[Guest Blog] Top 5 things online retailers need to know in preparation for the holiday season

October 5, 2020

Marketplaces Laura Lane By Laura Lane

With the holiday season a few months away, preparations for the biggest event in the retail calendar will soon be underway. To help you manage this busy period seamlessly, not to mention drive more sales, OnBuy has rounded up the essential tips to help you get ahead this Christmas. 

Timing is key

If you’re not already selling on marketplaces, now is the time to get started. With 2.05 billion online shoppers in 2020 alone, and spending on marketplaces in the UK set to rise to £39.3 billion by 2024, having a marketplace presence is more crucial than ever.

It makes sense to meet your customers where they’re shopping – thereby increasing your audience, marketing opportunities and sales – by signing up with a trusted online marketplace like OnBuy. 

Once you’re up and running, make sure to have your product range uploaded and ready in plenty of time. Shoppers usually start browsing for presents in October and November, although some will likely want to get a headstart. Needless to say, the more of your product range that you share with your chosen platforms, the more potential for sales there will be.

Thanks to OnBuy’s fair, transparent approach and model, our sellers feel confident in sharing more of their product range with us, knowing that we won’t use their data to compete with them. 

Better yet, using an efficient channel system like ChannelAdvisor will help streamline the process of uploading products and allow you to manage all aspects of your e-commerce operations from a single, centralised platform. 

Reliable shipping

Shoppers are particularly demanding when it comes to deliveries around the festive season, and rightly so. The worry of presents not arriving in time adds to the extra stress around what is an already trying time, so having a strong logistics solution in place for the holidays is essential. Not only will this keep customers happy, but it will reduce the strain on your customer care department, and foster a positive reputation for your business overall.

ChannelAdvisor supports a wide range of fulfilment options, including owned warehouses, fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) and third-party logistics providers (3PLs), to offer sellers maximum flexibility. Already integrated with OnBuy, ChannelAdvisor allows sellers on our platform to access the various fulfilment companies they work with, leading to a seamless process from picking, to packing and shipping.

Invest in customer service

The holiday season is the single biggest time of year for retail, and with this huge increase in shoppers comes the potential for more issues and communication from customers. Often, customers will expect a swift response to their enquiries, which can escalate into complaints if left to linger. Having a strong customer service team on hand will ensure your business can handle the inflation of enquiries during a time of heightened emotions amongst shoppers.

It may be that you need to employ temporary additional staff to cover the busy holiday season or ask existing staff to take on extra hours. Whether you decide to expand your team for this busy period, or have enough staff to cope with the added pressure on customer service, ensure each and every member of your team has received first-rate training to provide the best customer experience possible.

Preventing customer issues in the first place is easier than dealing with them as they happen, and will save you precious time and energy at an already stressful time. 

Check profit margins

The holiday season is a time when shoppers look for offers and discounts to get the most for their money. So, take a look at your profit margins and see if you can lower the price of your popular items to attract more customers to shop with you.

When you sell through a marketplace, you need to work in any fees and charges into your profit margins. OnBuy’s low seller fees of 5-9% mean you can price competitively and pass on those savings to shoppers. Our transparent structure applies the same fees to all sellers, regardless of their size or volume of sales.

If you’re unable to compete with competitor prices, see if you can offer something additional to encourage shoppers to buy from you. Free or expedited delivery is always appreciated, while ‘buy one get one free’ offers can sometimes work out more lucrative than slashing prices – and will help you shift stock more quickly.

Ramp up marketing

Festive marketing campaigns provide ample opportunity for creativity. From seasonal social media posts, to enticing offers via email or attention-grabbing PPC marketing, there are numerous ways to target potential shoppers. You may already have a loyal customer base, but to expand your reach even further, make advertising around the holiday season one of your top priorities. 

ChannelAdvisor offers numerous marketing solutions for online retailers to help increase revenue growth and customer acquisition. Services include paid social marketing services to build brand awareness, and feed management that improves performance on shopping sites with optimised product data, to name just two.

At OnBuy, our focus is on promoting our sellers’ products on and off-site – we don’t sell our own products, so sellers can be confident that we’ll never compete against them, but instead support them. As well as helping our sellers gain more prominence on our platform amongst the millions of shoppers who use OnBuy, we also push products to external partners to reach an even wider audience. Along with our marketing efforts, sellers can also use our tailored Boost feature to promote and improve the product rank of certain products. Sellers who opt into OnBuy’s Boost feature choose a fixed cost and only pay for what sells, making it a risk-free way to gain more exposure throughout and beyond the marketplace.

Why joining OnBuy now is the right move for your business 

With competitive selling fees that enable you to price lower and still make the same profit, immediate payment by PayPal on item dispatch (giving you a better cash flow) and incremental revenue gains to be had, joining OnBuy is a smart move at any time – but now more than ever. 

Not only has OnBuy just signed an exclusive £1m deal with ITV as part of a major £5m Q4 marketing campaign, but the marketplace has seen 24,000% growth in just four years – so why miss out? Start selling with OnBuy today to help boost your online business.