Since you’re reading this already, congratulations on deciding to prepare your Shopify store for the holiday season in advance. It’s a critical time for all eCommerce merchants, and you cannot afford to wait till the last minute to have your store Christmas-ready.
Here are 14 tips to win with your Shopify store during the holiday season!
Showcase your festive spirit
Create a festive atmosphere on your Shopify store by using a Christmassy Shopify theme or just adding some festive banners and images. Make show they match the marketing messages that you’re putting out and align with your holiday deals.
Studies have shown that your store’s customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) will outweigh product and price as the most significant differentiating factor between brands. You need to make sure to offer your shoppers a wonderful experience that shares a little holiday magic with them. So, don’t be a Grinch, let your festive spirit shine through on your Shopify store.
Start promoting early
Shopify’s own research shows that people start searching for Christmas gift ideas as early as August. Now sure, promoting your Christmas sales that early might seem stupid and weird, but you want to start making your customers aware of you by then. You might even want to start writing blog articles relevant to the holiday season, like Christmas gift listicles. Sure, you might not want to post them out on social media that early, but you’d want to start working on your Shopify SEO to rank them in time for the actual flood of Christmas gift searches.
That being said, you’d don’t want to wait for mid-December to actually start posting on social media about your Christmas sales. Start early so that your online store is already on the top of your customer’s minds when it’s time for them to buy their Christmas gifts.
Scale up your support
You don’t want to leave your customers waiting helplessly while they’re trying to get answers to questions regarding your products or your store policies. Sure, you’ll be getting more queries than usual during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you have an excuse to keep your customers waiting.
All you need to do is use a Shopify chatbot to answer their questions instantly. The best part is that these bots are pre-built and are ready to use. Just upload your store policies and product detail documents to your bot and you’re good to go. The bot will pull answers to your customers’ queries directly from your documents, without you needing to go through any complicated bot-training processes.
But of course, there are always some complex queries that your bot can’t handle on its own. These super complicated queries get routed seamlessly to your live chat agents. Your agents can concentrate on handling these complex issues in a better manner since your bot is taking care of all the simple ones, thus reducing your agents’ workloads. The best part, your agents get to be more efficient because they can converse with multiple customers and handle their issues simultaneously over live chat, instead of having to deal with one customer query at a time via phone calls.
Gift wrapping & notes
You know your customers are all hunting for gifts. And you know that those gifts are going to have to be wrapped at some point, right? Why don’t you make gifting easier for your shoppers and offer an option to actually wrap their gifts for them before delivering them?
Make sure to give them a choice between a range of wrapping papers so that they can match the vibe of the person to whom they will be gifted, thus making the gifts feel even more special and thoughtful, rather than seeming like a last-minute job.
Allowing your customers to add notes is also a good touch. Let them provide you with the text that they want in the note and then you can have it printed or handwritten. Your customers will definitely appreciate the chance to personalize their gifts to this extent.
Sometimes your shoppers would feel like giving one thing as a gift is not enough, but finding multiple gifts for the same person can seem like a task. To make this easier for them, you can create special gifting bundles that your customers can pick from. There are Shopify apps available that you can use to simplify this process. These can be used to bundle products that complement each other.
Now you just need to display these bundles on your homepage to catch your visitors’ attention and convert them into shoppers. You can even show these bundles as suggestions on product pages that are related to the items in those bundles.
Segment your audiences
Your shoppers aren’t all the same people, they have differences in their genders, interests, ages, locations, etc. The same promotional messages would not work on all of them, it wouldn’t trigger them to take action.
You need to segment your audiences so that you can send them highly relevant promotional messages that are curated to urge a specific type of person take action and make a purchase. Now, you could set up automated email campaigns for specific types of customers, but it would be even more effective for you to reach out to them on the social media and messaging applications they use the most.
Your customers tend to open WhatsApp 23 times a day, and WhatsApp messages have a 98-99% open rate. You can use your Shopify chatbot to broadcast promotional campaign messages to different subsets of your audience, making them more likely to actually see your messages and take action on them.
