christmas ecommerce listYou’ve been making your lists and checking them twice, but are you sure you have all the last-minute holiday preparations under control? Just in case, we made this little list of our own to help guide you. Consider it our gift to you this holiday season.

Give the Gift of Gift Cards

The beauty of gift cards is that shoppers who aren’t sure what to buy can still spend money right there in your online store. If you make virtual cards possible, you could rack up even more sales. With the distance between family and friends, shipping costs, and holiday craziness stealing all our free time, shoppers love the ability to send a last-minute gift without worrying about shipping costs or a trip to the post office.

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Keep Inventory in Stock

Your top-selling items are likely to go quickly, and you don’t want to make people wait while you restock. Check past sales and order at least that much for the coming holiday season. If you do happen to run out of customer favorites, make sure buyers know they can still order for delivery and the purchase will be fulfilled the moment you have more in stock.

Plan Your Discounts

If you’re offering discounts and coupons on your site, make sure you’ve planned fully before executing. Without discount limits, customer limits, or even time limits, you could lose tens of thousands of dollars before you even realize what happened. This is especially crucial during this time of year when buyers are looking for deals and online retailers are too busy to catch the small mistakes.

Choose Bundle Items Wisely

You have big chances for upselling and cross-selling this holiday season, especially if you sell items that rely on accessories to operate. By offering bundles, you’re likely to make sales you might otherwise have missed. You can also share related items on the checkout page to prompt additional sales.

Check Your Landing Pages

Your additional ads on Google Shopping and Google AdWords should be tested several times to make sure the links lead to the right pages on your website. Nothing will deter a would-be buyer more than searching once on Google and then needing to search again once they reach your website. Even worse is a link that doesn’t even lead to your site. Double-check all ads before going live because you’re not going to have time once the shopping rush begins.

Verify Shipping Policies

Anyone making a last-minute gift purchase will want to know their purchases will arrive on time. Check with your shipping providers to make sure your promises can be kept, and then make sure those promises are displayed prominently on your website. Of course, you want to also include a disclaimer to let those buyers know you’ll do your best, but sometimes things are just outside your control.

Provide Excellent Navigation

‘Tis the season, and your website needs to show it. Direct buyers to the products they need with special navigation just for the holidays. Make sure visitors know where to find gifts for women, gifts for men, clearance gifts, and even year-end sales. The easier your site is to navigate, the more likely customers will be to find exactly what they need and then make a purchase.

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Speed Up Your Site

We’ve already mentioned this, but it’s so important that we thought it necessary to say it again. Buyers are frantic around this time of year, so they won’t want to wait for your website to load. Your new site decorations, additional product listings, special images, and various other things could slow your site down, even if it runs quickly any other time of the year.

Did your list have these tasks crossed off? If not, you’ve still got time. We’ll look at a few more last-minute tips next time, but please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments!

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Originally published Nov 19, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017