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Episode #13

Get Your E-Commerce Brand Ready for the Holidays

Show Notes:

Is your e-commerce brand ready for the fast-approaching holidays? In today’s episode, I’m sharing 5 things you need to do to ensure your site is ready for the three big e-commerce holidays right around the corner!

Don’t make it hard for people to give you money, believe in what you’re selling and then ask for the sale.

Holiday Habits for E-Commerce (1:36)

Get your eCommerce Shop Ready for the Holidays (2:25)
1. Make sure that your website is ready to collect emails.(2:25)
2. Test your checkout process to make sure there aren’t any glitches.
3. Make sure your best selling products are on your homepage. (5:18)
4. Establish your shipping and refund policies. (6:14)
5. Build a Marketing Strategy for the Big Three (8:04)

The Big Three Holidays:
Black Friday
Cyber Monday
Giving Tuesday

Recap (9:54)

One Liner: Don’t make it hard for people to give you money, believe in what you’re selling and then ask for the sale. (10:27)

Review the Transcript

Hey everyone, welcome back to Business on the Bright Side. So we are gearing up for the holidays. I feel like every time Halloween comes around, it's just immediately Mariah Carey Christmas music playing. I've actually decided that right after Thanksgiving is the best time to start listening to holiday music because I'm officially burnt out of it as soon as Christmas is over. So I'm not the expert, but feel free to try it.

So in this episode, we're going to be talking about how you can get your e-commerce brand ready for the holidays. So whether you're selling products, whether you're selling courses, physical products, digital products, this is your Super Bowl. People are primed, ready to spend their money, wanting to get value, even shopping for themselves right now. I know that I tend to do that sometimes when I'm looking at Christmas gifts for others, I'm like, "Oh, I could use that skin cream as well. Let me put another one in the cart." So we want to make sure that your website and all of your communication is ready to go for the holiday season. So let's get to it.

What's up everybody, it is Jess Ekstrom, and welcome to Business on the Bright Side, the podcast where you can learn how to make a living and make a difference at the same time. Life is short and so is my attention span. So let's get started.

One of the mistakes that I made when I was first starting Headbands of Hope was I thought that people did holiday shopping in December. And I would wait to have any sort of holiday push or specials until December because I thought, "Oh yeah, December is the month of the holidays, so that's probably when people do their shopping." I was so wrong. People are doing their shopping anywhere from like October, but especially when you hit November right after Thanksgiving. We do most of our sales during that weekend period right after Thanksgiving. And so now we are in the starting blocks, ready to go at Headbands of Hope, ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, we call them the big three. So in this episode, I want to help you get ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and just getting your e-commerce brand ready for the holidays.

So step one, make sure that your website is ready to collect emails. Now, I know that emails seem not as good as a purchase. Of course you want them to purchase something from your website, but just in case, you want to make sure you're grabbing that traffic as soon as they come on. So I like doing this through a first-timer discount. So if you go onto, you'll see that we probably have our spin the wheel special going. So you can spin the wheel, put in your email and you get a first-timer special. So what that does is not only do we get their email, but it also entices them to go buy something. And if they don't, then we have their email where we can send a reminder or send some new style updates or send when we're having specials. But you want to make sure that you're collecting that email on your website. So either put in a pop-up or something in the upper third of your website where people can put in their email for something valuable in exchange.

Number two, I want you to test your checkout process and make sure there aren't any glitches. So one time, we were looking at our analytics for Headbands of Hope and we realized that our sales have been down. And we weren't sure if it was something to do with the season or what it might be, but then we looked at it and we realized that our sales started to go down the moment that we had a website update about a month earlier. So we had updated our website to do this different branding and these different colors, and we realized that the time that sales started going down is right when we did that website update. And so then we put our little detective hat on and realized that there was a cart glitch.

And I know what you're thinking like the nightmare, but it was actually great news because that's something that we could fix. Like, "Oh, of course there's a cart glitch. We can fix that." It was way easier to fix and just wondering why sales were down. So check your checkout process, test the cart, test it on different browsers, make sure it's quick and speedy and self-explanatory too. No one wants to wonder where they should put in their email or their shipping address or anything like that.

