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Top Ten Tips For First-time Ecommerce Sellers To Thrive From Black Friday to Christmas

The COVID-19 world forced many retailers online and has shaped new consumer habits that will affect the festive season.

Transitioning from a bricks and mortar retailer to ecommerce has traditionally been a slow and meticulously calculated process. For many retail owners, while experienced with a brick and mortar Christmas, have little to no experience with the festive online season.

Packhelp connects businesses of all shapes and sizes to custom package solutions for their products and have released ten top tips to help ecommerce brands to maximise the busiest sales quarter of the year.

1: Get your site up to scratch - Take this time before the Christmas season to get your site set up correctly. Each product should be in the relevant category and have tags attached to it. Your site should have up-to-date navigation, terms and conditions and return policy. To really make the most of the season, ensure that your checkout process is as smooth as possible. Don’t make users sign up for an account before they’ve paid, and offer the most popular ecommerce payment methods. Showcasing your best-selling products, upselling and a live chat can also help make your brand’s website a more accessible and more helpful site to use.

2: Black Friday & Cyber Monday come first - It’s essential to create an ecommerce Christmas campaign with BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) playing a key role. Mixing these 2 dates into your Christmas campaigns mean that your campaign can reach more people and potentially make more sales. Many successful ecommerce sellers treat BFCM as the pinnacle of their year, rather than Christmas. Whatever sales are made in the lead up to BFCM can be replicated in the lead up to the holiday season. 3: Assess your competitors - If you’re selling in a brick and mortar store, your competitors are stores in your local area. But online, your competitors are everywhere.Your competitors might be a business based on the other side of the planet, it might be an ecommerce heavyweight like Amazon. Take this time and research your competitors - search for your product like you were a consumer yourself.

4: Create website content well ahead of time - One of the most time-consuming parts of running an online store is creating content. Whether that’s blog posts, photoshoots or editing video, it takes time to do it right. Make the most of the end of summer by taking the time to create that content. Your product pages should showcase the product as it is, but also show it off being used in a lifestyle situation. Videos also help increase conversion rates in your online store. Blog posts that solve problems can also help draw traffic and increase conversions. Create content like this to showcase not just your own product, but complementary products, too.

5: Queue up social media content - Content creation is time-consuming, but so is sharing that content on social media. Tools like Buffer help automate your social media marketing, but you still need to invest time to load up your posts for the foreseeable future. Actively monitor your social feeds and respond to comments, complaints and enquiries. When planning your social media posts, remember to stay versatile. Should something happen in popular culture, politics or Hollywood, you can create some new content around that event and use it on your social feed.

6: Design your unboxing experience - An unboxing experience is easily the best way for you to add perceived value to both your product and your brand. In the world of ecommerce, the first time your customer has physical content with your brand is when they’re holding their delivery in their hands for the first time. And the first thing they see? It’s at this moment when your customer is most excited, and it’s also the ideal opportunity for you to exceed your customer’s expectations. Consider a mailer box with internal print. The outside of your mailer box has all the branding and identification needed to wow your customer. However, it’s literally what’s inside that counts. Whether it’s a plain colour all through the inside of your box, or an intricate design with a ‘thank you’ or cheeky greeting, the inside of your box is where your unboxing experience starts. Little things like custom tissue paper, branded void filler or custom tape are the little details that make your customer think ‘I got a lot more than I bargained for’.

7: Start selling gift cards - We all have that person that’s incredibly hard to buy for. They deserve a little more than the typical socks and underwear, but you just can’t nail down the ideal gift for them. Gift cards can help you keep the cash flowing and the sales ticking over. Even if the person getting the gift card has never heard of your store, once they get it, they’re certainly going to come to check out what they can buy. It’s worth noting though, that physical gift cards make the real difference here. They’re a tangible asset that serves as a reminder to someone that they have free money to spend. A physical gift card also makes a more personal present and helps make that emotional connection.

8: Stock up on inventory - As a business owner, you know how much product you move in a given amount of time in your retail store or to your retailers. But with your own online store, the potential for an inventory management problem is even higher. If orders in your online store take off, you’ll have no stock for your other sales channels. But if you over-invest, you’ll have money sitting on shelves not doing anything. Consider adding a plugin that emails users when a product is back in stock so that they can return and buy it.

9: Plan your fulfilment - If you’d rather not deal with the chaos of order fulfilment, returns and inventory management, consider using a 3PF (Third-party fulfilment) company. 3PF’s are warehouses that store your stock and automatically deliver your product directly to the buyer without you having to get involved. You deliver your products to the warehouse, and they take care of orders, refunds, cancellations and in many cases, order cancellations. The level of services is often tiered, ranging from the most basic fulfilment service, right through to comprehensive customer service models.

10: Build customer retention - The reason to prepare your store for Christmas is to make the most of the surge in traffic. But what happens once that surge of traffic is gone in the new year? We focus so much on getting new customers to buy from us from the first time when statistics say that a past customer is 4 times more likely to buy from us again - and they’re also more likely to spend more.

The COVID world may have forced you online, but it’s also created a wealth of opportunity. Start preparing your brand for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the festive season now so that you are poised to take advantage of the buying season.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Emma Elizabeth Lowe .

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