If your customers are feeling unsure about whether they should actually buy a gift off your Shopify store, you need to give them a good reason to do that. You need to tempt them with a good deal.
Fortunately, there’s a way for you to do that without giving the deal away from the get-go.
All you need to do is set up conversion triggers on your Engati chatbot. Now, if your customers perform any actions that display buying intent like landing on a product page, scrolling through the page, spending a certain amount of time on that page, adding a product to a cart, etc. your chatbot can send out a pop-up message with a discount code, urging your customers to lose their inhibitions and make the purchase.
Recover abandoned carts
According to Forrester Research, eCommerce brands lose out on $18 billion in sales revenue annually due to cart abandonment. That’s because upwards of 69% of all carts tend to get abandoned (according to the Baymard Institute).
Now while cart abandonment emails can help to some extent, you’d be better off with something more effective. Let’s go back to those pop-up messages from your shopify bot with the discount codes that we were talking about.
In addition to the actions mentioned above, these messages can also be triggered when your customers remove products from their carts. Now you reach them right when they’ve abandoned their carts, before they leave your web store. The purchase intent at this point is still higher than it would be after they left your website, so your conversion triggers would be more effective than a simple email.
But what if they leave your website entirely and you can’t use these conversion triggers? In that case, you can send them cart recovery messages on WhatsApp, which they are far more likely to open than cart abandonment emails.
If your checkout process is too long and painful, your visitors just would not want to go through with it. Chances are that they’d just give up halfway through it (or even earlier) and never turn into shoppers.
You want to reduce the number of steps in your checkout process. If possible, try to fit it in fewer pages, allowing them to review their orders and add their address in the same page before making the actual payment.
Here’s another important thing to remember: while getting your guests to make an account is important, you should not force them to do it. Make guests check-outs possible and motivate your customers to create an account by giving them an exclusive members-only deal.
Multiple payment options
What happens when your customers can’t buy products from your store using the payment methods that they prefer using and are comfortable with? They simply leave, and are much less likely to come back in the future.
You need to make it possible for customers to pay using their preferred payment method. Now, you don’t need to add every single payment method on the planet, just make sure your store accepts the most commonly used ones and you’ll be good.
Let your customers go through your website before your holiday season starts, find the products that they want to buy later and add them to their wishlists. They might want to do this either because they want to buy these products during your holiday sales or simply because they want it to take less effort to find the products when it’s time to buy them.
You’d also want to make it possible for your customers to share their wishlists on social media and to their friends and family.
Here's another article that shares some amazing Shopify tips!
Create upselling and cross-selling opportunities
If you’ve already got your customers into the door and have them ready to buy from you, why don’t you try turning it into a higher-value purchase? They already have the intent to make a purchase, so convincing them to buy a premium version of that product or to buy complementary products will take less effort.
Display these as recommendations in the related products section on your product pages. You can even upsell by showcasing comparisons between related products so that customers can see how much additional value they would receive if they purchase the premium product.
In addition to this, you could also offer discounts if your customers bought complementary products along with the one they intended on purchasing, thus allowing you to supercharge your cross-selling efforts.
Plan for fulfillment
Do things right and you’ll get more orders than usual during the holiday season, but you’re not the only store that will be flooded with orders. That means that your fulfillment partners might be swamped with orders, so you might need to look out for backup shipping companies so that your customers’ orders aren’t delayed. If you’re going to play Santa for your customers, you got to make sure that their gifts reach them before Christmas Eve.
Spread some holiday cheer
Your customers are shopping at your store instead of buying from an eCommerce giant like Amazon because they’re looking for the personal touch that only small businesses can offer. Don’t let shopping feel transactional, showcase your human side and surprise your customers with a small gift along with their orders. It might not cost you much, but it could work wonders for your customer experience, cause repeat purchases (increasing your customer lifetime value), and even get you a little extra publicity if the gift is something worth posting about on social media.