Christmas in July
With summer just kicking off, many retailers are no doubt thinking about the summer shopping season and all it brings with it. But the fact is that the most pivotal time of year – the holiday shopping season – is a mere five or six months away, and you’re going to need this time to prepare marketing, operations and other logistics to ensure you’re ready to serve customers a satisfying shopping experience.
Many retailers do the bulk of their business in November and December, with these final two months of the year representing as much as 40 percent of annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
Missing out on sales during this pivotal time, whether it’s due to website downtime, poor inventory management, less than effecient order processing or any other factor, can have a significant impact on a company’s overall success for the year.
As such, it’s never a bad idea to start thinking about your holiday sales efforts in the summer. Chris Kivlehan, vice president of account management for INetU, recently noted some of the steps you can take to shore up your website for the holiday season.
“Conduct load testing so you can simulate the number of users you are expecting to have during the holiday. This will see if the present infrastructure is up to the task,” he told Multichannel Merchant.
“Take a look at what your bottlenecks are in application performance to see if there is a way to make the application run more efficiently and faster. Database optimization is one way to do this. You will then want to make sure you have a scalable hosting solution,” Kivlehan added.
Of course, website optimization is only one step for preparing for the holiday season. You must have the backend of operations all sorted as well. By using eCommerce software, you can better manage all of these behind the scenes functions, such as order management, inventory optimization and customer engagement.
For instance, not having order management and logistics under wraps could mean that gifts miss their Christmas delivery dates. Improver inventory management could lead to best-selling gifts going out of stock and frustrated customers. Using an eCommerce software solution such as SalesWarp can help with many of these functions.