The November-December period is usually crucial for e-commerce brands. And for good reason: many of them record a peak in sales, linked to the preparation of the end-of-year holidays.
As this peak season approaches, you can't leave anything to chance. You must anticipate the increase in traffic on your online store, the increase in the number of your orders, or an unusual volume of requests from your customer service.
One word of advice: anticipate!
You don't know how to do it? Sqwad helps you to take stock of the situation in this article, and gives you its checklist to get ready as well as possible. 📋
Why it's essential to be well prepared for the peak e-commerce season
The peak season corresponds to the period before and after the end of the year holidays, with the winter sales. A period marked by a surge in consumption. Indeed, e-commerce transactions in France during the Christmas period continue to increase year after year and more than a third of gifts are now purchased online.
For some e-commerce brands, the peak season starts every year at the end of November with Black Friday, which takes place the day after Thanksgiving, and sometimes extends to "Cyber Monday", or even throughout "Black Week". These brands do not hesitate to break prices and to deploy vast marketing operations for the occasion.
It must be said that consumers in search of bargains are definitely present : according to figures published by the analysis firm GfK Market Intelligence, the Black Friday 2021 turnover reached 784.2 million euros, and 39% of purchases were made on the Internet.
But more and more brands decide to boycott this commercial event straight from the United States and denounce overconsumption. This is how the Green Friday movement was created, to which brands such as Hamac, which offers washable diapers, or the brand of ethical sneakers N'Go Shoes adhere.
In any case, Black Friday or not, some e-commerce brands record up to the majority of their annual turnover on this end of year period. It is therefore essential to do everything possible to maximize your sales and the performance of your operations for this highly strategic period.
Getting ready for the peak e-commerce season: the ultimate checklist
✅ Make sure you cover the basics
It goes without saying, but before getting ready for the peak season, you need to make sure that all the basic aspects related to your e-merchant business are in place.
For example, you must ensure that you have:
- A well referenced online store
- Up-to-date and optimized product pages
- A FAQ that answers all common questions
- A well configured tracking system
These basics, if not in place when the peak season arrives, can turn this decisive period into a nightmare, and make you miss out on many sales.
✅ Prepare your online store
During this end-of-year period, it is recommended to pay special attention to your e-commerce site. Make sure it can handle an increase in traffic and think of ways to optimize it to generate more sales.
Here are some ideas:
- Dress up your store in Christmas colors (and/or Black Friday if applicable)
- Highlight your top products
- Offer a selection of gift ideas
- Highlight your delivery time and make yourself stand out
✅ Avoid stock-outs
There's nothing worse when you're looking to buy a gift online for a loved one than running out of stock.
Anticipate this problem by planning for larger inventories than the rest of the year. Also, make agreements with your suppliers in advance so that you can replenish your supplies in an agile manner in the case of particularly high demand on a product.
✅ Define your promotional offers policy
Who says high e-commerce season often says promotions. Indeed, many brands choose to propose special offers on Black Friday, the holiday season, or the winter sales. Clearly define your promotional offers, their conditions and their duration.
Whether you're more pro-Black Friday or anti-Black Friday, your promotions policy should be aligned with your brand values and address the concerns of your community.
✅ Anticipate your marketing campaigns
The holiday season is the perfect time to drive engagement with your community, generate emotion around your brand, and launch targeted campaigns.
- It can be tempting to invest heavily on online advertising like Instagram or Facebook Ads. However, maintain control over your budget and calculate your CAC (cost of customer acquisition) rigorously. Especially since costs per impression tend to rise during this period, as big advertisers often use up all their remaining marketing budget.
- Choose your channels carefully, don't use the peak season to conduct large-scale testing. It is not advisable to take too many risks during this strategic period.
- However, be creative and think about acquisition levers that are not often used. An example? Partner up with other e-commerce brands. For example, you can launch a limited edition co-branded product for the Christmas season. Or take advantage of increased traffic to exchange leads with other e-commerce brands, using a solution like Sqwad.
✅ Anticipate the logistics associated with a large volume of orders
Another plague, for Internet users who buy in high season: delivery delays. Who hasn't experienced at least once the frustration of receiving their order after the fateful December 25th?
Once again, it is essential to anticipate this point and optimize your logistics to guarantee a good experience for your customers. Optimize your logistics flows and consider, for example, relying on a multi-carrier strategy to reduce risks.
✅ Strengthen your customer service
During the peak season, your customer service department is likely to be faced with a particularly high volume of requests. Yet these requests need to be handled with much more care compared to the rest of the year. Keep in mind that the customer experience is key!
You need to be able to answer questions, support the buying process and manage any dissatisfaction of your visitors and customers.Therefore, strengthen your customer teams by calling in temporary reinforcements, or implement suitable processes.
✅ Work on your post-purchase experience
Take advantage of the high season and its peak sales to offer the best possible post-purchase experience to your customers: facilitate product returns, collect feedback from your customers in the form of satisfaction surveys or requests for opinions, highlight your possible ambassador program...
Don't forget that a good post-purchase experience is the first step in building loyalty and it maximizes your chances for your customers to come back and buy once again next year ... or even before.
Have you followed all the steps in this checklist? You are now ready to face the peak e-commerce season! If you plan well in advance and show agility and control, chances are you'll make the most of this period, maximizing your sales and profits.