It’s not secret that the holiday season is the most profitable time of the year for many businesses especially those in retail. Some make up to 40% of their yearly revenue in the last quarter alone, according to Shopify. On the other hand, there are also those winding their businesses down for the holidays.
Whatever it is you are doing during the holidays, here’s a checklist to make the most of the season before you put on your “out of office” and hit the beach this season.
1. Prepare your website to capture more holiday shoppers and/or visitors. If you are using Google Adwords this is the best time to create remarketing lists for people who visit between now and Christmas. You can use these audience lists in future campaigns in 2018, either in Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) or display remarketing. Keep in mind that in order to track these users, you must create an audience list before the holidays start. By new year, you can set the right bids and messaging for those users.
2. Update and spruce up your website. Almost everyone will be doing some shopping online or researching products or retailers online. To take advantage of peak season for website traffic, you should:
– Update imagery on your website for the holidays – see Kogan’s cute example below
– Showcase special products that you’re selling. Make sure to use high quality images for your products. The photos should remain clear, even when zoomed in on, and really highlight the details of your products.
– Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. As more shoppers are using their mobile devices to surf the web and/or shop, so it pays to make sure your website looks good on small screens.
– Test your shopping cart checkout feature to make sure it’s working properly.
– Consider writing a holiday-themed blog post, or create a gallery of holiday-themed products that you sell and post it on your website or blog.
– Update your hours of operation to include any upcoming holiday changes, such as extended hours or days you’ll be closed, if you have a bricks and mortar store.
3. Check/track your inventory. Your business’s success relies on your ability to deliver what your customers are looking for so they don’t search elsewhere.
Use your data (e.g. sales last year) to gauge the products that resonated best and worst with customers. Remember, it can be just as bad to order too much of a product as it is to run out of product that’s in high demand. Having shelves stocked with inventory that’s not moving is a profit killer.
If you don’t have previous data to compare make sure you have system to track your sales currently.
4. Prepare and schedule your holiday newsletter. Regardless of your business operations during the holidays, it is always a great idea to send out a holiday-themed newsletter to your subscribers. Use this opportunity to thank loyal customers. Share your future plans, products to launch or any news that your subscribers can look forward to from you.
5. Schedule your social media posts for the week before, during and after your scheduled days off. Your social media posts don’t need not take a vacation with you. In fact social media use often peaks over holidays as people have time to scroll through their social feeds. If you don’t have someone to take care of posting during the holidays, then schedule your social media posts using a social media management platform like Hootsuite or Buffer. It’s always nice to remain in your fans’ newsfeeds even if your business took a quick break during the holidays.
6. Manage staff. If you are not closing doors during the holidays, be sure to talk to your staff ahead of time to find out if anyone will be taking time off. Hire extra staff, if needed, to cover extended hours your business may be open.
7. Prepare your business plan and strategy for January. Don’t just plan for the days you are away. Plan as well for the first few days when you get back. The first few weeks of the new year are often slow given the chaotic days prior to it. You can use this as an opportunity to get started with some fresh ideas for your business. Work on your marketing plan for the whole year to get ahead of your competitors.
Proper planning ahead of time will prevent you from scrambling to meet deadlines and miss opportunities. These steps will also give you the confidence to step away from your desk and enjoy a much needed break.
Remember, you need this time to relax and recharge to prepare for a more bountiful year ahead.