The Small Ecommerce Business Holiday Checklist

The National Retail Foundation estimates that the holidays account for 20-40% of annual sales. This year in particular is expected to generate a shopping frenzy for web and mobile ecommerce.

Big retailers like Amazon and Etsy go full tilt with intricate sales and marketing campaigns. While these large companies have whole departments running operations, small businesses will have to make the most of a more humble budget. Owners have to be disciplined if they want to survive the season and be ready for the slower months ahead. Here’s a list of questions to help small business owners cover all bases and leave no sales opportunity untapped.

Do I have my support processes optimized?
Excellent customer service can be a small business’ trump card; most shoppers expect intimate and personal experiences with small businesses. The holiday rush of inquiries and orders can overwhelm staff. Make sure you’ve got a clear process for handling support tickets and that your customers know how to reach out to you, either through email or social media.

Is my site ready for increased traffic?
“There is absolutely, positively nothing worse than having your server go down while everyone is on holiday break,” says Chris S. of SEO Smokehouse. Make sure your site is not just stable, but can stay fast under increased traffic loads. Mobile commerce sites risk losing half their visitors if they take longer than 3 seconds to load.

Are my discounts reasonable?
Not all deals are created equal. Storewide discounts are preferred over other holiday promos, but small owners might understandably be afraid of gutting profit margins. Use buffers like minimum purchase limits before discounts kick in to keep revenue predictable. If you’re opting for a storewide discount, best practice is to keep it around 20%. If storewide discounts don’t work for your business, 40-50% has been shown to be an effective range for individual products.

Am I using all available channels?
Online retailers with physical locations or pop-up shops should aim for a seamless shopping experience. "If you don't have your holiday deals out now – and you should – make sure that all of them are scannable for your in-store sales," says Mike Catalania of in an interview with Business News Daily. Retailers can also open in-store pickup for online shoppers, presenting new opportunities for sales.

Am I using the right tools?
Business owners will have their hands full with taking orders, delivering items, and maintaining their site or app. Many free tools can help cover the rest. For instance, owners can save time by using Buffer to schedule content in advance, or Shortstack to create giveaways on social media with just a few clicks. Businesses who still rely on traditional payment options can sign up for the most popular mobile payment app, Venmo, to reach the rising number of consumers who shop on mobile. Tenjin’s own DataVault can help retailers convert holiday cheer into sales by making it easy to track conversions and manage campaigns across all marketing channels.

You don’t have to be Amazon to emerge a winner during the holidays. Maximize sales by being prepared to give shoppers a great experience every step of the way--from browsing your site to smoothing out shopping hiccups.

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