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5 Essential Elements of eCommerce Success this Holiday Season

It is the holidays! Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Hanukah, whatever you celebrate, it is a season of sharing, caring, and eCommerce success. 2016 is set to be the biggest digital sales season on record, and you’d better start planning now for real eCommerce success this season. Use these tips to help your Q4 be the best you’ve had all year!


The infamous “Black Friday Deal” has become a cultural staple in the last ten years or so, and quite simply, that’s because it works. Steep discounts are a major player in holiday shopping. With so many people to buy gifts for, discounts help ensure that shoppers can get something for everyone on their list without breaking the bank.

Use some of this fiscal intelligence to your advantage. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and continued Christmas sales are a huge player in holiday season success.

Free shipping

While shipping doesn’t often involve a large portion of the overall cost of a gift, free shipping is a buzzword that can offer you real success. Not paying for shipping is especially helpful to those living in the more remote parts of the country that usually have to pay more for shipping, such as Hawaii or anywhere that is far from your vendor’s location.

There are definitely some drawbacks to free shipping, like you having to foot the bill. But customers are also willing to pay a bit more for some things if they do not have to pay shipping on it. They see it as a trade off, and money they would have spent on shipping can go directly to your bottom line.

It also helps to clearly advertise your shipping deadlines! Making sure things get to where they need to be in time for Christmas is something that people often forget about, if they do not spend all their time stressing about it, and with all the extra shipping during this time of year and the weather considerations, you need to be ready. Clearly post the best date to order by in order to get items on time. It adds an extra little bit of urgency to customers shopping experience.

Social Media

In the age of social media, missing out on this marketing opportunity is a huge mistake! Use your social media accounts wisely though. Just posting whatever to wherever is called “spamming” and it is a huge no-no when it comes to social media marketing. Instead, focus your energies on figuring out ahead of time what the most effective strategies are for your company. Optimize for mobile phone users—most people check their emails on their phones these days, as well as using social media on them. You won’t see real success unless you fully embrace mobile marketing.

More than social media, email campaigns, Facebook ads, and customer reviews are all useful tools in the social arsenal. Email, though, remains one of the top ways that customers get to your eCommerce store. Get ready early—email campaigns take planning, forethought, and require real energy and effort to together. If it is already November by the time you start working on your email campaigns, you waited too long! You’ll be rushing to put together emails that just do not look great. You could have started in July, back when you were dreaming of Christmas and cold weather, looking ahead not just for yourself but also for your business. Once again, optimize for mobile!

Try Facebook ads. Thanks to Facebook’s targeted algorithms, you can get your advertisements right into the screens of those most likely to want to see them. Facebook is the most powerful social media tool out there, with billions of users and a huge variety of age ranges. Targeted marketing doesn’t get more powerful than this.


While you may think you are prepared for the Christmas season, I promise, you are not. The holidays run all kinds of new issues, from a lack of staff even to DDoS attacks from competitors looking to down you during a critical period of sales.

Make sure you are adequately staffed for the holidays. Everything from designers, social media specialists, marketers, SEO writers, and all the way down the list to gift wrappers and extra helping hands (if your vendor doesn’t provide those things or if you run your own warehouse). Make sure you bring enough staff to get you through the hustle and bustle. If you’re a team of one, the holiday season is a good time to bring on that assistant you were thinking about hiring.

It is smart to make security an addition as well, and prepare. Not every other eCommerce owner is as nice as you, and while it may seem ridiculous, DDoS attacks are not unheard of during the holiday season shopping rush. It wouldn’t hurt to bring on a little extra security if you can, especially if a lot of competition has sprung up in your niche. You are probably safe if you sell in an unusually small niche, but if your market is bigger, don’t hesitate to prepare for the worst.

Target your Market

Your biggest mistake, no matter what time of year, is to just shoot out emails and pay out the nose for ads that aren’t going to get you anywhere. You need to know who exactly you are marketing to when such huge profits are at stake. You’re not going to get very far selling denture accessories to hipsters, are you? Using real-time analytics can help you nail down sales. Showing customers items in a slightly higher price range than the one they’ve been looking in can help drive sales.

Final Word

Missing out on the huge profits that the holiday season brings is a huge mistake, and there’s really no excuse for it. Forethought, preplanning, and preparation can help you make the most of your fourth quarter profits and project your business’s success well into the new year. Use these tips, and you are sure to see some holly jolly paydays for yourself and your employees.

Lastly, let me know your thoughts and tips for eCommerce Holiday Success that has helped you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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