The fourth quarter of 2020 is fast approaching. With just one month left, online sellers and online selling platforms are gearing up for the peak season.
Preparing for Q4 2020 during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic means that eCommerce stores, online sellers, and their suppliers have to deal with new protocols and adapt to the so-called “new normal.”
One of the largest eCommerce platforms, Amazon, has even introduced Amazon FBA changes as the company prepares for a successful holiday season. The leading online selling platform introduced inventory changes to their US marketplace to serve better both third-party online sellers and customers.
When it comes to preparing for the upcoming holiday season and its accompanying demands, online sellers should take note of three key factors, namely your inventory, orders, and customer engagement.
To help you proactively manage your eCommerce stores starting today, here are some of the best practices to prepare yourself and your online business for Q4 2020.
Top eCommerce Store Practices This Holiday Season
Actively Manage Your Inventory
Check your inventory and stock at least once a day. Make sure that you have enough stock available for your saleable products.
If you are an Amazon seller, see to it that your product matches the correct ASIN in the catalog. Similarly, you should also set realistic handling times for your items. This is necessary to avoid poor buyer experience, which will inevitably impact your Amazon store or online business.
Develop Compelling Product Detail Pages
In dealing with inventory, having enough stock will not suffice. Apart from securing product quantity this holiday season, you should also be consistent with the look and feel of your eCommerce store.
That being said, you must create compelling and honest product detail pages. For Amazon sellers, creating a product detail page has been made easier through its category-specific templates and product page style guide.
Whether you are active on Amazon or other marketplaces, make sure to produce a convenient reference for your products. Keep product details brief, concise, accurate, and interesting.
Reaching Out Early
As the holiday season is fast approaching, contacting your suppliers as early as now will surely make a huge impact on your eCommerce store. Let suppliers know the potential order volume for them to prepare ahead of time.
If you are an Amazon seller, making decisions based on historical inventory data is advisable. Making them in advance will help you manage the holiday rush more effectively.
When running a single channel or omnichannel business, it is crucial to always keep track of your stock. You should have a system that covers inventory management to prepare you for the upcoming holidays.
Orders & Processes
Track Orders, Provide Details
To be on top of your online selling business, you should keep track of the orders. Managing your orders well help in avoiding delays and frustration on the part of the customer.
When you confirm an order to your eCommerce store, provide necessary details to customers such as tracking number, carrier, and the shipping method. This will not only improve efficiency, but it will also demonstrate your level of customer service.
Furthermore, tracking orders is not only limited to orders made by customers. You should also keep track of your orders from your trusted suppliers to have the foresight of any potential changes or delays.
Technical Check & Upgrade
Attached to the forthcoming last quarter of 2020 are the holiday seasons and unique celebrations. This may include but is not limited to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, and so much more. For more important eCommerce 2020 Activities, CLICK HERE.
Since holiday seasons and celebrations are generally concomitant with Q4 of 2020, it is expected that consumer demands will drastically increase during the quarter.
When you are using or planning to use automated tools or systems, make sure they are updated to help optimize your business. If you are an Amazon seller, you should only use premium Amazon seller tools, such as Amazon repricers, Amazon Sales Tracker, Product Review Tool, and other seller tools online.
Taking time to check your system, both technical and processual, will increase the resolution period in case your eCommerce store experiences issues. To cite an example of a system glitch, back in 2015, a particular Amazon seller tool experienced a glitch that affected mainly the Amazon UK marketplace.
Since you will be increasing your inventory and other supplies for the anticipated holiday demands, you should learn to automate things. When it comes to a pricing strategy, manual repricing might not suffice with the volume of products and demands.
In lieu of the manual repricing strategy, it is highly suggested to use automatic and AI repricers such as Seller Snap. Automatic repricers are designed to expedite the repricing approach of your eCommerce store without having to sacrifice the profit margin of your online business.
When it comes to orders and processes, you should see to it that all things are working properly before the peak season. If you are planning to introduce some upgrade or new technology, bring your whole team together for testing and training.
To be more familiar with the process and master the system in place in your eCommerce business, retrain your workforce to prepare them for the upcoming holiday rush.
Customer Satisfaction Is Imperative
Despite the holiday rush and increase of demand, you should never forget to keep the level of customer service to the optimum. Make sure to respond to queries within 24 hours to avoid losing possible sales.
Similarly, your response should not be a template response. Add a personal touch to your replies. This may also be employed with the orders you will be sending out, by means of a simple “Thank You” note on packing slips.
Offer Promotions and Free Shipping
Customer service is not only limited to providing quality products and services in the form of prompt replies. You may also express your kind of customer care through offering promotions this holiday season.
For your eCommerce store to be unique and practical, you may release seasonal merchandise. To give you an idea, you may take inspiration from Starbucks. This coffee company offers a yearly “Holiday Blend” coffee bean.
Alternatively, you may also offer free shipping for your items. This will not only speak of customer care but also your passion for service.
Provide Gift Services
With the festive season and other celebrations on the way, it would also be good for your eCommerce store to offer not just gift cards but also gift-wrapping services.
You may incorporate such an idea into your eCommerce business as a buyer’s option. If you are an Amazon seller, you may click here to manage gift options.
Offer Expedited Shipping
Every customer wants their purchased item delivered as soon as possible, therefore offering expedited shipping will give you the upper hand with potential customers. For Amazon sellers, you may check your shipping options with shipping templates.
As an additional note, expedited shipping varies from one shipping company to another. Depending on your need and services being offered, you may consider USPS Expedited Shipping for most addresses in the United States, while UPS Expedited Shipping is your option for fast deliveries of small packages over 220 countries.
For your online business to be successful, you should always be mindful of customer service as one of your focus areas. By providing or performing some of the tips highlighted above, you will not only increase sales of your eCommerce store, but you will ultimately gain loyal followers and improved branding.
When providing goods and services, those who are willing to go the extra mile normally succeed in the business. Take care of your customers and profit will follow.