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Hi everyone,

It’s that time of year when you should start preparing your store for the holiday season (if you haven’t already!). 

There are several factors to consider and I will be covering them in a number of blogs over the next few weeks.

  • Decide now which items you are going to offer on sale - Order extra stock to meet the increased demand, stock ordering is a delicate art as over-ordering can be almost as costly as under-ordering. Have some banners created with images of your sale items against a seasonal background, these can be used on your store’s website and in your email newsletters.
  • Ensure the servers your store is hosted on can cope with the increase in traffic –If you are on a physical server shared with hundreds, or even thousands of other ecommerce stores (which is often the case with low price hosting), your store may suffer from long page load times and even downtime as the number of people shopping online increases. If you are planning on spending a considerable amount of money on advertising (e.g. a radio advert or a PPC campaign) you especially need to ensure your store can cope with the increased visitor load. You wouldn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing campaign only for your store to be offline when the masses come calling! If you host your store on VP-ASP’s cloud servers you have nothing to worry about, our servers are designed to cope with traffic spikes. If not, and you are concerned about your current hosting provider go to our hosting page to find out how easy it is to switch to VP-ASP Hosting. 
  • Give your store some seasonal spirit - Create new categories in your store such as ‘Gifts for Him’ or ‘Children’s Gift ideas’. Also consider hiding products which you don’t think will be popular over the holiday season to free up room for your seasonal items.
  • Clearly display your shipping / returns policy - Your customers will only buy from you if they are confident that - a) their purchase will be delivered in time for Christmas and b) they can return the products after Christmas if they wish. Ensure your policy can be easily found and is laid out clearly. 
  • Attract extra customers with seasonal marketing – The holiday period is when the big companies spend most on marketing. Unless you have a spare hundred thousand dollars or so to spare for your marketing, it is unlikely you will be able to compete with the big boys. Instead, focus on your niche, this way your competition is reduced and you know that the traffic your marketing attracts is interested in your niche. If you have a blog, use it to promote your holiday sales and to provide gift ideas, make sure you include key words / phrases related to your niche for example ‘Christmas gifts for golfers ’ or ‘gifts for gardeners’ - these are the phrases people will be typing into their search engines.
    Target your existing customers ahead of new customers, existing customers are 80% more likely to purchase from your store than new customers. Send existing customers an email containing a coupon code for free shipping or 20% off to ensure they come back to you rather than looking elsewhere.
That’s all for now but I will be back next week with more tips on preparing your store for the holiday season.

Happy Selling!

Gareth Sales

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