Kerry Murdock with Practical eCommerce was interested in including a few ecommerce merchant tips from us in his article on holiday preparations to help out merchants looking towards the holiday.
The following are a few paragraphs discussing what I would suggest for other merchants for the holidays:
- Make sure all of your website improvement projects are scheduled and are targeted to end in September so that you have plenty of time to test and launch the projects to your e-commerce website in early October at the latest. Avoid launching new projects in November or December
- Plan for inventory availability. Either make sure vendors are committing to hold stock for you, or provide solid inventory forecasting plans to vendors so that you don’t run out of the best selling products. In cases of long lead time you should already have product on order to satisfy forecast demand. Take seasonality into account. In many industries holiday buying differs from the rest of the year.
- Make sure you have an escalation plan for marketing. Like any aspect of your business all marketing and advertising aspects need to be planed in advance. Traffic to your site is much more likely to make a purchase in November December then it is in any other part of the year.
- Operationally, make sure that your facility is ready for the increase in inventory coming in so that you are able to manage it. And make sure that you have the personal and the systems ready to handle the increase in volume. Shipping on time during the busiest days is very crucial as customers expect to get their gifts on time.
- Plan for the increase in phone orders and customer service questions. You can’t just hire additional reps in November and expect them to be knowledgeable in your business. Allow time for proper training.