6 min read

Preparing for peak trading: a guide for ecommerce

Preparing for peak trading: a guide for ecommerce

Ensure ecommerce success during peak trading seasons with these expert tips and strategies.

Whether you like to admit it or not, peak trading (for most of us) is just around the corner, and in the world of ecommerce, it's never too early to start talking about Christmas.

Peak is bound to throw some curveballs, but it's important to carefully strategise and plan ways in which to streamline the festive season.

 

Think about your network: omnichannel fulfilment

During peak trading seasons, it's important to consider your network and determine where you want your fulfilment to come from. Are you going to utilise your physical stores or warehouses? This decision will impact the efficiency and speed of your order fulfilment process. Take into account factors such as inventory availability, proximity to customers, and shipping costs. By strategically choosing between store and warehouse fulfilment, you can optimise your operations and ensure timely delivery to your customers.

Another important consideration is omnichannel fulfilment. This means leveraging multiple channels to fulfil customer orders, such as online orders fulfilled from stores or stores serving as pickup points for online orders. Integrating your online and physical store operations can provide flexibility and convenience for customers, as well as help alleviate bottlenecks during peak periods. Consider this too when it comes to refining your marketing messaging.

 

Optimising product mix for increased order value

To maximise your revenue during peak trading, it's essential to focus on optimising your product mix. Analyse your sales data from previous peak seasons and identify the products that have the highest demand and contribute to higher average order values. By strategically promoting these products and creating attractive bundles or offers, you can encourage customers to spend more and increase your average order value.

Consider cross-selling and upselling opportunities to further enhance the value of each customer's purchase. This can be achieved by recommending complementary products or offering discounts for purchasing multiple items. By carefully curating your product mix and implementing effective promotions, you can drive higher sales and revenue during peak trading periods.

 

Identifying and addressing bottlenecks

During peak trading seasons, it's crucial to identify and address any bottlenecks in your operations to ensure smooth order processing and delivery. Evaluate your brand's direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel and assess if it can handle the increased demand during the holiday season. If there are potential delays or backlogs, consider leveraging your stores from a marketing perspective and promoting click-and-collect options. This allows customers to conveniently pick up their orders from a nearby store, reducing the strain on your D2C channel and improving overall customer satisfaction.

Additionally, analyse your supply chain and logistics processes to identify any potential bottlenecks. Look for areas where delays or inefficiencies may occur, such as inventory management, order processing, or shipping. By proactively addressing these bottlenecks and implementing measures to streamline your operations, you can ensure timely order fulfilment and enhance the customer experience.

 

Improving logistics for peak efficiency

Efficient logistics play a crucial role in meeting customer expectations during peak trading seasons. Evaluate your current logistics processes and identify areas for improvement. This could involve optimising your warehouse layout, implementing advanced inventory management systems, or partnering with reliable shipping carriers.

Consider implementing technologies such as barcode scanning, automated picking systems, or real-time inventory tracking to enhance efficiency and accuracy in order fulfilment. Streamlining your logistics operations will help reduce order processing times, minimise errors, and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Additionally, ensure that you have clear communication channels with your logistics partners to address any potential issues or delays. Regularly monitor and analyse key performance indicators (KPIs) related to logistics, such as order fulfilment rates, shipping times, and customer feedback, to identify areas for further improvement.

 

Review customer journey across all touch points

During peak trading seasons, it's essential to review and optimise the customer journey across all touch points. This includes interactions with your adverts, website, mobile app, social media channels, customer service, and physical stores. Consistency and seamless experiences across these touch points are crucial for building a strong brand and fostering customer loyalty.

Evaluate the usability and performance of your website and mobile app to ensure a smooth and frictionless shopping experience. Optimise page load times, simplify navigation, and implement user-friendly features such as guest checkout and saved payment information. Pay attention to mobile responsiveness, as an increasing number of customers are shopping on mobile devices.

Monitor and respond promptly to customer inquiries and feedback on social media and other customer service channels. Provide clear and helpful information to assist customers in their purchase decisions and address any concerns or issues they may have. Train your customer service team to handle the increased volume of inquiries during peak trading periods.

For physical stores, ensure that they are adequately staffed and prepared to handle the influx of customers. Implement measures to enhance in-store experiences, such as attractive displays, efficient checkout processes, and knowledgeable staff who can provide personalised recommendations.

By reviewing and optimising the customer journey across all touch points, you can create a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for your customers, leading to increased satisfaction and repeat business.

