Be prepared for the Christmas rush

Mick Barry - Monday, November 01, 2010

Christmas is rapidly approaching. The number of people shopping online increases every year and Christmas is no exception. To take advantage of this retail opportunity you need to start planning early.

It is important to plan early for the festive season. Some forecasting can help with this planning by identifying trends from earlier years.

This is a great time for special promotions, email campaigns or even a special christmas theme for your website. There are also various, more fundamental issues you need to address in planning for a productive and merry christmas.

Extra traffic and load

Extra traffic during the festive season puts extra load on your servers. The last think you want during the busiest time of the year is for your servers to go down.

Talk to your internet provider to ensure that the hosting being provided for your site can handle the anticipated load and that you have the bandwidth available to meet the demand.

Customer service

Christmas can be a stressful time of year for customers, especially when we're talking about shopping. This is a great opportunity to improve your customer service.

Customers want shopping to be as easy as possible. Make sure your checkout process is as stream lined as you can make it, and that you have plenty of support staff on hand to look after any customer enquires. During the festive season personalised cards and a gift wrapping service can be the difference between a customer buying from you or a competitor.

Delivery

Don't forget about delivery during your planning. Talk to your courier service to ensure that they can cope with the anticipated load over the christmas period. A great way to get your customers off side during the Christmas season is delays or problems with delivery.

Get expected delivery times from your courier and clearly show them on your website. The last date for delivery before the 25th is another important piece of information you need to communicate to your customers.

Stock levels

It is essential you ensure you have enough stock during this time. Check your stock and ensure you have sufficient levels to meet the anticipated needs. Talk to your suppliers about delivery times for restocking if need be.



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