The holiday season is all about those wonderful gifts, new clothes, social gathering and, of course, the good food. You can't ignore the colorful atmosphere of the festive season and the lovely rush that you see outside and online.
According to a National Retail Foundation survey, 4o percent of holiday shopping starts before Halloween, with another 41 percent in November and about 18.7 percent in December. Additionally, emarketer predicts this year that the retail holiday sales growth will reach 5.7 percent this year. As a seller, you need to buckle up and prepare away ahead of the season in order to make a happy & profitable ending. Here are five ways a business can prepare itself to tackle the holiday.
1. Prep Your Staff
You already have the data about the last year's holiday season and this should help you to prepare yourself and your staff to plan for this season. If you think that new staff needs to be hired, then arrange it so at the earliest possible time. Analyze the previous holiday season sales- repeat the strategy that worked good for you and alter the ones which didn't. Your staff needs to be empowered so that they know what's coming up. Train your team on how to engage with customers as there would be less time and more to do. The promotional offers, special discounts, and deals should reach to the target customers via social media, email marketing and other off line modes. Engage your customers before they are bombarded with all sorts of offers. The existing customers definitely should be treated special and the first-timers too shouldn't feel any less.
2. Use Live Chat Tactfully
Let you live chat system be a support system for your e-commerce business. People around the holidays are in a rush and they have no time to revisit your site to find things they didn't find the first time; they will simply switch to another one. Be sure that the staff is adequate and knowledgeable to use the live chat and is quick and skillful enough to resolve the matter in a jiffy. You can't afford to lose a single customer just because he or she didn't get a simple query resolved. The staff needs to be trained as well as authorized to solve any matter that comes to them. This saves the customer's time and increases your sales number. If you haven’t installed live chat yet, you can try tools like Tagove, Zopim, or Velaro.
3. CRM Is Your Friend
A quality Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system like a best friend who keeps all your secrets. This nothing-to-hide system is a blessing for small businesses especially around the holidays. The moment you take the call you know the history of the caller and this should be put to the maximum use. Use the detail of the existing customers to offer them something they weren't expecting so that they stick around to you even when the competition is tough and other offers attractive. Use CRM to do the thinking part and strategize the process to keep up with the existing customers and gain the new ones. Leading software tools like Skyward CRM and SugarCRM offer custom CRM solutions that fits your organization and help you in all means. They can customize your requirements as your business needs.
4. Gear Up Your Web and Mobile Sites
Whether people are shopping via desktop or through their mobile, make sure the website is never down. The website should be able to handle the traffic, and the transaction processing shouldn't take more than five minutes. Make arrangements so that the website is working round the clock. Also, have a backup plan in case of an emergency. Emarketer has predicted that the m-commerce sales are going to rise this year to 32.2 percent, almost double than the last year's 14.2 percent; so, if you aren't yet on mobile, you'll potentially lose out on a significant opportunity.
5. Plan Inventory and Delivery
You know what sold like hot cakes last year. A thorough analysis of the last year's sales would give you reason to stock up the items so that you never have to say no. The range of items with relation to the quality, quantity, and pricing should be stocked up ahead of time, before they become costly to you. Talk to your supplier for the number of items that you would need for the season and also have few other suppliers ready, maybe you would need them.
Stick to the delivery date that you promise your customers and make sure you stick to it. According to NRF, 46.7 percent of consumers said that shipping promotion or free shipping are important factors in their decision on where to shop. Communicate a realistic shipping date to your customer and make arrangements for it. We know you aren't a superman but an eagerly waiting customer may get miffed by the delay. So, the best thing is to strengthen your supply and make provision for the on-time delivery.