These top five actionable steps will assist you in getting everything from your website to your inventory and all things in between in tip-top shape so you can maximize the busy holiday season and gain as much profit as possible.

If you’re a retailer, it’s time to begin thinking and preparing for the holiday season.

Freestyle Solutions is here to help online retailers and brands survive and thrive during this peak season.

Below are some extremely important steps that will help your business this holiday season.


1. Prepare Your Website

Is your website ready for the traffic spikes the holidays can bring?

Testing load time for API’s and your site’s speed is a very good idea before the holiday season.

If you collect customer data or accept credit cards online, you’ll want to verify your website is PCI compliant.

Additionally, having a low site speed will reduce the chances that customers will exit your website. This also helps assist you in Google rankings for your sought-after keywords, which is always a nice bonus.

Is your website secure?

Make sure your eCommerce and content management platforms have the latest updates installed and are using the best security practices available.

If this is too much for your IT team’s area of expertise, you may want to look into hiring a security consultant to verify your website is not vulnerable to an attack.

Businesses are common targets during the holidays, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Is your site mobile-friendly? If it isn’t, it should be.

Smartphones accounted for 45.1% of all shopping traffic online in the first quarter of 2016 according to a study from Demandware. This is more than computers at 45%.

Also, Google search results are affected by whether a site is responsive and mobile-friendly.

In May, Google put out an update to mobile search results that “increases the effect” of its mobile-friendly ranking.


2. Get Your Inventory Ready

The last thing you want to be during the holiday peak season is out of stock on a key item or items that are going to be the best-selling item of the entire holiday season.

Looking at the trends for specific products from last year or past holiday trends for top products will help you stock the products you need this year, and make sure that you never run out of stock.

You can also analyze monthly or weekly sales volumes for trends and patterns.

With the omnichannel landscape growing more and more important, tying in your brick-and-mortar stores for in-store pick-up as an available option will drive the success you need for this holiday season.


3. Figure Out Your Sales Schedule

Sure, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a given when it comes to massive sales during the holiday season, but maybe you want to consider other days during the holiday season that will help increase revenue.

It also gives potential buyers a reason to come and visit your site multiple times during the holiday season.

You’ll want to be a step ahead of everyone else, become the trend, don’t join the trend. Leading the pack gives you a very important competitive advantage.


4. Plan Your Promotions Schedule

You want to entice people to purchase something on your site, but you also want to understand ways that will drive them to the site once the holiday season is over.

Creating promotions is a great way to drive demand.

Developing the right promotions will get people to not only increase the size of their cart but also increase the size of the sale.

Also, consider running promotions after the holidays to give buyers a reason to come back after the holidays are over.


5. Get Your Seasonal Help Up To Speed

Having enough help to handle the spike in your business is a critical piece in helping your business survive and thrive in this peak season.

You should determine which positions are most critical and can be trained quickly and efficiently.

It may be employees that help pack and ship out extra boxes of merchandise or answer phones in your call center.

Using a staffing firm to hire temporary workers may be the quickest way to find temporary help.

Training these employees quickly and thoroughly will help decrease headaches and increase the efficiency of your business.