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Early planning is critical to maximize profits and minimize stress as we head into the final – and often most profitable – months of the year. Do you know how you will be prepping your eCommerce business for the holidays?

Get Organized

If you have been putting off making changes to your branding, streamlining your process, or launching a website update, do it now. Because this is anticipated to be one of the busiest holiday shopping seasons, you simply will not have time to address the changes and simultaneously meet consumer demand. Besides – you are more likely to have a profitable holiday season if you set yourself up for success. One of the ways to hit the ground running is to be very well-organized.

It is also an excellent opportunity to identify potential issues. For example: have you already set schedules to meet demand? Do these schedules set adequate expectations? Do the schedules account for the inevitable requests for time off? If you are a solo-operating business, have you scheduled downtime or breaks from work for yourself?

Make sure that you have all your deadlines marked on a calendar. What are the deadlines for placing orders on additional supplies? What are the deadlines for accepting orders and shipping? This is also where you should be scheduling any social media marketing campaigns, posts, or promotions.

Plan your Marketing and Promotions

With many potential customers still choosing to safely social distance and avoid unnecessary risk of exposure, online sales are expected to be particularly high this year. As you organize other aspects of your business plan, make sure to set aside time to strategically plan holiday marketing. A strong, strategic marketing plan can involve a social media strategy, e-mail campaigns, online and offline advertising, design updates, and more.

What are your main marketing channels? Are they providing you a high ROI? If not, are you connecting meaningfully with potential customers? Do your promotions need any specialized advertising designs? What does your timeline look like, and how does that fit in with your business operations timeline?

During this magical time of year, successful businesses are all vying to attract the attention of holiday shoppers or clients. It is important to make sure that your business stands out among your competitors. There are many ways to successfully market your business in a way that is distinct or memorable – but the worst mistake you can make is not marketing your business at all.

Have a Contingency Plan

If we have learned anything from 2020, at least one of the key lessons has been “have a plan B.”

If your regular supplier is unable to meet your need (either due to issues in production or issues in shipping), what alternatives do you have? If you need additional seasonal employees to help fill orders, how will you hire them, and how long will it take to train them? If one of your employees falls ill, what is the protocol for your business? If COVID worsens in your region and a government-issued mandate would affect your business, what is your back up plan?

This is an excellent opportunity to ask for staff input. Their observations about the previous year’s holiday experience can be invaluable, both in making processes more efficient and minimizing stress and chaos. In particular, make sure to ask what they think worked well, what failed miserably, and what contingencies they would want to see put in place this year.

Celebrate the Holidays

Despite the maddening and stressful chaos that is running a business during the holiday season, it’s important to keep yourself and your employees grounded by celebrating the holidays. Although it is undoubtedly important to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and mitigate the risk of spreading COVID, it is also true that employees can experience particularly high rates of burnout around the holiday season. To keep employee morale high without creating risk, it is important to get staff input on how they would like to celebrate the holidays.

Some employees may simply want to feel appreciated by way of a financial bonus, additional time off, or gift incentives. Other employees may want to organize their own socially-distanced White Elephant gift exchange.

Know Who to Ask for Help

At Connections Marketing, our entire team is available and ready to help you through the upcoming holiday season. We can assist you in launching e-commerce for your website, building a marketing plan for the holiday season, and even executing digital promotions for your business. If you don’t quite know where to start, we also offer consulting services – so if there is something that you need, but you aren’t sure how to move forward, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!

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