The View from England

What to do now for 2019 holiday sales

Most ecommerce retailers are now fulfilling the holiday order rush. The vast majority of merchants depend on sales in November and December. It can be the difference between a good year and going bust. This is why planning and preparation are so important. It is too late now to plan for this 2018 season. But when it’s complete, sit down and review the good and bad for this year, to prepare for 2019.

Indeed successful merchants often start planning in January for the next Christmas season. They review the sales in the final quarter, including all the good and bad things that occurred, to ensure that next year is better. It is often helpful to involve multiple staff members to not miss an opportunity.

… successful merchants often start planning in January for the next Christmas season.

Capture the data

But don’t wait for January or February to start the analysis. Amidst the current rush, pause for half an hour and develop a plan. Draw up a list of the data you want to analyze. Decide which employees and contractors should participate.

Next, make sure you’re capturing the data that you want to analyze. Are your log files saved or are they deleted, say, every 30 days? There’s no point in planning to review the data — sales, conversions, landing pages, you name it — if it is erased before then.

Your ecommerce site is likely receiving a lot of holiday traffic. You are getting a lot of free data from your visitors and customers. Keep of all it that you’re legally entitled to, such as statistical trends. The holiday season is your opportunity to see the true demographics of your visitors and customers. You can track how visitors convert to customers, the pages that convert them, and the pages that prompted them to leave.

For most of the year, visitor volumes for many businesses are too low for a detailed analysis. But the fourth quarter will likely produce sufficient volumes. Thus, make sure to capture and keep the data that you are going to need.

Questions for next year

A successful holiday quarter may be one where (a) you bought enough stock, (b) sold most of it with only a bit left, and (c) sold the stock at a good margin without having to discount it. Thus a goal of your analysis is to replicate that success. Decide:

Sometimes the answers to more sales and better efficiencies are hidden in your work practices. Sometimes the simplest thing can dramatically improve your business. In the holiday rush, sit down at the end of the day, when memories are fresh, and ask your staff what went right and wrong.

The point is to capitalize on what you’re going through now to make 2019 holiday selling even better.

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