TLDR; Summary

Most of the information online about holiday readiness has to do with website performance and security.The tips they give you are things like “make sure your website can handle the extra influx of traffic,” “create a hassle-free customer experience,” “create a mobile-friendly site, “make the checkout process easy,” “secure your backend,” “invest in content updates and other SEO tactics,” “get more customer reviews,” and even “clean up your site to get rid of ugly fonts.”

In my opinion, those are things that should be addressed all the time throughout the year, long before the holiday shopping season starts. Those are the basics and quite honestly, if you are just looking at ugly fonts and security issues now, it is too late. SEO tactics sounds like a webmaster trying to sell their services, not get you more holiday sales.

What I want to do is share with you specific things you can do NOW that will impact your Q4 sales, especially during the holidays.

Plan and Prepare

Start with your inventory and make sure you are stocked up, especially on your best-selling products and the items you plan to promote during your holiday specials. Identify the digital assets you will need and start creating them. Prepare graphics, sales copy, videos, social media posts, and coupons around your plan so they are ready to go.

Pay attention to your calendar. Amazon created a second Prime Day event this year that started on October 11th. This is really the start of the holiday shopping season, so your marketing should really already be in motion. Here are the other dates to consider:

  • Halloween – October 31
  • Thanksgiving – November 24
  • Black Friday – November 25
  • Small Business Saturday – November 26
  • Cyber Monday – November 28
  • Green Monday December 12
  • Free Shipping Day – December 14
  • Christmas – December 25
  • Boxing Day – December 26
  • Hanukkah – December 18 to 26
  • Kwanzaa – December 24 to 31
  • New Years Eve – December 31

Of these, Cyber Monday is the single biggest day of the year for online spending, followed closely by Tuesday immediately afterwards, then Black Friday. The days from Black Friday through that Tuesday are often called the Cyber 5 and the week starting with Cyber Monday is referred to as Cyber Week. As I mentioned above, make sure you have your marketing materials in place at least a couple of weeks before these days so you can hit the ground running.

Consider the Lifetime Value of a Customer

Often, retailers worry about maximizing their profits during the 4th quarter, but I encourage you to take a different approach and take a look at the long-term picture. You want to entice first-time buyers and position your online store to a brand new audience where you can build market share and keep those customers coming back to you throughout the year (and for years to come).

How Can You Get Your Online Store Ready For The Holiday Season?

Now for the good stuff – here is the list of items you can implement to help you increase your online sales this holiday season. You don’t need to do them all, but sort through these and see which ones make sense for your business.

Here are the specific, actionable tips you can take tight now.  Many of these involve aplugin that needs to be installed on your website. If you need help implementing any of these, give us a call at 303-688-6560.

1. Save Cart for Later

Let a customer save their cart so they can purchase later. This makes it easier for a potential customer to make a buying decision. WPC Save for Later for WooCommerce will add a little but powerful button under each item on the cart page that allows buyers to save products for later with ease. These items will appear on the Saved for Later list right under the main items on the cart so that customers won’t forget to include them in their next order. Moving a product from the cart to the Save for Later list or vice versa only takes 1 click.

2. Show Order By Dates

You can simply add text to your website to let people know when is the last day they can order a product and get it before a certain date (such as Christmas). The Order Delivery Date for WooCommerce is a plugin that helps you to give your customer the power of selecting order delivery date & time during the WooCommerce checkout. This plugin lets you deliver a personalized shopping experience where the user can pick a delivery date and time at their convenience.

3. Show Countdown for Sales

Countdown leading up to the sale, and then during the sale a countdown for how much longer the sale will last. WooCommerce countdown timer helps to motivate customers purchasing. Many shop owners use WooCommerce countdown timer in sale events, promotions to boost sale, improve sales and revenue. The plugin can display WooCommerce countdown timer any pages by shortcodes. It is a must-have plugin for encouraging customers to purchase by creating urgency psychology.

4. Payment Options

Add PayPal or other Third Party Payment options – let the customer pay you in the way that is most convenient for them, not you. For example, Checkout with Venmo on WooCommerce is a great option for many younger buyers that I have added to my own site.

5. Push Upsells and Cross-sells

Add cross-sells on the product page and upsells at the cart level. Upsell Order Bump Offer for WooCommerce is an upselling plugin that facilitates store owners to make special offers exclusively on their checkout page, enabling them to increase their conversions and Average Order Value. The offer gets added to the customer’s existing order in just a single click. Show your customers an Exclusive Offer deal at an unbelievable price at the moment they have already decided to purchase.

