The holiday season is rapidly approaching and holiday dropshipping professionals are gearing up for the 2019 season. Gifts, decorations, and other goodies are readily available online, which means that it’s the biggest time of year for e-commerce sites to grab a sizeable portion of budget share.
Most holiday shopping efforts begin after Thanksgiving for most consumers. In fact, America has an entire weekend blacked out for shopping: Black Friday, Small Business Sunday, and Cyber Monday. However, the dropshipping holiday season starts much earlier for store managers.
Gain the Upper Hand with Early Preparation
Retailers tend to offer their best deals of the year during this time. Successful campaigns generate revenue, clear out old inventory, and establish brand awareness with customers.
As competition increases, stores are preparing themselves earlier every year. While some people hem and haw at the thought, it really gives holiday dropshippers the chance to gain the upper hand with thorough planning at the start.
5 Tips for Prepping Your Store for the Holiday Season
So, if you are thinking about how your store is going to prepare for the dropshipping holiday season, then it’s time to get started. Time is upon us, friends!
What should you do to prepare your store for the holiday rush? Here are a few things you can do to guarantee a profitable and merry shopping season for you and your customers:
1. Develop a Strategic Promotion and Advertising Plan
Before launching a campaign to promote your e-commerce store, it’s critical to your success that you strategize and outline how you are going to accomplish your goals. While it sounds like the last thing you may want to do, online stores, whose owner’s run them as a business, tend to be more successful than those who don’t.
Here are a few decisions to make before crafting your actual advertising message:
- the holidays in which you’ll promote your products or services
- your target audience based on your offerings
- type of holiday special or sale offered
- when you are going to launch your campaign
After drafting the strategic marketing communications plan for your online store, it’s time to start executing your ideas. Don’t wait too late, or you may not be able to find the people and resources to assist you in promoting your store.
2. Coordinate with Your Suppliers Far in Advance
It isn’t just your store that’s preparing. Suppliers and manufacturers are gearing up for the season as well. Most suppliers want to fulfill your order needs and can usually forecast what they’ll need to keep their customers well-stocked.
But it never hurts to cross your T’s and dot your I’s.
Contacting your suppliers is a great way to ensure that you have enough material and product to maximize your sales over the most significant shopping quarter of the year. This action is especially vital if you are ordering more than usual.
You never know what’s coming down the pike of dropshipping and things can go wrong all the time. You don’t want missing components or items to put the kibosh on your joy. Give yourself peace of mind by contacting your suppliers to ensure they have enough.
3. Consider Working with a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Firm
As an e-commerce store owner, you know how critical transportation and delivery logistics is to your organization. From the warehouse to tracking deliveries, it can be a nightmare trying to manage it all.
If anxiety and a high-level of doubt set in after thinking about shipping, you may want to consider working with a third-party logistics (3PL) firm to take over warehousing and order fulfillment. While it’s an added expense, nothing can amount to the losses felt through customer shipment failures.
Working with a 3PL allows you to focus on managing your store while they fulfill, process, and deliver orders. It takes a ton of stress off your plate.
Keep in mind that instead of your supplies warehoused at its typical location, it now has to go to the 3PL warehouse for order fulfillment. This option may not work for everyone depending upon your geographic location and industry.
4. Communicate with Your Customers Throughout the Entire Shipping Process
Customers obsess over their items in transit. Understandably so. They want to know if their items are:
- delivered on time
- in good condition
- in the requested quantities
- able to be returned in the event of dissatisfaction
The most successful e-commerce store reduce this cognitive dissonance by communicating with customers about shipping before they make the purchase and then offering reassurance while the packages are going through the supply chain.
Be sure to point out things like:
- your shipping timeframe guarantees
- terms and conditions of payment
- slowdowns or bottlenecks in production
In this situation, it is better to overcommunicate. Not in an unproductive way, but in a manner that reassures your buyers. They’ll remember how easy—or not easy—the shipping process was for their next purchase.
5. Avoid Making Non-Essential Website Changes During the Holiday Season
While it may sound like a great idea to refresh or rebuild your site for the holidays, we are going to advise holding off doing so. It’s a process that is rife with problems, not to mention the added stress of developing a new store while preparing for the busiest time of the year.
Plus, it’s possible for your website to go down entirely if something doesn’t function as expected. People code websites, but they also make mistakes. Allowing the process to unfold at a different time of the year is far less stressful.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your site whatsoever. After all, you need to create adds, promotions, and list new products. Just avoid any non-essential website changes during this time.
Final Thoughts and Considerations on Holiday Dropshipping Preparation
The biggest takeaway from this article is this: you have an opportunity to make a ton of revenue over the holidays. However, maximizing your chances means preparing your holiday dropshipping store well in advance of the holiday season.
How are you going to make it happen? Comment below with your top tips for a smoother dropshipping holiday season experience.