How to Set Up a Killer Q4 Ecommerce Strategy

Oct 27, 2015

Every business faces the pressure of accomplishing the company’s yearly goals by the end of Q4. Ecommerce companies face this stress, but are fortunate in that a strong performance during the holiday season can make their year. Did you know that 30% of consumers start their holiday shopping before Halloween? This means that you need to have a holiday promotion strategy put together before November begins! Planning ahead will help cut down on the time you spend putting out fires. Have you procrastinated? Here are some things to consider when forming an epic game plan for Q4.

Look at last year’s plan

How well did your site perform last Q4? Look at Google Analytics to find which products and sales had a good ROI during the last holiday season. This will help set a benchmark for this season’s goals and give you an idea of what areas to focus on.

Plan the sales far ahead of time

Plot out what sales you will be having and a timeline for each as soon as possible. This allows ample time for prepping. Remember: Q4 is not the time for any major changes or projects. Although Black Friday is the largest shopping holiday, also plan sales for Cyber Monday, the week before Christmas, and early January. Then plan your paid search, email, and social marketing campaigns around them.

Look at your competitors

The majority of people visiting your site during the holiday season are new visitors. This is the perfect time to convert them into returning customers. How do you do that? Stand out from the crowd. Check out what your competitors are doing, such as the sales they are currently running and what they did last year. It’s very important to differentiate your brand because up to 40% of this year’s sales will occur during the holiday shopping season. Use inbound marketing to your advantage by focusing your content to be Q4 specific.

Create SMART goals

Using the data you collected from your site’s analytics, create concrete SMART goals that will shape your marketing tactics this quarter. Your marketing efforts in Q4 could make or break your fiscal year.

Optimize your website

Once again, Q4 is not the time to reinvent the wheel, so don’t go to your development team during Q4 for a change you need for the holiday season. Be sure to set their time aside for common issues like traffic spikes, hosting-related issues, glitches that affect checkout, and third party app changes that may impact your website. A website that crashes will cost you conversions and create negative associations with your brand. Emergencies aside, it’s important to make sure that your site mobile and tablet friendly. If you would like a special widget or scrolling option for your holiday sales, be sure to have this worked out before Q4.

Check order fulfilment

People are visiting your website with the intent to purchase, so make sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible for them. Make sure that your site is user-friendly and the checkout process is simple and works flawlessly. Seasonal sales and shipping costs should automatically appear when in the shopping cart. It’s likely that order volume will increase during Q4, so be sure that you have the inventory on hand to fulfill all incoming orders. Optimize your product descriptions for SEO purposes and make sure that the prices and images are correct.

Plan out your ads

Plotting out your sales in advance isn’t enough, now you have to spread the world. Give your marketing team and graphic designers enough time to create great content to be shared across multiple channels. Use retargeting campaigns throughout the season, alternating products and who you’re targeting based on the date.

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