Extra points if you can offer a gift wrap or a card in the order. So at Headbands of Hope, you can add on a gift. So if it's a gift for someone, we can put in a note or make it so it looks like a gift. With the holidays, if people are going to be shopping on your website for other people, they might want to ship it directly to that person instead of shipping it to themselves first. So if you can offer gift wrap or adding a card, it might make them more inclined to just hit purchase.

Step three, make sure your best-selling products are on your homepage. So, nowadays, people actually love to scroll the moment they land on a website instead of click in the navigation. So again, if you go onto, you'll see that we have our best-sellers directly there on our homepage. Now, you can still go up to the navigation and hit shop, but you want to make it as a few steps as possible for someone to give you money. So put those products on your homepage, have the button that they can add to cart and shop right then and there.

And this episode is brought to you by my new e-commerce shop, So I created this shop for people who deal, because I think that the best-selling product that you're looking to create is the story that you already have. So The Bright Side Shop is filled with digital and physical products to help you do just that. So head to and get shopping.

Number four, establish your shipping and your refund policies. So let's start with shipping. So I suggest having a free shipping qualifier so you get higher AOV. AOV stands for average order value. And why that matters is because if you want an order, if you're getting an order from someone, you want that order to be as much as possible, because it takes the same amount of effort to go fulfill package and ship that order. So why not get the most bang for your buck and get that high AOV in there?

When you have a free shipping qualifier, it tells people, okay, I need to spend this amount of money in order to get free shipping. And it works. So have a free shipping qualifier on your website, and I would make it so what is it that you want people to spend and have that be your AOV? Also note, when is the last date that they can guarantee delivery for the holidays? So something that we learned the hard way was people wanted to buy like all up until December 25th and expect it to just drop off like a drone from Amazon. So we needed to be super clear on our website when was the last day that we could guarantee standard shipping to arrive on time before the holidays and when they needed to start purchasing priority shipping to have it shipped in like two day express.

And then decide what you want to do with some of those pesky refund requests that you're going to get. Some people just say that they changed their mind. Sometimes it's valid where maybe they thought that the product was going to be one way and it showed up a different way or maybe it broke. So getting that clear beforehand is going to be super helpful so you don't get flustered in that moment and just having those policies right then and there.

Number five, build a marketing strategy for the big three. So the big three, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. People are shopping earlier and earlier, so you may want to consider using the terms holiday on your website as early as possible. So when you think about the different kinds of deals you can have for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, here's some ideas. You can offer a percentage off an order, or a fixed amount off an order. So instead of like 20% off, you're offering $5 off. Or you can offer a BOGO, buy one, get one. You can offer free shipping, but again, I would do the qualifier, or you can offer like a sale on all of your clearance items.

Whatever you offer, I would make sure that there's some sort of threshold that they have to hit in order to get that special. So instead of just saying 50% off your whole website, say 50% off when you spend $50 or more. That protects you from having someone buy like your cheapest product for $10 and only paying $5 for their entire order. Send out these specials on email or on social media. Get people excited about this short amount of time that they can shop on your website because that sense of urgency makes people hit add to cart and purchase that much faster.

And for Giving Tuesday, think about how can you donate product, time, or money? What is it that you're selling? And how can you take something from that and give it back to others and make your followers or your audience feel like they're a part of it? So sometimes on Giving Tuesday in the past, we've done double donations on our website. So when you buy a headband on our website, we're actually donating two to a child with cancer. So think about, can I donate product, time, or money for Giving Tuesday?

Okay, so let's do a recap. One, make sure you're collecting emails on your website, two, test your checkout process, three, make sure your best-selling products are published to your homepage, four, establish your shipping and refund policies, five, build your strategy for the big three, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. For so many years, I felt like the holidays were just an afterthought in my business, but now we start gearing up for the big three as soon as possible. So I'll leave you with this. Don't make it hard for people to give you money. Believe in what you're selling and then ask for the sale.

Thanks for listening to Business on the Bright Side. I'm your host, Jess Ekstrom. For all the show notes, head to And be sure to tell me what you thought of this episode on Instagram. And if you're picking up what I'm putting down, subscribe and write a review wherever you consume podcasts. See you next time, and keep chasing the bright side.

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