a buying decision.

There are many industry experts and reviewers influencing people about what products should they buy and what not. Especially, the celebrities, bloggers, and YouTubers having huge following can decide where to lead their customers.

So, to make the most of this festive season, you must be literally spying the web to capitalize on these opportunities.

Note that not every opinion about your brand or competitor is true, there are a few fake reviewers too who ruin the reputation of any brand just for their sake and get maximum commissions via affiliate marketing.

Keep a solid plan ready to get rid of such people in an effective manner.

Look Towards Specific Places for the Best Deals

As I said earlier, spy on your competitors and find the best deals available online.

What products they are using, their prices and other policies and where you can beat them.

Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and decide what better you could offer to your customers without misleading them or compromising much on value or profit.

In case, you have genuine customers who are expecting the best deals throughout this season from their favorite seller (of course, you) that they can’t get anywhere, tailor your sales techniques so you can offer them something impressive.

Consider combining two or more sales and including free bonus items as additional gifts or incentives.

And, how could you forget about free shipping? The word “Free” alone attract more people though it’s not actually free.

Don’t Wait till the Last Minute

Though the festive season has just started, don’t wait until the last moment to start your marketing campaigns.

Start building traffic sources in advance. This includes SEO, starting a blog and collecting email addresses to send your newsletter or offers, social media optimization, building a hype around your brand with viral contents or news and running periodic limited time deals/giveaways.

With all this, make sure your website is functioning well and can render within a blink of the eye with enough load. If not, switch to the better web hosting and configure it for the best possible performance index and optimum loading speed.

Technical Aspects to Online Store For the Festive Season

Other technical things like SSL certificate, CDN (Content Delivery Network), caching, etc. are also similarly important.

How can I forget about the Image optimization?

Though eye-catching images & visual elements attract more people, leaving them unoptimized could be a huge risk you are taking.

You need not be a code-savvy here, but make sure you have compressed the images that you upload to your site including the product images.

Don’t forget to add Alt Text, caption, description and especially a custom URL to get a few quick conversions.

For the website look i.e. layout, it should be well-optimized for retention of visitors and be leading them into your sales funnel.

Updating the navigation to better buyer’s journey and testing all contact points like contact form, support phone numbers & email addresses, live chat feature, social media links and self-support options including knowledgebase & documentation can greatly help you to reduce further headaches.

Always remember, the first impression is the last impression.

Do all the preparation at least a month in advance. If you haven’t, either you are not serious about your venture or may be facing big problems during your peaks.

It’s never too late to start. So, look into these all things and also run a quick inventory check. This way, you’ll have all your props and players in place, when the curtain goes up.

If it’s not possible to your in-house team, hire an expert freelancer or agency to work behalf of you.

Make Sure Everyone Knows About Your Brand!

I have discussed how to build audience beforehand but you can’t rely only on that particular list as it could be limited to get you an expected revenue.

So, let everyone know about your brand and products/service you are selling. Work on brand awareness through social media and display ad networks.

Occasionally, you can send mass emails or SMS blast, but make sure to keep its frequency optimum and focus more on Open rate/CTR. Another thing to take care that your messages are visible to your audience and not going in the spam folder.

Thorough testing and analytics could be useful in that situation.

Other promotional activities like podcasting, influencer marketing, and optimized PPC campaigns can also be helpful.

For your existing customers, you can recommend the related products or services not only through the emails or SMS but even when they are shopping on your site. You can use custom codes or some WordPress plugins to add this functionality.

Make sure, you are providing the value to your visitors along with a great user experience to lead them in your well-optimized sales funnel.

Get Mobile ready

If you look at the analytics, mobile commerce is getting massive results during this season. Be ready for it.

According to the Adobe Digital Insights report 2016

  • The distribution of website visitors during November and December for desktop computers, smartphones, tablets was the 50-41-9 percent respectively.
  • 69% of sales made over those couple of months took place on the desktop computers, 21% were on smartphones, and the least 10% were on tablets.

While the smartphones & tablets weren’t the leading sources of sales or the tools most visitors made their online purchases through, they still greatly contributed to the massive success of last year’s e-Commerce spending.

So, always make sure your website is 100% responsive across all devices and browsers.

Mobile Responsive Website for your online store

Check whether it’s rendering smooth on mobiles using Google’s Mobile-friendly Test tool and all links are working fine especially shopping cart and checkout.

Don’t just rely on tools available online, do some testing yourself using a smartphone and a tablet if you have one.

If it’s possible, invest some budget in a mobile app. This will help you to send the push notifications and remind the customers about the active offers and discounts because people are highly active on mobile devices.

However, you can send mobile push notification for abandoned cart recovery as well as remind them about Wishlist products and limited time deals.

Be More Customer-centric

People prefer online shopping mostly for deals to save some extra bucks and the convenience of avoiding the crowds occur during the festive season versus a brick and mortar shopping.

Now, it’s your responsibility as a seller to make their shopping experience great as possible as you can. Having enough staff to handle every single task seamlessly, sufficient supplies & tools to process orders and deliver the promise is more important than any other tasks.

Keep everything as simple as possible, and your deals easy to understand, access, and cash in. Never let your customers go somewhere else for some silly mistakes.

You can also use following tactics to lure customers.

Incentivizing Wallet Payment

You can announce special offers for wallet payment which is more convenient for the people using smartphones and tie-up with certain payment processing/wallet companies to handle your financial transaction.

It’ll help you give people special benefits to use wallet like cashback points or extra discount and reduce your complex multi-tasking.

Bank Tie-Ups

The people who shop online normally pay using credit/debit cards/mobile wallets. So, you can tie-up with the certain bank(s) and give your customer a chance to save extra by shopping in your store.

For example, Amazon has tied-up with SBI or Flipkart with HDFC & Axis providing 5 to 15% off.

Offer Gift Cards

If your online store is large and popular enough where you think that gift cards/vouchers would get some traction, then definitely start advertising them on your site.

Diwali gift vouchers

Put a promotion for them on the top of your homepage or special spots including navigation bar, sidebar widget or pop-ups.

If you are creative, don’t mind giving a festive touch to all your marketing campaign as well as store too. It’ll help you to connect better with your customers.

Putting It into Practice

Now, you have got a few more idea to promote your store during this festive season and upcoming cyber week. There are many other sources you can use to learn about what, where, who and how to tailor your sales and marketing campaigns for this opportune time to achieve maximum success.

If you have other ideas, don’t mind to share with our readers. Write down your views about this article in the comment box below and be a part of this nearly $100 billion sales cycle.

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