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eCommerce Holiday Planning (With a Checklist and Calendar)


Neville

I used to own a rave company called HouseOfRave.com (I sold it in 2011 and currently have zero affiliation with it) that sold light up and glow stuff online:

Neville HouseOfRave Packing

Circa 2008, hanging out at the main supplier warehouse in San Carlos, CA.

I owned it from around 2001 till 2011, and also had a few other eCommerce drop shipping stores during that 10 year period.

This is where I learned the insane cycle of eCommerce Holiday Planning.

I’m a lazy mofo by nature, so planning far ahead is not my cup of tea. But then every single year I would get blindsided by holidays, and realized I was missing 90% of the revenue I could be making by.

I was one of those people that would see Christmas decorations in stores start popping up around October and get pissed:

Buying Christmas presents early

 

But then I learned the reason stores put that stuff up so early, is because people are BUYING it that early!

 

spending christmas money early

“I’m gonna buy stuff before the crowds and while the prices are cheap!”

 

This is why I started to abide by what I called “The 2 Month Rule.”

 

The 2 Month Rule:

Always start your promotions two months ahead of time (if not more)!

Holiday eCommerce Schedule Blindsided

Holidays tend to sneak up on you, and most of the money is made BEFORE the holiday hits!

If Halloween is coming up, and you wait till Halloween Day…..you might lose 90% of the potential sales.

The real money is selling stuff leading up to the holiday, not ON the holiday itself.

I knew with HouseOfRave people would start ordering Halloween stuff starting 2+ months in advance, so my promotional schedule would look like this:

  • July 30th: Start making Halloween images for the site.
  • Aug 1st: Tell people on the email list that Halloween is coming up and to start thinking of costumes now.
  • Aug 15th: Start promoting Halloween more.
  • Aug 30th: Really start promoting Halloween.
  • Oct 1st: Tell people to prepare their costumes and parties now.
  • Oct 10th: Show them all your holiday stuff.
  • Oct 20th: Tell people this is their last chance before shipping prices get crazy.
  • Oct 29th: Last minute overnight shipping warning.
  • Oct 31st: Happy Halloween. Leftover Halloween specials.

So for a 2 full months before October 31st I would be sending out promotions to my email list showcasing our Halloween products.

The other reason “The 2 Month Rule” works well, is because many of the major sales holidays are in just three months of Q4: October, November, December.

If you run an eCommerce business they you already know these months are busy AF dealing with orders, customers, returns, and extra seasonal employees.

So it sucks when in addition to all that work load you have to think of your holiday promotions.

 

 

Industry Specific Holidays (Mine was Burning Man):

You’d think like any eCommerce store the major holidays would be around Christmas…..but depending on what industry you’re in, December can be a busy month or slow month.

For example, my busiest time of the year was always August…..and that’s because of Burning Man (that big ole festival in the middle of the desert in Nevada).

houseofrave-burning-man.jpg

Checkout my sweet Photoshop skills from 2003 😉

So since people go to Burning Man every year right around August 25th, that means the orders come in for around 2 months BEFORE that date:

  • June 1st: Orders start coming in.
  • June 10th: Orders start coming in.
  • June 30th: Orders start coming in.
  • Jul 1st: Orders start ramping up.
  • Jul 10th: Lots of orders.
  • Jul 25th: Lots of orders.
  • Aug 1st: Lots of orders.
  • Aug 10th: Last minute orders.
  • Aug 20th: Super last minute orders.
  • Aug 25th: People are AT Burning Man by now and the orders stop.

If you notice it was more around June 1st that orders for this event start coming in….so it’s really stupid to wait till August to start promoting.

 

Create A “Holiday Promotional Material Bank”:

One thing that helped me a lot was having folders full of promotional materials I could use over-and-over each year.

For example, I would have pages dedicated to each holiday, with custom images on each page I could re-use. Such as:

houseofrave-christmas.jpg

houseofrave-halloween.jpg

houseofrave-st-patricks-day.jpg

houseofrave-new-years.jpg

houseofrave-mardi-gras.jpg

Having this bank of images (without putting dates on them) made them easy to reuse year after year.

I would also keep email templates I could use every year, such as:

HouseOfRave Email Newsletter Example

This was before I learned about good copywriting!

 

houseofrave-4th-of-july-holiday-newslett

A 4th of July newsletter that went out a month earlier.

Having these image and email templates on hand dramatically reduced the workload for each holiday.

 

Make sure to pre-answer common questions:

One of the biggest pains in the ass during any holiday was answering all the customer support.

So one Christmas I took a look at all the calls, live chats, and email support requests we got.

It was overwhelmingly the same three questions:

“What kind of batteries do the [PRODUCT] have?”

“Can I get a discount if I order more than 10?”

“If I order it by [X] date, will I get it by [Y] date?”

I couldn’t believe that nearly 90% of all customer support was answering LITERALLY THE EXACT SAME QUESTION!

So in a single day, I made some small changes that reduced these support requests by nearly 90%:

 

“What kind of batteries do the [PRODUCT] have?”

I added what kind of batteries all the products used on their description pages:

Battery type add houseofrave

 

“Can I get a discount if I order more than 10?”

I added bulk discount pricing to products where people commonly ordered a bunch:

Bulk Discount Pricing HouseofRave

 

“If I order it by [X] date, will I get it by [Y] date?”

I added a simple shipping table so people knew what to expect.

shipping rates houseofrave add

Literally adding these 3 things to the site cut down on customer support requests by nearly 90%.

If people’s questions are already answered ...they generally don’t contact support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

neville signature sign off

P.S. If you need help tightening up your eCommerce store for the holidays, or for higher conversions in general, then join The Copywriting Course and let our professional copywriters go through all your pages.

 


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