What eCommerce Business Owners Get Wrong During the Holidays
We’ve already covered how to prepare and promote your eCommerce business during the holidays. However, in a push to make the most out of this festive season, it’s common to make a few mistakes along the way. We’re strong believers that perfect is the enemy of the good, but there’s no harm in optimizing your eCommerce game! In fact, you’ll find that this is the best time to do so.
If you’re starting to worry, have no fear because ShipMonk is here! Today, we’re letting you know what to look out for now so you can increase productivity and decrease stress… or, as we like to call it, “Stress Less, Grow More!”
#1 Forgetting to Plan Ahead
Are you a last-minute packer? A do-it-tomorrow’er? If so, you’re a prime suspect for this particular problem. At some point or another, we’re all culprits of oversights or even procrastination. However, since the holidays are the most profitable time of the year, you literally can’t afford to skip out on the festivities — here are a few ways you can stay ahead when it comes to planning ahead.
First, no matter the size of your business, it’s imperative to have some sort of trajectory for every quarter, as well as the end of the year. Analyzing your goals and pending tasks at the end of each quarter is the best way to stay proactive and make sure that the important stuff doesn’t pass you by.
We’re also big on communication and believe that it’s the major key for a healthy, successful business. Whether you have a team of two or 200, silence is never a good sign. Stimulating an environment of transparency and open collaboration is not only beneficial for your business, it’s also fundamental for your company’s culture. When in doubt, talk it out!
#2 Lacking a Competitive Edge
Unless you’re a monopoly of U.S. Steel proportions, you’re going to run into some competition. So, how does a little fish stand out in a sea of big fish? By not comparing itself to the big fish! It’s not realistic or even productive to put your small business against industry giants like Amazon, so start small and work your way up from there.
The solution? Think of your direct competition, and then do some digging. Analyze their discounts, graphic design, customer service, and even shipping practices. Make note of what they’re doing, and see if their strategies can be incorporated into your day-to-day operations. It’s not as sneaky as it sounds, we promise!
#3 Overlooking Your Demographic
Who’s your demographic? That is, the people you’re selling your products to? Hint: The answer isn’t “everyone!” It may seem counterintuitive, but limiting your marketing outreach is one of the best ways to strengthen it. For example, say you sell activewear to women. That’s a fine place to start, but it’s still pretty vague. A 22-year-old woman will be into different styles and trends than, say, a 65-year-old woman. That’s why, besides gender, you should consider other data, such as age, location, income levels, and even hobbies and interests.
When the holidays come a-knockin’, it becomes even more paramount to target your demographic. Just because sales are at an all-time high doesn’t mean you should disregard your current customer trends altogether in favor of reaching a wider audience. In fact, it’s likely that those attempts will backfire given the increased competitiveness of major holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead, think about reaching the same customers you’re reaching now, but on a wider scale.
#4 Overloading… or Underloading Customers
It’s easy to get carried away and tack on everything you can think of in the name of upgrading your marketing tactics. Neon buttons, gifs, and even — don’t say it — all caps. In our digital world, those are all a big no-no. The more information you give to your customers, the higher the chances are that they’ll end up confused, distracted, and even disinterested in your products.
If you’d like to bring attention to something, we recommend highlighting only a couple of things at a time and keeping your promotional offer as simple as possible. For example, if you’re changing it up for Christmas, add a few decorative graphics to your website and run a promotion like 12 Days of Deals.
Conversely, there’s also a tendency to play it too safe and almost ignore the holidays altogether. If you sell inflatable pool floats, we can understand not getting too involved with Thanksgiving or Christmas marketing. However, for most businesses, it’s important to make some sort of distinction, as virtually all customers are looking for a special deal during this time.
#5 Not Tracking Your Marketing Campaigns
Think about it like this: Not tracking your marketing efforts is akin to taking a class without ever knowing what kind of grades you were getting. It’s essential and non-negotiable, otherwise you’ll never know if the measures you’re taking are actually effective.
You can track your campaigns through metrics called KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators — things like website traffic, paid ad performance, and more. Google Analytics is the industry-standard and comes chock-full of free features and resources that are perfect for both beginner and seasoned SMBs.
The ShipMonk team wants you to make the most out of this holiday season, and staying away from these five common mistakes is five steps in the right direction! Stay tuned for upcoming tips and tricks of how you can end this year with a bang.
By the way, we’d love to hear from you! Whether you have questions or just plain ol’ feedback, don’t be afraid to reach out to us.
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