Are you ready for the holiday rush?

This is probably your busiest time of year and as we head into Thanksgiving and all the madness that follows, (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.) it's important you are prepared and set yourself up for success. The past few weeks I've been tweaking little things here and there that will hopefully enhance my visitor's experience and make them more inclined to complete a sale. Below are six areas I want you to take a look at in your own shop to be sure you are making it as easy as possible for visitors to make a purchase.

FAQs

First, do you even have an FAQs page? I can't tell you how many times I've visited a small online shop and there are no frequently asked questions answered. If you don't have an FAQ page you need to get on it. Make it easy, not only on your customers, but on yourself, saving time from having to answer simple questions that could already be explained on your website. I improved my shop's FAQ page quite a bit last week to help make it easier for potential customers to find the answers to their questions so feel free to take a look! Some things to consider include: shipping costs, how your orders are packaged/shipped, and return policy. I've also added an FAQs section for each listing, as shown below. This way I can hopefully avoid the many emails I get asking the million dollar question, "where did you get the gold frame?". ;)

Reviews

"According to Internet Retailer, you can increase ecommerce conversion rate by 14-76% by adding product reviews to your online store." That's from an article on the Shopify blog (really great stuff!) and you can finish reading what they have to say about reviews here. I don't know about y'all, but I like the sound of those conversion rates! This is a relatively new feature on my website so I'm still trying to collect customer reviews, but when new people are sent to my site for Christmas shopping (daughters send mamas, wives send husbands!), I want to make them feel confident in their purchase. I obviously think our products are great but having feedback from real customers can help put a buyer at ease. I added this feature using the Product Reviews app, available in the app store for Shopify users.

Policies

This is an area that I myself need to do some work. I use the ecommerce platform Shopify and currently am using the template policies they provide. I have skimmed them over but I really need to take a good, hard look at them and change anything that doesn't work for me. I also need to make sure they are easily accessible on my website. Currently you don't see the link until you are going to check out. The template policies are great to have but I really need to make sure all of my bases are covered. How about you? Do you have policies listed?

Packaging

Do you know how each of your products will be packaged? If you can, try and share photos in the listing. If you have great packaging and the items are ready for gift giving, let them know that you're making their job that much easier. For me, packaging is part of our customer experience so this is one area I really want to step up my game. I'm going to try and have photos of each of our items packaged in the listings for customers to see.

Shipping & Handling

How will you pack each item for shipping? Do you know how much shipping costs (both materials and postage)? One of the biggest things that prevents a potential buyer from being an actual customer, is being shocked by the pricing once they get to checkout. Do you have shipping costs listed clearly? Try and make it known how much shipping will cost and how each package will ship. First Class with the USPS or Ground with FedEx? If your shipping is expensive, make sure you're showing them the value in what you're offering and how you'll send it. 

You have three days before Thanksgiving to knock these five areas out and I know you can do it. Schedule an hour or two and make sure you've made things as crystal clear as you can so there is no confusion for your customers and you have your back covered. This season is crazy enough without having problems that could have been prevented, arise.

Christmas Delivery Cutoff Dates

When is the last day your customers can order and still get their purchase before Christmas? The USPS cutoff for delivery by December 24th is the 20th for First Class and Priority Mail. I would give yourself a little more cushion because the USPS is known for long delays and lost packages. Also, pay attention to your vendor cut off dates. Make sure you can get your product in enough time to ship it out in the time you promise. It's also a good idea to have the cutoff dates clearly marked on your website.

Now, I wanna know - What have you done to get your shop ready for the holiday rush?


3 comments

  • Packaging is a game I’m really trying to up this year! And Rachel, I totally understand the struggle with wanting to draw people to your brand without sounding like a constant sales pitch!

    Margaret
  • Thanks, Rachel! :) Yes – your Holiday Favorites is a great way to drive traffic. Hopefully everyone who is participating will share their post with their audience (I know I will!) to introduce you to a new set of people. :)

    Stephanie Creekmur
  • I love all of your suggestions! In fact, they all seem great for any time of year, but especially when you hope to increase traffic and sales during the holiday season. I definitely think the holiday cutoff dates are super important so people clearly know when they need to have their order placed so they can get it in time. In addition to those things, I am doing some fun promotions on my blog to help drive more traffic to my site and shop (including the fun holiday favorites series that you so graciously helped me out with!). I am hoping that this can help to draw people to my brand and create awareness/exposure for my shop. But I am trying to keep them fun and inspirational to keep from sounding like a sales pitch all the time.

    Rachel

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