As we all know, now that Halloween is past, it’s time to start thinking about the holiday season! In reality, I hope you’ve been considering it for longer, but it’s not too late to ensure your ecommerce store is ready for all of the great shopping events left for the rest of the year.

The key steps all revolve around a few core concepts: make sure your site is technically ready, create a compelling campaign and promotional event, and get the word out as soon as possible. If you master those three tasks, you’ll be sure to rake in the profit this year, and gain many new loyal customers.

Know Your High Traffic Dates

An important factor in making sure your site and supplies are ready is predicting when most of your traffic will come in. This provides you with a solid deadline, and dates you know may be a little more exciting than the rest of the year – so you know to keep technical support on hand if at all possible!

  • November 11th – Singles Day (especially important if you serve a global audience)
  • November 25th – Black Friday
  • November 26th – Small Business Saturday
  • November 28th – Cyber Monday
  • December 13th – Green Monday (eBay’s shopping holiday, sorry environmentalists)
  • December 16th – Free Shipping Day (this is a great one to participate in)

Decide which date you’d like to focus on – though it’s a good idea to be ready as early as possible – and use that as your “due date” for having things ready.

Stress Test Your Site

This doesn’t apply if your store is hosted on a bigger platform, like Amazon, eBay or Etsy, but it’s incredibly important if you host your own website.

Have you ever shopped near the holiday season, especially on the big shopping days, and had the site crash on you? How many tries did you give it until you just went somewhere else for the same or similar product? If you abandoned your cart quickly, you’re not alone – almost half of consumers move on when a page doesn’t load quickly enough; consumers are so fickle that sites that load in 5 seconds make double the revenue of those that load in ten, even in the same industry.

There are plenty of resources available for free or reasonable costs (depending on your needs) that help you ensure your site will continue to service your customers as you intended it to – sites like BlazeMeter, AppDynamics, DynaTrace and New Relic are all reputable.

Get Your Marketing On Point

If you think that it’s too late for an effective marketing campaign, you couldn’t be more wrong. If you don’t have a strong holiday campaign going, time to start!

The one caveat I will say is that if you haven’t booked traditional media yet, it’s likely not something worth pushing for. Focus on online pushes, including search engine marketing – here’s a great webinar from Google to get you started – and social media marketing.

For content marketing, consider what your niche is. Do you have a particular audience that may be hard to shop for (tech enthusiasts, doctors, fashionistas, and hobbyists all work here)? Publish a list of gifts for their friends and family! Are your products generally needed at a particular time each year? Remind shoppers to get ready, and publish content on how to do so (including buying your product).

Lastly, don’t be afraid to push for B2B sales with the right promotion – they’re human too, and their mind will be swimming in sales. If you fit in, everyone will be more mentally prepared to buy, since that’s what they’re thinking about when they’re out of the office. Now is a surprisingly great time to work on generating leads and introducing new executives to your products, so that they’re ready to buy in the new year.

How are you getting ready for the holiday season? Do you have a doorbuster sale in the works, or are you pushing for social media domination? Have you stress tested? Let me know in the comments!