It’s too early to prepare for the ecommerce holiday season, right?


As anachronistic as it feels, the best way to have a massive holiday season is to start revving your engine right now.

Huge sales goals aren’t won by freak accident or the random meanderings of cultural whim. Instead, they are won by planning, preparing, and rehearsing far in advance.

With months to prepare, this is your most profitable time to get a leg up on the competition and crush it this year.

Here’s what you need to do.

1. Make everything mobile ready.

The 2014 holiday season was all about mobile. Among the major mobile winners were Amazon, whose record-smashing holiday season was due in part to their 60% mobile visitors. On Cyber Monday, Amazon was selling 18 toys per second, ordered from mobile devices. (Source)

Mobile traffic was so big that Best Buy couldn’t even handle it. Their website went down at a critical moment on Black Friday due to the barrage of mobile visitors.

The lessons are obvious. You need to be ready for the major mobile influx of visitors. By “ready,” here’s what I mean:

– A fully responsive website. Google’s search results will favor mobile friendly sites, so it’s worth running a quick test on your website to see if it passes muster.

– A mobile-optimized checkout process. It’s easy to overlook the shopping cart, but this is the number one point of departure for frustrated mobile users. Make it easy for users to complete a purchase on their mobile device.

2. Split test.

One of the best ways to improve your conversions this holiday season is to start split-testing now.

Split testing takes time. Coming up with a test, hypothesizing results, setting the test, and analyzing the results can quickly add up to days and weeks of testing. When you realize how many tests you can possibly run, you’re looking at months of potential testing.

It’s time to start testing. Split testing is a scientifically proven way to improve conversions, so if you want to boost sales this holiday season, you better get testing.

3. Build your email list.

Want to reach more customers this holiday season than ever before?

I have two words for you: Email list.

An email list is grown, not bought. Growing, like anything organic, takes time. In view of the holiday season, time is on your side…at least right now.

A growing email list will result in your reaching more customers this holiday season. An inactive email list is a shrinking email list since the average email list degrades by 22.5 annually.

You can fight the attrition and reverse the trend by taking proactive measures to grow your list.

4. Prepare to launch a new product.

Have you noticed how some of the most popular products and commercial events roll out during the holiday season?

There’s a reason for this. Smart marketers know that they can spend a year building buzz, then release the product during the time of year when people are most likely to have fun and spend money.

Movies are an especially appealing holiday-season release, but other seasonal product launches are equally successful. People are willing to buy, prepared to spend, and wide open to marketing advances.

There are just a few things that will derail a successful holiday launch. First, do not rush the product through to development. If you can’t make it good in time, don’t make it at all. Second, a shoddy marketing approach can ruin an otherwise great product. The only way to have a successful holiday season product launch is to build it up big well in advance of the holiday season.

Which brings us to the here and now. There’s no better time to work out the kinks and get that product ready to hit the digital shelves.

5. Build buzz.

If you have a product ready, start building buzz.

The anticipation for Spectre, a James Bond film, has been building for months. Its pre-holiday release is expected to be a major success in part due to the movie’s major buzz.

The better you can talk about, blog about, tweet about, post about, and whisper about your upcoming products, releases, sales, etc., the better you will do this holiday season.

The time to do that is right now.

6. Figure out your campaigns and rehearse them.

A hastily-assembled last-minute marketing move is apparent to anyone who sees it. Worse, such eleventh hour wonders are spectacular failures.

True marketing genius is not whipping out some miracle hack in the last minute. True marketing genius is plotting out every detail of a marketing campaign down to the final character of every hashtag, and a plan B for every variable.

Before summer comes, you should have a clear idea of what your campaigns will look like, how much they will cost, and their projected success.

And since you started planning in April, you can probably kick up your success expectation a notch or two.

What do I mean by rehearse ? If you haven’t launched a big-scale marketing campaign before, then conduct a few as a test. You have time. It’s important to conduct split testing on tweets, headlines, ad copy, images, etc., in order to find out which versions and methods resonate best with your users.


One of the biggest holiday season mistakes you can make is not preparing now.

In some ways, I dread the holiday season. From a marketing and commerce perspective, it’s exhausting. What I’ve learned, however, is that by preparing early, I can not only fight exhaustion, but I can also improve revenue.

Your holiday prep plan is ready. All you need to do is step on the gas.

What are you doing right now to prepare for the holiday season?

This article was written by Neil Patel from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.