The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and for e-commerce businesses, it’s a critical time of year. SwiftHub understands the significance of careful planning and foresight in the lead-up to this peak season. In this article, we’ll delve into the most common mistakes that businesses can make before, during, and after the holiday season and provide invaluable guidance on how to avoid them. Let’s get started, as time is of the essence!
- Insufficient Planning: Congratulations, you’re already on the right track by reading this article. Start by creating a comprehensive to-do list that covers demand forecasting, sales targets, marketing strategies, pricing plans for each SKU, setting key performance indicators (KPIs), confirming supplier lead times, and notifying SwiftHub about promotions and anticipated sales volumes. Be sure to plan for necessary website updates and fulfillment operations well in advance of mid-November.
- Website Issues: Nothing is more frustrating than a website crash during peak sales days. Ensure your online store is optimized for mobile traffic, rigorously tested for potential issues, and in prime condition before your first promotion. All non-urgent web development projects should be put on hold during this period.
- Overemphasis on Black Friday/New Year Holiday: Spreading out your promotions over a longer period can reduce the risk of being overwhelmed. Launch your Black Friday promotion on the Monday before and extend it for a week or more. Consider running various specials throughout December to reach a wider audience and alleviate pressure on your fulfillment center.
- Shotgun Marketing: Avoid haphazard marketing approaches by focusing your efforts where your target customers are. Monitor the performance of your paid search ads, emails, and social media ads and utilize retargeting campaigns to engage with previous customers.
- Relying on a Single Sales Channel: Today’s shoppers are everywhere, from social media platforms to marketplaces, mobile apps, branded websites, and brick-and-mortar stores. Expand your reach by offering multiple sales channels or, even better, an omnichannel experience, provided that your fulfillment center is equipped for multichannel fulfillment.
- Lack of a Pricing Strategy: Establishing competitive prices can be challenging, especially on platforms like Shopee, Lazada,…. Begin by understanding the landed cost of each item. Research competitors’ prices and utilize dynamic pricing tools to automatically adjust prices to stay competitive.
- Poor Quality Data: Real-time, accurate data is essential for decision-making. Use tools like Google Analytics to track clicks, traffic sources, and website shopping behavior. Utilize pricing analytics tools for competitive pricing and automated repricing when necessary.
- Poor Product Descriptions or Photography: Don’t leave your customers searching for basic information. Product descriptions should be detailed, including essential product information and keywords. High-quality product photography should display the product from various angles and accurately represent colors.
- Inadequate Inventory: Avoid stockouts by closely monitoring supply chain lead times and leveraging historical data. Order early, if possible, to ensure your merchandise is in place before the holiday rush begins. Consider utilizing demand forecasting solutions suitable for your business’s size and budget.
- Excess Inventory: Recognize that sales forecasts may not be 100% accurate. Have a backup plan for excess inventory, such as bundling products to increase the average order value or lowering prices to clear out unsold merchandise post-holidays.
- Shipping Delays: Plan conservatively for incoming freight and keep SwiftHub informed. If possible, utilize multiple warehouse locations to reduce shipping costs and provide backup options. Be transparent with customers regarding delivery times, avoiding unrealistic guarantees.
- Neglecting Customer Communication: When issues arise, prompt and transparent communication is key. Contact affected customers, explain the reason for delays, and detail the steps being taken to resolve the situation. SwiftHub advises owning up to any mistakes and offering solutions, ensuring customer satisfaction. Follow up on inventory and fulfillment issues in January and learn from them.
We hope SwiftHub’s guidance helps you maximize your holiday season success. If you find the holiday season overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out. With a wealth of experience serving e-commerce businesses, SwiftHub is prepared to assist you in scaling up for peak seasons, offering tech integrations, a user-friendly management system, and carrier-agnostic shipping solutions. Contact us before Peak Season 2024 to ensure a smoother holiday experience.