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How Do I Plan My Christmas 2020 Ecommerce Sales Approach?

In our previous blog, What Is Happening To Print Ecommerce in 2020?, we discussed how printer ecommerce had been growing exponentially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What does this mean for traditionally the busiest quarter of online retail this year?

We will provide an insight into the current trends in ecommerce, where we think the trends will take us this quarter, and some hints and tips on what to ensure you are doing in this quarter to make sure your marketing, and your print ecommerce shop, are on track to get the most out of current opportunities.

Why Has Online Shopping Become So Important?

The pandemic has led to a need for customers to be able to purchase their products online. Whether it is due to an actual lockdown, or due to a reluctance to spend time in public areas, customers have turned to the internet for their shopping needs.

What Do The Statistics Show Us?

The most recent release from the Office For National Statistics tell us that online sales accounted for 26.6% of all retail sales in the UK in August 2020 (ONS, Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales (ratio) (%)).

Whilst this is a slight fall on the statistics during the first UK lockdown. It is still considerably higher year on year. In August 2019, under a fifth of retails sales was made online, August 2020 shows us over a quarter have been made online. A growth of almost 9% year on year, bucking the usually growth trend for August of just over 1% YOY.

How Can I Make My Ecommerce Print Shop Work For Me?

There are so many aspects of successfully selling online that are important to printer ecommerce it’s worth checking how many of these you have in place.

  • Infrastructure – A good quality ecommerce print shop that performs well and ideally integrates with other software.
  • Marketing – An omni-channel Marketing Plan that is based on valid research.
  • Operations – Stock and resources, delivery and logistics.

Planning is key and so if you haven’t already prepared all of the above in time for this quarter – you will need to get organised as soon as possible.

Why Is Infrastructure Important?

Have you ever clicked on a website and not been able to find the information you need? Now imagine your customers doing the same. A poorly designed website is a sure way to lose business. If you have a basic website that has all your business details such as opening times and location, you will need to step it up a notch. The bare facts are that customers – whether they are local or national – now want to order online. The easier your website is to use for your customers the more likely you are to succeed with printer ecommerce.

Another benefit of a quality ecommerce print shop is that you can integrate other software systems. Integrations with Management Information Systems, Payment Gateways, Trade Printers, Couriers, Accounts Packages, and Marketing platforms will improve your accuracy, and are a time saving benefit for busy printers.

Why Is Marketing Important?

With the trend towards online sales and integrations it may well feel like the digital world is taking over but the truth of the matter is when it comes to marketing one approach is simply not enough.

Digital marketing is an important part of the marketing mix but it is just that. It is part of the mix. When building your print ecommerce shop you will need to ensure you take into account search engine optimisation and you may want to consider paid advertising as well – but marketing doesn’t stop at digital.

Consider every access point that you have to your potential customers: your website, social media marketing, email, direct mail, other forms of advertising such as posters, and in store experience if you have a high street presence. The key to making your marketing work is to use all channels that you have available to you and work across and through those channels so they interact seamlessly to encourage customers and promote your products and services effectively.

Why Are Operations Important?

You’ve invested time and effort into your printer ecommerce, perfected your omni-channel marketing, but you’ve not forecasted your sales and adjusted your stock and resourcing accordingly. The customers are on board and want to make a purchase but you don’t have the staff, or the stock to complete their order, the result – lost demand. The sale is gone and the customer has moved on to another business that can fulfil their needs.

Forecasting is an important part of business at the best of times but at times of increased demand in a short space of time, such as Christmas, it’s imperative to ensure you are ahead of the game. Forecast your expected sales based on year on year data and a projected growth rate and factor in these statistics when ordering materials and creating staff rotas.

Cut off dates and times for couriers are another area where you can easily come unstuck at Christmas. Ensure you have up to date information and communicate your own cut off dates to your customers clearly.

When Is Your Peak?

You’ll probably already have a good idea of when sales are usually busiest for you. Depending on your print products and your customer base, the timing of your busy period this quarter may differ to other print businesses.

If the majority of your customers are businesses themselves it is very likely you will be busier earlier than a print business that is selling direct to consumer. Think about initiatives that will help you spread out the busy period and give you more capacity to take additional orders. Offers for those who order early may be a way to stretch out and extend your busiest sales periods whilst affording you more breathing space. If you find you have extra capacity, you could also consider implementing offers towards the end of the quarter to eke out those last sales.

Flex4 OPS

Flex4 have an experienced eCommerce team with skills and experience in business development, ecommerce, project management, software development, website management, and digital marketing.

The Online Print Solution – the OPS – has been developed by Flex4 and is based on over 15 years’ experience in designing, developing and supporting web to print solutions and services for print businesses in both the UK and overseas.

Our objective is to help your business to both grow print revenues and reduce administration costs for a better margin and a more efficient process.