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Getting Your Website eCommerce Ready…

In the following post Women in Ecommerce™ discusses the important things to consider to help you better plan your ecommerce strategies for the upcoming holiday season. You can read this article or click on the Audio Link Below and listen while you are doing other things:

13 Tips to Prepare Your Website for the Holidays

When it comes to eCommerce, it’s not too early to start thinking about how you are going to prepare for the holiday season. You don’t want to put everything about your whole business and everything you offer for sale on your home page. Have landing pages for separate items. When you give  people too many choices, they become paralized and will leave without buying anything. Showcase your number one items, your best sellers or the one, two or three items you would like to move on your home page.

Here are 13 more tips to prepare your website for the holiday rush:

1. Make sure you have precautionary measures in place.  Where does your business get hit the hardest during the holidays?  Is it local deliveries, customer service, shipping? Focus your attention on getting those parts of your systems ready for the holidays.

2. Get help.  Taxing your regular help during the madness that can occur during the season, can do more damage than good. Consider outside help to get you through the holidays.

3. Automate anything and everything you can. This reduces labor costs and streamlines processes and in most cases helps the customer get better service, quicker.

4. Reduce time by auto-processing credit cards.  That includes auto-settle and authorizations.

5. Manage Inventory. With the economic uncertainty of the upcoming holiday season, it is good to keep a low stock inventory as long as you can order and get a quick turnaround on products you need when the time comes.

6. Consider drop-shipping orders to cut down on inventory. Use softeware that automatically forwards those orders to your vendors for fulfillment.

7. Rely on someone else’s I.T. Staff by using a software service provider.  They have the compliant requirements in place and they may be better able to have a quick turnaround if a problem arises.

8. Personalize your marketing offers. Use your customer database to increase revenues by creating a 1, 2, 3 touch approach to remind them you are there to assist their gift-giving needs. That could be a postcard, email and telephone call or any combination of tactics to get them to order from you.

9. Send emails wisely and prudently. Don’t innundate your email database with messages. They will get mad and ask to be removed. Remember everyone is vying for their business right now. Create email templates or edit and reuse those  that have worked in the past. Saves time, and your creative talent to work on other high-priority projects.

10. Automate your gift certificates.  Gift certificates have gained in popularity, and every year the percentage of people who buy them increases.  Many people actually prefer receiving gift-certificates as well.  If you don’t offer gift certificates online, think about adding this feature to your website.  Its a new source of revenue and best of all, there is nothing to ship.

11. Make use of multiple stores like ebay and Amazon or Yahoo to test products, to sell overstock items and move last season’s inventory.

12. Consider a “membership” program such as a flower-of-the-month or book-of-the-month club program.

13. TEST, TEST, TEST. Make sure your ecommerce site works properly, is easy to understand and seamless. Do pages load quickly or do they take more than 5 seconds?  Do you have lots of flash?  Does your website inhibit buying with obtrusive popups or automatic sound? Invite current customers to do a ‘beta’ test, and offer discounts to them for their feedback.

The best time to think about next year’s holiday shopping season is when this one is over. You can plan better when records are within your reach and everything is fresh in your mind.

Happy Selling!

This Cinchcast is just one of several audio programs Women in Ecommerce™ offers women. When you JOIN you get access to several of our “packaged” audio programs as well as our latest interviews with experts in topics of interest to women entrepreneurs, webpreneurs, online retailers and more.