Tomorrow is October 1st. Yeah, I get it — it's not even Halloween yet.
But when it comes to doing eCommerce and getting your WordPress website “holidized”, the more we plan in advance the better your chance that things will go without a hitch. Especially considering we are planning on being very busy filling orders, right?
2020: A Year Like No Other
eCom growth for the first half of this year surged 30.1% over 2019. 18.6% for the first two quarters. The second quarter was up 44.4% year over year. When you look at the stats you can see these increases follow the lockdowns.
eCom was increasing year-by-year anyway. However, 2020 will be a bit different as it is expected that due to COVID, even more folks will be shopping online. Especially considering we don't know what lockdowns or restrictions may lay ahead.
This year, for some, there is an reason to avoid the crowds. So, they'll be turning to their computers. And you want to be ready and willing to accommodate their requests.
That's why getting a jump on your plan now and mapping everything out will help you to be able to manage anything that may arise. And believe me, no matter how well you do plan, there will still be issues (and opportunities) that pop-up and will require you take the time to address them pronto.
So the more we can solidify now, have in place and scheduled, the better. Follow these tips and get as detailed as possible. The more details, the better your plan.
1. Create Your Holiday eCommerce Calendar
Get out your calendar and map out the specific dates that are important.
- The date each of your promos will begin and end.
- Holiday related content posting schedule.
- When and what to post to each social media account.
- When to send email promos.
- Drop-dead order and ship dates by carrier.
Next create a blueprint for your WordPress website of where you will note shipping time frames and the last date orders need to be placed on your website.
- If you are on WooCommerce, having a note at the top of the cart page makes this information upfront and where customers cannot miss it.
- Also update your FAQ page to note your holiday schedule and drop-dead dates.
- If your WordPress theme includes sidebars, a little widget noting these dates in the sidebar is a good idea too.
- Top of page banners also help to inform no matter what page your customers are currently on.
We want to make sure customers are informed so that they can plan accordingly and so we can set realistic expectations.
Promo Dates to Schedule
- 45 days out: Announce some teasers or a pre-season promos. Provide info about your upcoming promos, including mailings just for current customers. Create strong calls-to-action so that folks can subscribe to be notified along the way so they don't miss out. Creating a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) can drive additional subscribers.
- 30 days out: Announce your upcoming promos and note any limitations (time, dates, quantity, etc.).
- 14 days out: Send a reminder of time-frames and deadlines.
- 7 days to go: Send your “one week left” reminder for “in time for the holidays” shipping.
- 1 day left: Last chance notice with details needed to act — now.
2. Construct Landing Pages & Posts
You want to focus. Create a landing page for each of your specific promos. This will serve to direct and guide customers on those specific products or promos. We want to provide the information necessary to their decision making process by not having any unnecessary distractions.
Stay away from templated layouts to avoid having each landing page look like the others. Each page should have it's own “personality”, images specific to that promo with a promo-specific content and calls-to action.
Schedule time to write posts that are holiday topic related too. For example, “12 Days of …” posts. Posts that include “gift ideas” (for kids, parents, significant other) or creating new holiday traditions (that include your products, of course). Get creative with your content — and imagery.
3. Design Holiday Bundles
Bundles are one of the over-looked ways to create an increase in your AOV (average order value) around the holidays. Take some time to really look at your data to see what visitors gravitate to and their paths.
You also know what your customers buy together. It should be easy for you to devise logical combos for one great price. Think about creating a “Holiday Care Package” bundle that targets what folks need, want or miss, due to COVID.
Creating limited time bundles, that provide a discount when items are purchased together vs. separately, is an up-sell that will make sense to your customers. All the while encouraging them to purchase more than they may have initially intended.
4. Assemble Social Media Posts, Product Images and Graphics
Graphic, content and social media post creation is very time consuming. Mostly because creating content and graphics that stand out, and that are unique to you and your promotions, is labor intensive.
Next, create folders on your computer for each promo. Then within each promo create a subfolder for each of your social media sites.
For each social site have a text file with your content bursts and the corresponding images (in the correct sizes for each platform) to go with them. You'll build a bunch more interest by having a schedule of unique images for each post, reminder and follow-up than re-posting the same image and text repetitively.
5. Don't Forget Current Customers
These are the folks who already know how great your products are and what a pleasure you are to do business with. They are already sold on doing business with you so let's use that to our advantage.
Reward them with a current customer only promo (or bundle) to show you appreciate their patronage and loyalty. Include some sort of unannounced bonus or freebie with their order so that they will be unexpectedly delighted. That's how you get them to come back after the holidays.
Wrapping Up ~ With a Bow
- Create your holiday promo and social calendar.
- Develop unique and different promo landing pages and posts.
- Put together logical and fun product bundles.
- Organize all your post, social media content and images by date/promo.
- Do something special for current customers.
Don't forget about holidizing your website with seasonal accents, graphics and images to reflect you are into the season. Sites without a holiday theme can be perceived as outdated or even abandoned.
One last important thing…
Making the entire purchasing process special will give you an edge. Little things like holiday packaging, tissue, holiday greetings and decorations that when your packages are opened they are clearly “holidized” will make an impression.
Even if COVID never happened, these tips help you to plan ahead and have a less stressful holiday season when it comes to your WordPress eCommerce website. I call this strategy the three “Ps”: Plan + Process = Profit.
At your service,