Preparing your WooCommerce Store for the Holiday Season

Do you have a friend who experiences their first cool day after the summer and start celebrating fall and the oncoming holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas? I have some friends who freak out over pumpkin spice everything and start getting all their sweaters ready early in the season. I think they are a little crazy.

But I want you to be a little crazy too.

Start preparing your store early like our crazy pumpkin spice loving friends and you will reap the rewards during the holidays.

1. Start creating your promotions now.

I am sure you will run some special holiday promotions for the holidays. If you don’t you are missing out on a big opportunity for your business. 97 percent of consumers look for deals and special offers before shopping — and 92 percent of shoppers will look for discounts online before shopping.1

Lets assume that you are going to take advantage of all these online shoppers who are looking for your product. Creating your promotions now allows you to stock up on inventory and get the sometimes time consuming design efforts out of the way so you can focus on your business. If you hire outside help for designing of ads then you could possibly find your designer in a less than busy time as well and get their focused attention.

Another bonus for having all of your promotions pre-made is you will have plenty of time to think through a more meaningful strategy. Which items will you discount the most? Could you also write blog posts ahead of time to prepare your store for an onslaught of shoppers looking for more information on that item? Blogs are rated as the 5th most trusted source of information online.2 You will be under pressure from a higher than normal traffic time and you won’t want to also have to be blogging and decided which promotion to run and when. ​​

2. Create a sense of pressure.

This is a paramount form of influence that as a political operative was second nature. I would talk to my clients constantly about creating a sense of urgency when asking for donations. In politics it looks something like this:

“Thank you for your donation pledge, can you send it to me by this Friday the 12th I need it in order to make my ad buy.”

Your plea to your potential customers will look different. For one, everything is digital giving you many more creative options to create pressure to by now.

If you do any online booking for travel you would have seen something that looks like this:

Countdown timers are a very effective use of pressuring a consumer to buy now. Many will choose to make the purchase under the time constraint of a “better deal” than wait and risk not finding it as cheaply.

3. Get your staff prepared.

Another big part of preparing for the busy season is getting your sales and customer service staff into the holiday spirit. Every team member should know what is expected of them and have their work cut out.3

Clearly defined roles and expectations that you lay out before the holiday season starts is an imperative step in making sure your WooCommerce store is ready. You need to have enough staff on hand to answer any questions that should come in through your website. Purchasing decisions could be made quickly during the holiday season and if you don’t have enough staff to handle sales questions you could lose major revenue.

Department stores have historically “staffed up” during the holiday season and your WooCommerce store should take a page out of their book and consider doing the same. Being responsive on social media, through email, phone and live chat could make a big difference to your bottom line.

4. Give your website a holiday makeover.

Ensure every visitor to your store is in the holiday mood and give your website a little holiday spirit. One of my favorite examples, which I can’t show you now because I saw it last year and they haven’t put up their holiday decorations yet, is a WordPress company who simply strung holiday lights around the top of their homepage. You can be as simple, elaborate or creative as you like, but it is nice seeing some of our favorite online brands get into the holiday mood by spoofing up their site.

A bonus is if you are creative enough and then you create a lot of social shares of your site for your “decorations,” which just keeps ticking up your visitors to your store.

If you do see a surge in visitors you will be ready. You have already prepared your promotions and have created your sense of urgency on the homepage. You have already published blog posts on your most popular products. When suddenly you have thousands of people coming to your site for your holiday decorations you will be prepared to convert them into sales.

I hope when you go to get your first pumpkin spice latte of the season you are on your way to your desk to get into preparation mode for some of the busiest months of the entire year for your business.

5. If your server / hosting isn’t up to par, consider a migration now, instead of when things fall apart.

The last thing you want to do is have lots of traffic coming to your site for you holiday specials and your site crashes. The revenue loss would be tremendous. Most people will not wait until your site magically comes back to life so they can complete their purchase.

Do a check, find out how much traffic your site can handle before it will fail you. Are you on a shared hosting plan? It is probably an affordable option, but if you (or anyone else on your server) start getting more traffic it will make the entire server and everyone’s sites go down.

Don’t try to migrate in high season. Make sure you are migrating it now with the rest of your holiday plans to ensure your WooCommerce store is up and ready for the sales that are coming your way.

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