Welcome to the dog days of summer. For most people, it’s a season full of poolside lounging, fireworks and vacations. For ecommerce entrepreneurs and those focused on social media marketing, it can be a tricky time however. ‘Tis the season for slow ecommerce sales and low Average Order Values.
But that doesn’t mean you should just sit back and relax. The online world of content creation and social media is constantly growing and in motion at all times. With this in mind, it’s actually the perfect time to start prepping your e-commerce store for the holiday season, while also taking advantage of what top social networks have to offer in the process.
These four tips will get you started, no matter the year!
Start the Hype Early
You want to engage customers with your sales promotions early and often. Start drafting comprehensive social media and email promotional schedules now so you can capitalize on fall sales as well as last-minute holiday spikes.
Remember, consumers start to scout out the hottest products well before there’s even a telltale chill in the air. You can capitalize on this eagerness by offering sneak peeks of your holiday lineup, early bird specials (that certainly beat driving to the mall at 0-dark-thirty to line up for physical door busters) and reposting user-generated content featuring your strongest sellers.
You can even hold giveaways asking shoppers to tag three friends or sign up for a mailing list to enter. However, it’s also a good idea to remove any fake or bot followers after each of your contest promotions. There are plenty of FB groups and automation tools out there for people to spam contests to increase their odds of winning, but offer no real value in the form on users to the brand running the contest. The important thing is to start planning and executing marketing endeavors in summer.
Plan for Inventory and Fulfillment
Your holiday season will take a turn for the ho-ho-horrible if you run out of inventory before Black Friday. Summer is the time to crunch those numbers and set your holiday product lineup. You need to know how much of what products you need to order to last through the frenzy that is the end of the year. As Practical Ecommerce advises, “Order more best-selling items with more lead-time than you would during the rest of the year. Expect delays. The last thing you want in November is to run out of stock on your best sellers.”
Keep in mind you may need extra time to photograph and write custom product listings for certain items, especially if they’re fresh additions to the store. You’ll also need a backup plan in case you run out of merchandise early. Strategize upselling and cross-selling methods so you can make every conversion count when the busy season hits.
Prepare Your Platform
Even worse than running out of inventory would be a site crash just as your sales start to heat up. Or trying to figure out brand new software right before your highest-earning sale of the year is due to go live. As the cliché goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Conduct an enterprise ecommerce solutions comparison to ensure your store is ready to go while you still have time to migrate to a new platform if need be. A cloud-based platform like Shopify will ensure your online store is scalable and flexible. This will enable it to accommodate the jump from slow summer sales to heavy winter traffic without costly downtime or an untimely server crash.
Make the Most Out of Social Media
No matter what social platform you prefer using, know that the world of social media is always active and there is always the potential for promotion of your latest holiday ecommerce promotions. Another great way to use social media to your advantage is to create a blog and spin hot topics trending on Facebook and Twitter, and using them to lure visitors back to your site. If you really want to attract the social media crowd over to your online store, be sure to come out with some custom coupon codes and discounts for each social platform. This is also a great way to track where sales are coming from.
If you are ever blank on ideas, simply look at any of the top online shopping sites and view their social profiles to see what they are currently updating their social media outlets with.
Think of Seasonal Events, Sports and World Events on Social Media
In addition to all of the key points mentioned above in reference to shopping and running deal promotions, it would be a mistake to not base promotions around existing events that happen in and out every year. A perfect example of this would be “March Madness” when many businesses and brands will launch campaigns around the concept of filling out a bracket and giving their audience a chance to win a big prize. This can be for actual college basketball teams, or complete custom to fit your niche or audience. If this is something of interest to you, check out this course on how to create a sports blog and target audience around the world with relevant content. This course will provide actionable tips on not just how to create a blog, but to also provide value to an audience and understand what they are looking for when they get to your site.
Keep Up on Market Trends
Last but not least, do your research. Know your industry inside and out. What’s going to be the product of the year? Better yet, what’s going to be the product of next year? This insider knowledge will help you cater your business to your customers’ holiday wishes.
Never underestimate the power of prepping your ecommerce store for the holiday season in summer. Getting a head start will boost your holiday revenue and position you as a major player in your market; failure to do so will paralyze your sales during what should be a very fruitful season for ecommerce.