Preparing for holiday shoppers: Tips for getting your small ecommerce business ready

3 minute read

For small businesses, the holiday shopping season can be the defining factor of a successful year. During this critical window, businesses can expect to earn 20% of their annual sales, starting as early as August.1  Consumers are holiday shopping earlier each year, rather than waiting for big sales like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Businesses that want to give themselves an edge should be preparing for holiday shopping in August.2
16% of shoppers begin their holiday shopping in September and October. 26% shop throughout the year.
It’s important to have an online shopping option available to your customers. Online shopping is on the rise with 49% of purchases made in-store and 43% made online for delivery.3 The following tips can prepare your ecommerce business for the holidays.

Setting goals, tracking metrics and planning your strategy

As you start preparing for the holiday shopping season, begin by setting a goal for your business. A business goal is a specific and measurable objective with a clear timeline for the goal to be achieved. An example of a business goal is increasing your online sales by 39% by the end of the holiday shopping season, in early January.

Choose metrics to track throughout the holidays to measure your return on investment. Metrics can include:

  • Revenue and margins
  • Average order value
  • Website traffic
  • Number of new and returning customers

Next, think about a strategy for reaching your target audience. To successfully reach customers you’ll need an effective marketing mix. Consider including:

  • Direct mail
  • Email marketing
  • Social media

Once you’ve decided how you’ll reach your customers, you’ll need to choose what to promote. Drive them to your business with promo codes and reward offers. There are many opportunities to promote products, increase sales and most importantly build loyalty!

Optimizing the shopping experience

Before you get your strategy in motion, it’s important to review your selling channel to ensure a good customer experience when shopping and checking out. Here are some best practices to consider when analyzing your channel:

  • Test on various devices, including desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.
  • Check all product images are high quality and easy to view
  • Make product information easily accessible
  • Checkout should include guest, shipping and payment saving options

Looking to get started with a website? Discover ecommerce platforms and tech partners that can help you get set up quickly and are integrated with Canada Post for seamless shipping.

Attracting customers with enticing return and shipping options

Return policies and shipping offers can make or break a consumer’s purchasing.

40% of shoppers avoid making a holiday purchase due to returns policy concerns. 83% of Canadian shoppers are influenced by the cost of shipping.

Your returns policy should be clear and easily accessible. Consider including a return shipping label and offering extended return time periods. You can create a returns policy that works for you and your customers through our return solutions center.

Shipping options should also be transparent, with delivery times and costs clearly presented. At checkout, include a selection of shipping options and price points. A best practice to follow is offering free shipping as the standard option and extending that for orders that purchase a set amount, to encourage additional shopping. You can also incorporate shipping promotions during the holidays to help drive conversions.

We can assist with providing enticing pricing options. Explore our shipping tools available for Canada Post Solutions for Small Business™ customers and get access to exclusive discounts.

Get notifications delivered directly to your inbox

Now you’ve got the tools and information you need to prepare your business for the holiday shopping season. To keep you informed throughout the holiday season – and beyond – we’ve introduced a notification subscription tool on our webpage. The notifications will include daily updates during peak season and alerts for events that may impact our ability to deliver, such as flooding or wildfires.

Subscribe to receive notifications directly to your inbox.

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1 Canada Post’s 2023 eShopper Survey conducted by Phase 5 Consulting Group, May 2023.
2 Ibid
3 The Strategic Counsel. Holiday Omnibus Report, January 2022
4 Canada Post’s 2023 eShopper Survey conducted by Phase 5 Consulting Group, May 2023.
5 Canada Post. 2022 Canadian Holiday Report, 2022.