How to take time off during the holidays

Every business owner has felt it.

We want to remind you that you should and can take a break when you need it. You have worked hard to build your business and now you can take some time off.

We’ve put together a guide to help you get the most out of your holiday.

There are nine ways you can plan ahead to enjoy your holidays

1. Optimize your website

Expect a spike in holiday customers. You may be excited about the potential increase in traffic to your website, but you must ensure it can handle the additional load. A store that crashes when customers reach checkout will send them packing faster than anything.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Speed test your website.
  2. You should ensure that your website is always up-to-date.
  3. Consider a content delivery network.
  4. Install a caching plugin
  5. Optimize your images

These tests, as well as other tests that assess your website’s ability handle an increase of purchases, are discussed in our article Preparing your website for a surge of traffic.

2. Pre-arrange online or offline operations

Preparing for the flood of orders that will come your way long before the holidays arrives is a good idea. Make sure you have a plan for letting customers who are returning to your store know about any special offers or sales that you might be running. To get customers excited about the big event, announce them several weeks in advance.

A business owner wants to see an increase in sales, but organization is key.

Customers waiting for their order could become upset and cause cancellations or negative reviews.

This will help you to avoid this. You can specify a shipping period if you are going to be away from home for the holidays. Customers will feel at ease if they hear clear and concise statements such as “Your orders will be shipped between Dec 19th and Dec 21st” (or “Your orders will go out in 2-3 business days”)

Pre-orders are a great way to increase interest if you intend on releasing specific items in your store at a certain time. This is particularly important if you do not plan to ship items until they are returned. Let customers know that they can buy the product and then pay for it when it’s shipped.

Learn more:

Example of a product available for pre-order on https://manuatelier.com/

Your inventory management is another area worth examining. Do you have enough stock to send out if there is an increase in certain products? Will you be able to replace them if not? Do your inventory diligence in advance to avoid having to scramble for products last-minute if they sell.

3. Hire the right people

Many hats are worn by business owners throughout the week. It can be difficult to delegate tasks when you are so used to managing everything. Hire customer service representatives and a second in command before the holiday week arrives.

Review your daily tasks together to prepare your second in command. Once they are clear about their role, your helper can delegate smaller, less important matters to the team.

To set expectations for the surge in orders before you fly off, have a team meeting. You’ll be much more comfortable allowing your team to take vacation days when they are used to working together.

4. Make an FAQ page

You can reduce the amount of questions that your team has to answer by anticipating them. It is essential to create an efficient FAQ page at all times of the year. This is especially important when there’s a spike in orders and you also need to take some time off.

Make a list of the most frequently asked questions by shoppers. These questions could be about product size, availability, shipping times, assembly, and so on. Add them all to one FAQ page. This will make your customer service staff and you both much more efficient.

It’s a good idea to share your holiday plans on social media, email or blog posts if your business is small or your customers prefer personalized attention. Let them know when and where you will be leaving. Also let them know what you are doing to make sure they are taken care of. This personal touch will make you a favorite.

5. Enhance transactional email

Transactional email can be a lifesaver for keeping customers informed. These are short, simple messages that customers receive to inform them about the status of their order.

WooCommerce automatically sends you an order confirmation. But this is only the beginning of what you can do. You can customize your emails, add content to them, or create new ones based upon order status using a tool such as EmailPoet.

How to get the most out of transactional email

Don’t forget abandoned carts! Potential customers sometimes forget to add items or get distracted. You have a limited time window to convince them to buy when this happens. You can schedule abandoned cart emails to be sent out within 30-60 minutes of a customer leaving.

These three steps will help you figure out how many emails to send.

  1. Email confirmation of order: This email confirms that the order has been placed and informs them that payment has been received.
  2. Shipping update: Include any shipping information such as their tracking number, expected delivery date, and delivery method.
  3. Follow-up email: Once an order has been shipped, contact customers to confirm that they are satisfied. This allows you to quickly rectify any issues or ask for positive feedback.

6. Increase security on your website

Hackers and everyone else spend more time online during holidays. Your website security must be in good shape before you go to sleep. You might consider using a platform such as Jetpack Security which includes multiple tools, including an automated malware scanner that runs while you are away. You can also access quick fixes for common problems and backups to ensure that you are able to quickly recover from any mishaps.

A spam management tool such as JetpackAnti-spam may be an option. This will automatically remove annoying, pervasive spam while you are spending time with your family.

7. Schedule social media content

You should schedule and batch your social media posts before you leave. Tools such as HootSuite or Buffer make it easy to stay in touch with your customers even while you’re away.

It may be a good idea to inform your team that you are scheduling posts in your absence. Customers will be happy if there is someone available to answer questions and respond to comments.

8. Get mobile with the WooCommerce Mobile App

The WooCommerce Mobile App allows you to manage last-minute emergency situations on the move. An eCommerce store is always available. Sometimes, you will need to be there to manage inventory issues or track the status of orders. Accessing your business via your smartphone is life-saving when this happens.

You can add products, track your stats, and manage orders using the mobile app. You can check on your store quickly and easily, so you can get back to enjoying your vacation.

9. Prioritize and establish clear boundaries

It is important to set clear boundaries and prioritize your time.

You shouldn’t forget to enjoy your vacation and unplug. This could mean setting aside 20 minutes each day to talk with your second in command or using the mobile app to keep track of everything once per day.

Every eCommerce owner will have a different approach to taking time off. No matter what you do, you will return to your business feeling rejuvenated and ready to take it to new heights.