· Plan discounts and specials now. You may already know your Black Friday deals, but what about other holiday sales? Get all of those figured out now so you can easily implement them.
· Look at analytics and reviews from last year’s holiday season. What issues did you have? Was shipping too slow? Did items arrive damaged? Figure out what you need in stock, how much staff you need, etc.
· Start stocking up on products now. Whether this means items you imagine will sell fast or shipping supplies to do your shipping in, doing this now is extremely important. Don’t procrastinate.
· Decide on shipping prices and stick to it. Maybe you want to offer free shipping, or charge for it, or give free shipping after a minimum order. Whatever it may be, choose now and keep it that way through the holiday season. You don’t want to drive a customer away when they come back and see they suddenly have to pay shipping.
· Update your return policy and make sure it is easy to find on your website. You don’t need angry customers leaving negative reviews because of confusion about returns.
· Prepare for shopping spikes. Can your website handle the traffic of Black Friday and weekends? Most of your sales are going to happen during that time, so make sure you are ready with a fully stocked inventory and enough staff to handle requests and orders.
· Look into shipping deadlines. Your customers are not going to be happy if they don’t receive their gifts by Christmas, for example. Know the different shipping services available to you, and know their cut-off days for package arrival. Get every order packaged and shipped before these deadlines.
· Make a plan for operations during the holiday season. This means you want to make sure you have the staff, supplies, and equipment throughout the shopping season you need. Hire extra people for the time needed. Make sure your equipment is up-to-date and can handle the workload. Have people trained in this equipment so you don’t have to spend time doing this when you are busy.