Prepare Your Shopify Store for Holiday Shopping

Shopify holiday sales

The holiday season is fast approaching. Along with it, comes a lot of spending on gifts and festivities. In the U.S. in 2013, holiday retail sales were close to $620 billion, according to Statista. Of these, retail eCommerce sales during the holidays were roughly $80 billion. This is a big chunk of annual eCommerce sales in the U.S.

It is important that your Shopify store is set up to take part in the holiday shopping season. Shoppers tend to do almost 44% of their holiday shopping online, according to a National Retail Federation report.

In the U.S., more than 15% of retailers start holiday promotions by October 1. If you haven’t set up your Shopify store for the holidays yet, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Create a holiday gift guide

Shopify gift guide

Photo credit: asenat29, CC BY 2.0 license

Capture the attention of customers through a dedicated holiday gift guide. This guide can highlight your products that make great gifts during the season. Here’s an example of a gift guide for weddings by Macy’s.

Depending on the type of products you sell, and whether they would make appropriate holiday gifts, you can create a guide for your store. You can choose to include all your products, or highlight the ones that you want to sell the most during holidays. In addition, you can highlight sales for any or all of these products. Notice how the Macy’s guide has a separate, lower price highlighted for any items on sale.

Chances are that a lot of people would select products from your guide’s recommendations. Try to keep the gift ideas to simple, relatively inexpensive, and easy-to-ship items. Then, make sure that you have enough items in inventory to fulfil higher than normal sales. After all, nobody likes to have something suggested to them and not be able to order it. Or wait a long time, and possibly miss the gifting date, due to lengthy shipping times.

Your store’s gift guide can be a separate page on your storefront. If you’re not comfortable with designing the page, you can create a PDF of the guide through Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or any other editor that can save to PDF. The PDF guide can be hosted as a link on your store, and can be sent in email promotions.

2. Design emails in advance

Holidays can get very busy, very quickly for your store. During this peak sales period, you want to focus on managing inventory and fulfilling orders. You can plan, design, and schedule promotional emails for holidays in advance so that you don’t have to worry about them during the sales season.

You can have multiple emails set up to go on different dates, and for different outcomes. Some email templates to keep in mind include:

  • holiday gift suggestions
  • promotions and discounts
  • thank you messages after purchase
  • recommended products based on customer category

You can use apps like MailChimp for Shopify along with the MailChimp service to set up your emails. You can also automate emails through MailChimp. Once you set them up in advance, MailChimp will send the appropriate emails to customers automatically. These can be based on dates, customer behaviour, customer purchase history, and more.

3. Offer free shipping

According to a Deloitte Holiday survey, free shipping provides a substantial incentive for customers to purchase from your store. We wrote about how to create free shipping thresholds in our post about increasing average order value. You can offer free shipping through two ways.

First, can create a free shipping discount code in ‘Discounts’ of your Shopify admin, and select ‘Free Shipping’ under the details section. You can set a certain amount of shipping rate for which this code is valid. For example, if you only want to offer free shipping on items that cost you to ship $10 or less, you can enter that amount for the discount code. This way, the code is not valid for bulkier items which cost much more to ship.

71% of customers are more likely to buy from a store that has free shipping.

Second, you can set up thresholds for free shipping so that it is only available on orders above a certain value. This can help make sure you don’t lose money on small purchases due to shipping costs. We wrote about how to create free shipping thresholds in our post about increasing average order value.

4. Give quantity discounts

Quantity discounts offer customers a lower cost for your products if they purchase them in higher quantities. Our last post on how to increase average order value discussed how to create quantity discounts.

Apps like Quantity Breaks – Tiered Pricing & Bulk Discounts allow you to create tiered pricing based on order quantity.

Since these are not traditional discounts, make sure to inform customers through your blog or email blast about the tiered pricing. Otherwise, customers may not find out about these unless they open the product itself.

5. Set up abandoned cart recovery

Abandoned carts are when a customer adds items to their cart, but leaves your store before completing the purchase. Reminders about abandoned carts are great sales opportunities as you’re promoting products that the customer already wants.

You can use our Jilt abandoned cart app to start sending recovery emails for abandoned carts. Jilt makes it easy to set up email templates, schedule campaigns (minutes, hours, or days after a customer leaves the cart), and track recovery status of your carts.

cart status screenshot for holiday shopping post

Cart status in Jilt

Jilt also allows you to track how many people opened their emails, and how many convert and recover their carts. Learn more about Jilt in our previous post.

6. Display product inventory

You can encourage people to make holiday shopping decisions quicker by displaying inventory on product pages. The inventory is like a countdown timer – we only expect it to go down. And in a similar way to the timer, the inventory count creates a sense of urgency for the purchase.

By default, Shopify does not display an inventory count on the Product pages. Unfortunately, adding the inventory quantities to your store does require some amount of code manipulation. Here is Shopify’s step-by-step guide to add inventory quantities to the product page.

If you are uncomfortable with the code, you can ask a Shopify Expert to help add inventory numbers to your product pages.

7. Show related products

Display related products on your store to cross-sell items that customers may find valuable. We wrote about cross-selling in our previous post.

Apps like Recommendify can help you add a related products section on different parts of your store, including in the cart page. The related products section is a great way to showcase other products on your store, as well as products that customers may find interesting based on their browsing selection. This can create a better customer experience as customers don’t have to spend energy trying to find similar/related things on your store.

But related products don’t have to sit only on your store. Add them to the receipt emails in order to encourage existing customers to purchase other items on your store. Use the Receiptful app to include related products in receipt emails. This converts the plain receipt emails into opportunities to get even more sales.

8. Reward social referrals

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to improve your store’s popularity. It is also one of the most trusted ways for people to make purchasing decisions. You can reward your customers to share their experiences about your products. This creates an extra incentive for customers to share your products with their friends and social followers.

ReferralCandy is one of the apps you can use to reward customers based on their referrals. Get more details about referrals and other useful referral apps in our previous post.

Some dates to remember

Between the U.S. and Canada, here are some dates to keep in mind for holiday shopping:

  • Thanksgiving – November 26
  • Black Friday – November 27
  • Cyber Monday – November 30
  • Christmas Day – December 25
  • Boxing Day – December 26

Make the best of holiday shopping opportunities

The holiday season is one of the most lucrative time of the year for retailers and eCommerce stores. Make sure your Shopify store is set up for holiday shopping. This will not only give customers one more reason to buy from your store, but also create a special customer experience.

These are just a few tips to get your store ready for holiday shopping. What else do you do to set up your Shopify store for the holidays? Please tell us in the comments below.

Cover Photo Credit: photochem_PA ( CC BY 2.0 license)
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Jai Sangha

Content Specialist
Jai helps ShopStorm app users earn more via their Shopify stores by writing about helpful shop tips and useful apps.

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