According to a recent study by eMarketer, Holiday spending is expected to reach $923.15 billion this year. On top of that, ecommerce’s share of total retail sales during the 2017 holiday shopping season is expected to reach a record 11.5%. ‘Tis the season for your ecommerce business to make a pretty penny, so you better make sure you’re ready for it. It’s easy to get left behind in the sea of attractive ads and unbeatable prices. Here’s how you can come out on top. Make Sure You Have Ample Inventory Nothing is worse than watching orders roll in that you can’t fulfill. Take some time to analyze your holiday sales from last year so you can fill up your inventory with products that did well. If you don’t have detailed sales reports from the year before, this is the time to start collecting detailed sales data. That way, when next year rolls around, you’ll be on top of your game. Develop Your Marketing Strategy Right Now Over 40% of consumers begin holiday shopping before Halloween and almost 40% of women complete their holiday shopping before Nov. 1. That means it’s crunch time. During the holiday season, customers want to be able to communicate with the companies they're interested in buying from. Make sure you’re building social media awareness. Social is a low-cost solution that allows you to connect with customers and stretch your marketing budget. Boost social media posts that give discounts in exchange for email addresses so you can build your email lists. Then, put your customers into your holiday email funnel. Email marketing is still incredibly effective, so don’t take it for granted. Just be careful not to spam your customers with too many emails because it can hurt your brand in the long run. Have Your Shipping Logistics In Place When orders start pouring in, you’ll be busy fulfilling them. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out how to ship your holiday purchases. Coordinate details like pricing and logistics with shipping carriers before the rush. You may want to look into tools like ShipStation to help automate your shipping processes. Also, make sure your shipping is free. In the era of Amazon, people expect fast and free shipping. If they aren’t confident that you’ll deliver their product quickly, they’ll scurry back to Amazon, leaving you high and dry. Additionally, make sure you have a good return policy in place and that your return policy is effectively communicated to the customer. Often, people want to buy gifts for others, but they want them to have the option to take it back if they don’t like it. Many companies allow Christmas returns until the beginning of March. Prepare for Increased Website Traffic Any lag on your website will interrupt the shopping experience for potential customers and may cause them to leave your site. If you don’t want your sales dropping like flies, then you better make sure your server won’t be experiencing unexpected turbulence. Take a look at how fast your site is running using this Google speed tool. If your site is laggy, you may want to rent a dedicated server for the holiday season. Stick To the Plan After you have everything in place for the holidays, make sure you stick to your plans so you can maintain momentum throughout the whole season. Better preparation means less cleanup after the holiday season and more profit during while it’s in full swing.