The end of the year is a peak season for fashion retailers. To stay ahead of the competition and close the year strongly, here are the five steps you need to address.
- Prepare for incoming traffic
First, you need to make sure your inventory is stocked. There is nothing worse for your business than a frustrated customer finding out their must-have gift is out of stock. Check-in with suppliers now to make sure you’re appropriately stocked, especially for likely gift items.
Work on your store load speed and security so it can scale and stay stable while handling the increased demands. You can check this with your ecommerce provider; for the last eight years, BigCommerce has boasted a 99.99% uptime and 100% uptime during the Cyber Week.
Test and make sure that your third-party integrations, such as payment solutions, are up-to-date and can support the increased traffic. Don’t add any others at the last minute to avoid potential tech issues.
- Create a hassle-free customer experience
Make sure your customer buying journey is as easy and frictionless as possible. This season is perfect to offer personalised experiences to cater to their specific needs, but ensure your navigation and checkout experiences stay effortless.
In line with your efforts on speed and customisation, you should optimise your site search to help shoppers find what they need. The same search data you’re using for SEO can give you a boost with your on-site search. Make sure your website’s search results return accurate products; it will not go unnoticed.
- Surprise and delight with shipping and fulfilment options
Expand your sales channels to those your customers are the most likely to buy from. You can connect to online marketplaces such as Amazon or update your product catalogue and tag items to sell them on Facebook and Instagram.
Your online channels should not mean less attention to your potential brick-and-mortar stores. Make sure you are consistent across online and offline channels. Now might be the right time to offer the option to click-and-collect. It will be a much appreciated touch for customers who are wary of excessive packaging.
- Create strategic holiday marketing and promotions
Marketing is often a long-game, so it’s important to plan ahead and get started long before your customers are even thinking about shopping for the holidays. It is especially necessary to plan well in advance in terms of SEO.
Adopt additional promotional strategies that engage the customers. You can offer gift cards to upsell at checkout, offer seasonal services such as free gift-wrapping or shipping, or create limited-time offers to add urgency.
Regardless of what you invest in — paid search, emailing, content creation such as blogs featuring how to use your products best — make sure they are all aligned with your strategy so you keep control on your budget while showing off how creative you are.
- Ramp up customer service and support
Now is the time to make sure your ecommerce platform has 24/7 global support, premium security features and industry-leading uptime.
You also need a dedicated support team behind your store to take care of your customers. It will be a busy time and can sometimes get stressful so be prepared to handle any questions and concerns.
Make sure essential information, such as your return policy, is easy to find on your site but also that you can be reached by phone, email and social media — be sure to respond to all inquiries within 24–48 hours.
Overall, you need to create a shopping experience that entices your customers and offers a smooth path to purchase (and post-purchase) giving them a strong reason to choose your store over the competition.
And don’t forget yourself in the process, showing how unique and passionate you are can always make a difference regardless how busy anyone is.
If you are not yet selling online, it’s not too late to start or to switch platforms if your current one can’t fulfil the above requirements. Start a free BigCommerce trial.