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Last-Minute Holiday Season Prep: What E-Commerce Businesses Should Do Now

Not completely prepared for the 2022 holiday season? That’s OK, but it’s imperative to start now. You’re going up against businesses that have been getting ready for months, if not more.

No matter where you’re at, we’ve compiled our top tips for last-minute holiday season prep, including:

6 Tips for Last-Minute Holiday Season Prep

Uh-oh! Not ready for the holiday season?

Here are six things you can do to catch up fast:

  • Get your inventory sorted as soon as possible. With shipping and supply chain delays still problematic, you don’t want to run the risk of not having merchandise or materials on hand when you need them most.
  • Make sure your website and communication strategy are ready to go. Think about which items you want to promote, special offers, as well as any banner messages you want prominently displayed, such as shipping information or specials. Be sure to test coupon codes, optimize the checkout process, and start teasing your holiday offers via email and social media ASAP.
  • If you’re really behind, consider paring back your offerings this year and focusing on top-performing items or kitting popular items together for an easy holiday promotion.
  • Hire holiday staff to handle tasks you’re not equipped to tackle, whether it’s stocking inventory, packaging, shipping or processing returns.
  • Alternatively, think seriously about outsourcing fulfillment (see more below). You won’t have to do any seasonal hiring (which may be slim pickings this late in the game) and can rest assured that everything after a customer completes an order will be handled seamlessly.
  • Spend time developing a quick, but effective marketing strategy for Black Friday (and Cyber Monday, if it applies). Ideally, you want shoppers to start buying before Thanksgiving weekend, which spreads out work for you and eases the shipping crunch. Big retailers like Target and Amazon have already held early October events in anticipation of holiday shoppers wanting to buy in advance.

10 Things to Double-Check Before Black Friday

We hope you’re feeling good-to-go for the 2022 e-commerce holiday season! Even if you’ve been ready to rock for months, here are 10 things to double-check before the big day.

  • Anticipate the shopping season to start well before Thanksgiving. People are trying to get ahead of inflation and supply chain delays more than ever this year, so they’re shopping early. Double-check that you’re ready should the surge of shoppers come sooner than anticipated.
  • Do a few dry runs of your website to ensure it’s as fast as you can possibly make it (on desktop and mobile). Did you know that even a 0.1-second bump in loading speed can increase conversions by over 10%? Have you had problems with your site running slow or crashing before? Now is the time to work them out.
  • Make sure you’ve dedicated time to implementing tactics for reducing cart abandonment.
  • Is your customer service team and chat support adequate for the surge of holiday shoppers?
  • No one wants to think about major upsets, but the best online retailers always have contingency plans just in case of problems with inventory or shipping. What if your best item sells out early? What if supply chain issues delay anticipated arrival dates of inventory? Imagine the worst-case scenarios for your business and come up with a “just-in-case” plan.
  • Review pricing, discounts and promo codes once more. Take some extra time to review your margins as well. Don’t forget to schedule social media posts to promote special offers and remember, shopping will likely start much earlier this year, so be sure your communications reflect that.
  • Return customers are every retailer’s bread and butter, so be sure to have a plan in place for incentivizing return visits to your shop. This list of marketing materials to include in e-commerce shipments is a good place to get started.
  • What about popular buy-now-pay-later programs? Do you have a way for customers to buy with a payment plan?
  • Double-check that your fulfillment processes, packaging materials and staffing are adequate for the surge. Be sure to hold training for any seasonal help now, before things get too busy.
  • Go over your return policy and have your best staff available to handle customers with issues. While traditionally January is the biggest return month, if shoppers buy in October, they could be returning items even before Thanksgiving.

6 Strategies for a Successful Holiday Season

Here are a few last strategies for making the most of the 2022 holiday season and beyond:

  • If you’re feeling confident about all of the above, it’s a good time to try out some new sales channels. If you promote your shop on Facebook and Instagram, why not experiment with TikTok?
  • Plan your email marketing campaigns now. Past customers are low-hanging fruit. Are there other lists you could mail to? Try teasers and warm-ups to introduce your campaign. Be sure to personalize as much as you can.
  • Brainstorm for other ways to get conversions once customers are online. Would they like to participate in a contest, receive a mystery discount, get free gifts, hourly deals or make a charity donation?
  • What are some cross-selling or up-selling tactics you could use to increase revenue once customers decide to buy an item? Free shipping at a certain dollar amount is a good place to start. Or if they buy two or more items, they receive a free gift (this is a great use for items that didn’t sell well in 2022).
  • If Black Friday doesn’t bring in the sales you hoped for, think about extending lower prices and other promotions until the holiday season is done.
  • Are you set up to generate detailed reports from the 2022 e-commerce holiday season that will help you in 2023 and beyond? The more granular you can get with data, the better prepared you’ll be next year.

Get Started with GLF E-Commerce Fulfillment

A great way to get a handle on the holiday shopping season is to outsource the most difficult aspect of e-commerce: fulfillment.

Even better, GLF E-Commerce Fulfillment can get you up and running in 24 to 48 hours.

With 20 years of experience in e-commerce fulfillment, GLF takes pride in offering transparent pricing, unmatched reliability and custom solutions. Our team takes the time upfront to learn your goals and work with you as a proactive partner to create custom solutions that grow your business.

To learn more, contact GLF today, and let us help make this your best holiday season yet!

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