From Black Friday and Cyber Monday, all the way through to Super Saturday and beyond, the holiday shopping season is a crucial time for WooCommerce sites. Online retailers should take full advantage of the influx of shoppers, both to increase profits and impress first-time visitors. But with so many preparations — not to mention your own holiday shopping — something’s bound to fall through the cracks.
This checklist is a great resource to help keep WooCommerce retailers organized and on track as we close out the year. Here are three steps to prepare your WooCommerce store for the holiday shopping season.
1. Optimize Your WooCommerce Site
You’ll be meeting a lot of new shoppers this holiday season — so be sure to make a good first impression! Your WordPress site should look and function perfectly, not only to satisfy customers but also to increase sales by streamlining the shopping experience.
If you’ve followed our Guide to Using WooCommerce, your site should already be in good shape. To go the extra mile, implement a few of these additional perks and make your site even better.
Your site speed has a direct correlation to your sales, so you want to make it as fast as possible. One suggestion to consider is the Jetpack Site Accelerator (formerly known as Photon). This tool hosts your images on their own CDN to free up your servers for faster loading times.
Gift Wrapping Service
Shoppers are busy during the holiday season just like you. If you offer a service that saves them time — like gift wrapping their purchase so they won’t have to — it adds extra incentive to buy from you.
Luckily, implementing a gift wrapping service to your WooCommerce store is easy with the WooCommerce Gift Wrapper plugin. Of course, you’ll still need to manage the actual gift wrapping before delivery, but the plugin makes it easy to offer customers the option.
A lot of your holiday season shoppers will be first-time visitors on your site, so they won’t have pre-existing accounts. Rather than forcing them to sign up and risk losing a sale, it’s better to implement guest checkout or use a social login.
Using a social login lets shoppers check out quickly and casually, but also gives you a lead to follow up on later, particularly for a product review. You can enable it easily with this WooCommerce social login plugin.
Every year, mobile eCommerce gets closer to overtaking desktop eCommerce, so make sure your WooCommerce site is fully optimized for smartphones and tablets. Ideally, when you chose your WordPress theme for WooCommerce, you picked one that’s inherently mobile responsive.
Regardless, it’s never too late to improve your site’s mobile experience even further. Particularly, try simplifying your mobile checkout process as much as possible to reduce the effort it takes to complete a purchase. Plugins like the Checkout Field Editor and the One Page Checkout can help.
2. Get Your Inventory Ready
Preparing your inventory early is essential — considering how long it can take to restock, if you run out too soon you’re losing money. That’s why you want to get your inventory ready as soon as possible.
Restock your inventory now so that you have enough to last until mid-January. It’s not that January is a big sales month per se, but you’ll likely be busy with returns and many manufacturers will be delayed. It’s better to have enough inventory for a safe buffer.
Although it’s hard to predict how much inventory you’ll need, you can use last year’s fourth quarter data as a starting point. On top of that, research holiday trends for this year and try to forecast your best sellers.
Even after you’ve restocked, you still have to keep a close eye on your inventory. If you notice a hot item running out, you may be able to reorder more before it’s too late. You’ll breathe easier using an inventory management tool like ecomdash, which sends you alerts when stock levels fall below a certain point.
Ecomdash is doubly useful if you’re selling on multiple channels — whenever you make a sale, it automatically updates that product’s stock levels on all your channels, so you never have risk overselling or waste time updating each stock level yourself.
3. Prepare Promotions and Content
You want to stay ahead of the busy season by creating your holiday season content early, before the busy period hits. Content like blogs and social media posts — including original images and videos — can all be done at any time, so it’s best to get them out of the way sooner rather than later.
In that same vein, you should plan out your promotions and deals so you can set a schedule. It’s more than just knowing which products to discount and by how much, you also have to choose the best times to run which deals.
Save your best promotions for Thanksgiving Weekend — Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, and through to Cyber Monday — as those are the peak shopping days of the holiday season. Also, prepare specials for the other popular shopping events: the first two weeks of December and Super Saturday (the final Saturday before Christmas).
While you’re at it, now’s a good time to plan out your advertising budget and allocate funds if you need to. Take a moment to check which advertising channels produce the most referrals and complete sales, then, consider giving them a proportionate share of your spending budget.
The Holiday Season Doesn’t End with the Holidays
These three preparations will make your holiday shopping season easier (and more profitable), but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook just yet. You still have to be active online during the shopping rush, in particular Thanksgiving weekend and early December. Not only should you be available on social media to answer questions or handle customer support, but you’ll also want to promote your amazing deals.
After the holidays are over, take a quick breather, but not for too long. In addition to shoppers spending their cash gifts, you can also expect an increase in returns during January. The WooCommerce Returns and Warranty Management System plugin can help you process and organize returns.