SCORE

Are you digitally ready for the holidays? With cold weather and warm holiday greetings approaching our back doorsteps, we all need to be prepared.

This handy checklist will help you take control over your digital operations and marketing before the retail holiday season hits.

Operations

From managing high traffic incidents to capturing positive customer feedback, here are the must-haves for surviving the upcoming holiday season.

  • Develop a Personnel Plan
    Do you have a personnel plan in place for your high traffic days in customer service, fulfillment and IT? How many of your team members do you need per shift, and who will be the backup employees when illness or inclement weather strikes? (Because we all know that is coming….)
     
  • Assess Past Performance
    Have you assessed your high volume days of last year? Take a look at what went right and what went wrong. Put a plan in place to avoid encountering the same issues you faced in 2015.
     
  • Prepare for Emergency Customer Support
    Do you have emergency customer emails and website messages in the ready if website complications arise? It is never easy to write well under stress, and doing so will more than likely damage customer relations or reduce sales. Consider a special offer strictly for unhappy customers. Devise a plan now for these potential challenges.
     
  • Account for Bad Weather
    If the weather is an issue, how will you handle shipping? All team members who will be affected by this issue should be aware of your alternate plan.
     
  • Display Weekly Promotional Calendars
    Have promotional calendars of all digital offers available weekly in the customer service areas for your CSRs. Decide whether your representatives will honor a digital offer over the phone per customer preference.
     
  • Plan to Record Positive Customer Feedback
    How will you capture the uplifting moments and comments from your customers during the holidays? You can gather excellent testimonials in this season if you are focused on over-the-top customer service. Do not miss the opportunity for positive reviews. Looking back with regret on this time of year only hinders success.
     
  • Develop Stock Management Strategy
    What is your contingency plan if your hot products go out of stock early? What is your secondary lineup? Create a strategy to put in place in case you run out of one or more of your top selling products.

Marketing and Promotions

Have you put together promotional imagery and plans yet? Do these now to prevent getting slammed with hectic holiday hassles.

  • Switch to Holiday Imagery
    Are you changing graphics on your homepage, landing pages, product pages, emails, packaging or stuffers? Involve your employees. This is the time to get everyone in the gift-giving spirit!
     
  • Consider Early Promotions
    Are you doing early promotions to encourage self-gifting or returning to your site for additional gift buying? Your customers will appreciate your assistance in helping them get all of their holiday shopping done ahead of time.
     
  • Offer Discounted or Free Shipping
    Are you changing your shipping policies or minimums for the holidays to stay competitive? Keep an eye on your competitors’ tactics when possible.
     
  • Prepare for Holiday Deadlines
    Have you begun to ramp up your email blasts and confirmations in order to avoid delivery issues? Be sure to let your current and potential customers know the deadline for purchasing products for specific holidays.

This is only half of what you need to fully prepare digitally for the 2016 Holiday Season. Start now to cover all your bases before the holidays hit, and be sure to look for the second half of our digital preparation checklist next month!