The holiday season is officially here! While you’re preparing your storefront for the big day, don’t forget to make key updates to your eCommerce site, too. With a record number of people shopping online this holiday season, get your online store ready for one of the biggest shopping weekends of the calendar year to make the most of it. Here’s our checklist for how to get your eCommerce site ready for the holidays.

1. Change Your Site’s Homepage

To get your website ready for the holiday season, change your homepage to announce any special offers for your online customers. You can upload a new featured image that lists all of the deals or coupon codes you’re offering, or add a pop-up or banner that does the same. You can create graphic images for the holidays on Canva for free. 

However you decide to display your offers, make sure they’re easy to read and highly visible. We suggest using eye catching colors in your images, like reds and yellows.

2. Offer Flexible Fulfillment Options

Now more than ever, it’s important to be able to make sales and take payments anywhere, as well as offer flexible fulfillment options to give customers more choices. In addition to shipping your online orders this year, try offering Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store or curbside pickup to give local customers more ways to get their stuff. This is easy to do if your in-store and online inventory are synced through your POS system

If you’re offering other ways to pay or pickup items, make it known in your social media posts, emails, and other marketing materials. 

3. Create Curated Gift Guides

Gift guides are great for providing inspiration. You can add gift guides to your site as separate pages, or, if your site has a blog, you can write gift guide blog posts that include links to your products.

4. Offer Cross-Sells and Product Bundles

You probably have products that go well together, so tweak your product descriptions to let customers know which items pair well with what. Edit your online product descriptions to say “this item pairs well with ______ and ______” to encourage customers to add more items to their carts. 

You can also add special product bundles as limited-time items just for Small Business Saturday to promote spending.

5. Stock up on Inventory and Packaging Supplies

To avoid shipping delays, use your POS to spot your best sellers and reorder any items you anticipate selling in large quantities. Order enough mailers, tape, and any other packaging supplies so you can ship orders out ASAP.

SEE ALSO: How to Keep Track of Inventory 

6. Check Your Site’s Speed

After you’ve made all your changes to your site for the holidays, it’s a good idea to check its speed. A slow website can cut into your conversion rate: 40% of people will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Test your site’s loading speed on both desktop and mobile to make sure everything loads quickly and smoothly. You can use a free tool like Gmetrix to run tests. 

7. Send an Email Campaign

Use your email list to your advantage by sending out emails that drive people to your eCommerce site. Here are a few ideas and strategies: 

  • Send emails before, during, and after the holidays
  • Before: Offer early access to your sales exclusively to your email subscribers. Tease this on your social media accounts to encourage more people to sign up for your email list. 
  • During: Send emails right as your offers begin and right before they end.
  • After: Once they’re over, encourage your customers to keep shopping.
  • Use countdowns in your email subject lines to build urgency and excitement.
  • Did you end up adding gift guides to your site? Send emails encouraging people to view and shop them. 
  • If you’re able to, split your email list into segments for different types of customers. That way, you can create more specific sale messages that speak to different groups. You can segment your lists easily in Mailchimp. 


8. Build Hype on Social Media

Be sure to promote your eCommerce site on your social media pages alongside any in-person events or sales you may be having. Make space in your content calendar to talk about your online deals, specifically. You can create beautiful post graphics for Facebook, Instagram, and Instagram Stories on Canva. Remember to take advantage of Instagram’s newest feature, Reels, if you haven’t already in order to get on Instagram’s Explore page. 

To give make your posts reach a larger audience, use a mix of popular (1,000,000+ posts), midsize (100,000 – 999,999 posts), and small ( < 100,000 posts) hashtags. Some of the most popular hashtags for small businesses are:

  • #ShopSmall
  • #SupportSmallBusinesses
  • #ShopSmallBusiness
  • #ShopLocal
  • #SmallBusinessSaturday

SEE ALSO: How to Build a Brand on Instagram for Your Small Business

9. Extend Holiday Offers until New Year’s

You can extend your offers until New Year’s or even early January  to give customers more time to place orders with any gift cards they may have received during the holidays.

The Bottom Line

The holidays may look a bit different this year, but by getting your online store ready, you’ll be prepared to make sales and keep your customers safe. Here is the complete checklist for how to get your eCommerce site ready for the holiday season: 

☑️ Edit Site Homepage
☑️ Add More Fulfillment Options or Get Your Existing Ones Ready to Rock
☑️ Create Gift Guides
☑️ Edit Your Product Descriptions to Encourage Cross-Selling
☑️ Add Product Bundles to Site
☑️ Stock up on Inventory
☑️ Stock up on Packaging Supplies
☑️ Check Site Speed
☑️ Add SBS Social Media Posts to Content Calendar
☑️ Write and Design Holiday Emails

emily polner shopkeep

Emily Polner

As the Content Writer at ShopKeep, Emily brings her passion, knowledge, and expertise to give you helpful tips on how to take your business to the next level. You can follow her on LinkedIn.