Fourth Quarter is the time of year that most consumer-based businesses make or break their year. If online sales figure significantly into your marketing strategy, your Web site needs to be tuned and ready to help contribute to your bottom line during this critical three month period.
Here are a couple of things to check to make sure your Web site helps you have a profitable holiday season.
1.) Dress up your online store for the holidays.
Just because your customers are shopping online doesn’t mean they’re not in the same holiday spirit as their mall-roaming counterparts. Add some holiday graphics to your site to give a holiday look and feel.
2.) Make sure your product selection is maximized.
If you don’t have your entire inventory online, make sure that the products you DO have available are the ones that will sell at this time of year. Make sure you have adequate stock to handle the demand. e-commerce is growing exponentially, and your sales on the Web will be significantly higher than (if not multiples of) what you did last year. Monitor your stock levels and adjust your online offerings daily if necessary.
3.) Handle your online orders quickly.
If your online orders come to you via email or go to an online database, check those orders frequently… you will have record numbers of people submitting orders and you want to give yourself enough time to process, pack and ship those orders. Prompt fulfillment will endear you to your e-customers, and will guarantee repeat business.
4.) Make sure your e-commerce operation is manned effectively.
Fulfillment of online orders is more than an administrative task. If your brick and mortar sales effort is based on customer service and helpful, credible sales people, carry that philosophy over to the Web. Have salespeople, not office people, be responsible for your order fulfillment. If you’re out of stock on an item, a helpful suggestion for a substitute is better than a terse, impersonal “out-of-stock” email. If your floor salespeople suggest add-ons or substitutions, do the same on the Web. Sure, it will take a little more work, time and effort, but that’s what builds successful businesses!
5.) Post your Deadlines.
Make sure you clearly state the dates that products will need to be ordered to arrive in time for the holiday. If you’re new to shipping products, you’ll need to do your homework, so you can give your customers information they can count on. Post that information clearly so there’s no misunderstanding.
6.) Maintain a mailing list of your holiday shoppers.
That way you can send an email next year inviting them back to shop with you again.
Implement these steps and achieve your goals to end the year on great note. Make Y2K mean P2YBL (Profit to your Bottom Line).