In a recent Google survey, 85% of retailers rated the holiday season as the most critical time for their business. Before you open your doors (real or virtual), be sure you’re ready. Following some simple best practices can help ensure a joyous holiday shopping season. Fast, accurate tax calculation at check-out is sure to put you on your customers’ nice lists—and not on the auditor’s naughty list!
Here are eight strategies that will help you make the most of those 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Start marketing early
Thanksgiving Day is now the fastest-growing online shopping day, with sales up 21% last year. 30% of shoppers begin buying gifts before Halloween. Plan and launch promotions well before the holiday season starts to gain the biggest competitive advantage.
- Look at customer analytics. Past buying behavior can be useful in predicting future sales.
- Target loyal customers first. Research shows that repeat customers spend 33% more per order.
- Keep fulfillment centers and shippers updated on promotions so they can adjust for increases.
Take stock of your inventory
Nothing alienates shoppers faster than out-of-stock items. Be informed about your buyers’ preferences as well as seasonal trends to ensure you stock the right items in the right quantities. If your forecast is accurate, it’s easier to execute to plan.
- Assess last season’s sales. Which products converted best? What didn’t sell so well?
- Be proactive. Monitor stock levels and confirm shipments with suppliers.
- Stock what sells: Research and order high-demand items and holiday must-haves in advance.
Check in on check-out
Unexpected costs at check-out can be a sale-killer. Making sure you have accurate sales tax rates, and shipping costs (for online sellers) is critical to make check out as easy as possible. 93% of holiday shoppers will spend more if shipping is free and 66% are more likely to buy with one-day shipping.
- Make returns easy: 66% of online shoppers look at returns policies when deciding to buy.
- Automate sales tax calculation in Point of Sales Systems and online shopping carts to improve customer service. Avalara automates sales tax for fast, accurate calculation and solves the confusion that can arise with fulfillment and drop shipping, with no surprises.
Learn the rest of these 8 easy tips by reading the free whitepaper “8 tips for boosting online sales this holiday season.”