 

Focus on organic performance and SEO

When it comes to SEO, it's not an overnight quick fix, and the space is particularly competitive around the peak Christmas period. In order to enhance your performance and stand out, you need to start making improvements now.

  • Seasonal Keywords:

    Identify and target seasonal and holiday-specific keywords. Use tools like Google Trends and social platforms search such as TikTok to find trending keywords relevant to the peak period.

  • Long-Tail Keywords: 

    Optimise for long-tail keywords that are likely to convert during peak times, as they are often more specific and less competitive. This period is going to be competitive and SEO is not instant - you need to start months before peak period to ensure strong rankings and visibility for core terms.

  • Site speed:

    The speed of your website is important for providing a great customer journey, but also vital for SEO. This is going to be crucial during peak periods to reduce bounce rates and provide and frictionless experience for users

  • Navigation: 

    Simplify navigation to help users quickly find deals and popular products.

  • Product Availability: 

    SEO efforts need to be aligned with inventory levels to avoid promoting out-of-stock items.

  • Server Capacity: 

    Make sure your website can handle an increase in traffic to site and prevent any potential down time.

 

Review user experience for conversion

Peak trading seasons provide an excellent opportunity to review and optimise the user experience (UX) of your website and mobile app for conversion. A smooth and intuitive UX can significantly impact your conversion rates and ultimately drive more sales.

Start by analysing the user flow on your website and app. Identify any pain points or areas where users may experience difficulties in completing their purchase. Simplify the checkout process, minimise the number of steps required, and provide clear instructions and guidance along the way.

Optimise your product pages by including high-quality images, detailed product descriptions, and customer reviews. Make it easy for users to compare products and make informed decisions. Implement features such as wish lists, product recommendations, and social proof to enhance the shopping experience and encourage conversions.

Pay attention to website performance and page load times, as slow-loading pages can lead to high bounce rates. Optimise images and code, leverage caching mechanisms, and use a content delivery network (CDN) to ensure fast and responsive website performance.

Regularly test and optimise your website and app across different devices and browsers to ensure compatibility and a consistent experience. Use A/B testing to experiment with different layouts, designs, and call-to-action buttons to identify the most effective elements for driving conversions.

By continuously reviewing and optimising the user experience for conversion, you can maximise the number of visitors who convert into paying customers, leading to increased sales and revenue during peak trading seasons.

 

Your promotion strategy

When planning your promotion strategy for peak trading, it's important to consider both a blanket approach and a selective approach.

A blanket approach involves offering promotions and discounts across a wide range of products, appealing to a larger customer base. This can generate larger sales volume but may impact your profit margins.

On the other hand, a selective approach allows you to strategically promote specific products or product categories that align with your business goals and offer higher profit margins. By focusing on these products, you can effectively manage your margins while still driving sales.

Consider analysing your sales data from previous peak seasons to identify the products that have performed well and align with your business objectives. These could be new products, high-margin items, or products that have a competitive advantage in the market. Develop targeted promotions and marketing campaigns to highlight these products and attract customer attention.

It's also important to communicate your promotions effectively through various marketing channels, such as email marketing, social media, paid advertising, and on-site banners. Create compelling and engaging promotional messages that clearly convey the value and benefits of your offers.

By carefully planning and executing your promotion strategy, you can maximise your sales and profitability during peak trading seasons.

 

Enhancing ROI with PPC advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a highly effective strategy for driving targeted traffic to your ecommerce website during peak trading seasons. By optimising your PPC campaigns, you can enhance your return on investment (ROI) and maximise your sales.

Start by conducting keyword research to identify relevant and high-converting keywords that align with your products and target audience. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to discover popular search terms and their search volumes.

Create compelling ad copy that highlights the unique selling points of your products and entices users to click on your ads. Use strong calls-to-action and relevant keywords in your ad text to increase the likelihood of attracting qualified clicks.

Optimise your landing pages to ensure a seamless and relevant user experience. Align the content and design of your landing pages with the ad copy to provide a consistent message and reinforce the value proposition of your products.

Regularly monitor and analyse the performance of your PPC campaigns. Identify any underperforming keywords or ads and make necessary adjustments. Use A/B testing to experiment with different ad variations and landing page designs to optimise your conversion rates.

By continuously refining and optimising your PPC campaigns, you can drive targeted traffic to your website and achieve a higher ROI during peak trading seasons.

 

Looking for digital marketing support ahead of the festive season? Our experts in organic search, PPC, paid social and content marketing are here to help you prepare for your most successful peak trading period yet! Get in touch now.

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