6. Display Scarcity Messaging

“Only X Left”, “X People have this in their Carts”, “X People viewing this product now” – Pick one (don’t use all these at the same time). HurryTimer is a multi-purpose countdown timer that allows you to create urgency and scarcity that drives clicks, increases sales, and highlights upcoming events or deadlines. With this plugin you can give each visitor their own unique countdown timer regardless of their local timezone and the moment they visited your site. It’s a great way to boost conversion by creating a feeling of scarcity, urgency and exclusivity. Or, You can run a campaign between two fixed dates. No matter who visits your site the countdown timer is the same. It’s a great way for event-based sales with a firm deadline.

7. Make Your Return Policy Easy to Find

Locate a link near the add to cart button or add a tab right on the product page. This can be done using Booster for WooCommerce (which has a ton of other features as well. You could also make your Return Policy simpler just for the holiday season and show it as a popup.

8. Add Chatbots and/or Real-Time Chat

Make sure the chat is prominent and that your support team is able to respond quickly. When customers have questions, you can quickly answer them while they are in a buying mood. WoowBot is a SIMPLE and Native WordPress eCommerce ChatBot with zero configuration or bot training required. This plug n’ play chatbot or conversational, eCommerce shopbot does not require any 3rd party service integration. This is a simple eCommerce ChatBot that lets your woocommerce shoppers search and find the right product quickly. If the shopper does not find the product they are searching for, they can email the shop admin directly from the ChatBot window.

9. Add a Wishlist

This is a great way to let family and friends know what you’d like. A wishlist is one of the most powerful and popular tools in an ecommerce shop. The Yith WooCommerce Wishlist plugin allows you to share the wishlist with relatives and friends for Christmas, birthdays and similar occasions so they can buy them one of the products from the list. You can also share the wishlist on social networks and get indirect advertising for your store.

10. Gift Cards

Add gift cards if you aren’t already using them. This is perfect for last minute gifts as well as hedging against supply chain issues. The WooCommerce Gift Cards plugin makes it easy to sell gift cards to your store. Similar to Amazon.com gift cards, the customer can specify the amount, recipient, and message when purchasing. Integrates into your theme to make redeeming a gift card easy for the customer. Applies the balance after tax, just like cash. New balance shown on the cart and checkout pages.

11. Offer Financing Options for More Expensive Products

Help customers to make payments for the products they buy using a partial payment or a deposit. WooCommerce Deposits and Partial Payments Plugin helps customers to make payments for the products they buy using a partial payment or a deposit. With the partial payment WooCommerce extension, you can handle the partial payments, force a deposit or let customers pay a percentage or a fixed price upfront.

12. Give Your Website a Holiday Look

An easy and effective holiday marketing idea is making your website festive. I am not suggesting you redesign your entire website. Instead, you can tailor your store for the Holiday season with just a few festive additions and marketing efforts. For example, you can create banners and hero images to promote your Black Friday or Christmas sales. Check out Pixabay or Pexels and do a search for “Christmas” or “Holiday” as a great starting point. You can then add your own text or logo to create a holiday specific banner for your site.

Without any sort of holiday content, you’re risking a high amount of potential sales and conversions. It’s the busiest time of the year, and customers want to go to your eCommerce site and look for holiday deals. If there’s nothing new on your eCommerce site, customers will leave and navigate to a site that does have deals they’re looking for.

13. Offer Gift-wrapping Services

Gift Wrap Plus app is a complete solution for Gift Wraps on a Shopify store. With this app, customers can select from different options and add a gift message before adding to their cart.

Gift Wrapper is a WooCommerce plugin that treats your wrapping service as a WooCommerce product, allowing it to be inventoried, priced, and taxed separately. Create and offer as many gift wraps as you like, where you like.

14. Give Your Customers Presents

Much like a lead magnet, consider giving your customers a present when they purchase anything on your website. If this is branded merchandise (such as a t-shirt or ball cap),  then your customers may end up advertising your site for you! This could be cheaper than any other form of promotion you might do.

15. Offer Free Shipping

I’ve talked about this often, but unlike the tech ideas I mentioned at the beginning of this article that should be implemented throughout the year, free shipping can be used as an incentive during the holiday season. At least add it with a purchase threshold and take advantage of Free Shipping Day as a special promotion. 90% of shoppers have testified that free shipping is their top incentive to buy more. So, offer free shipping – especially during the holiday season.

16. Utilize Multiple Channels

If you are only selling on a single channel, such as your own store, or just on Amazon, this is a good time to branch out. The more channels you sell on, the more chances customers have to find you and the greater your chances for increasing your revenues, both during the holiday season and into the new year.

Last week, I shared with you an article about wholesale marketplaces, but if you are in retail, you will want to explore options like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Overstock, and Walmart in addition to  selling on Social Media.

Did you get some great ideas from this list? Do you have other ideas you use to increase your online sales during the fourth quarter? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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