What Your Online Shop Needs for the 2020 Holiday Season

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There are a few kinds of people who start thinking about the winter holidays before Halloween even happens — prop stylists, influencers (who’ll post hot cocoa picks as soon as the calendar hits November), and retail shop owners.

Usually, the build up to the holidays is intense, but exciting. You pull out the decorations from last year. You order your holiday bestsellers, and you buy the gifts you hope will be big hits this year. You start increasing staff, prep your gift wrap station, and get ready for the two months of the year that you can count on profits that outshine the last ten.

And then comes 2020 with its quarantines, its masks and it’s ban on almost everything that makes people want to walk into a brick and mortar shop. Those guidelines are important, of course, but there’s no getting around that fact that they make running a small business extremely tough.

We won’t be able to count on the foot traffic this year. With people staying home, either because they’re quarantining or because getting out is less convenient than it used to be, the ease of Amazon is going to be more attractive to our customers than ever.

Before this year, if you owned a brick and mortar store, chances are good that you neglected your website. It wasn’t your primary sales driver, and there were always so many things calling for your attention that it just wasn’t a priority. In 2020, of course, it has to be — customers need up-to-date hours and information. They want a way to buy online, and they want that experience to be quick and easy.

Even if you’ve already tackled the steep learning curve of updating your site this year, with the holidays coming, it’s time to do it again. I know, I know — this is the last thing you need. But you don’t have to do it alone.

Enlist your staff when you can, but friends and family can help quite a bit when it comes to user testing your site and sharing your social media posts. And I’d like to help, too — on Wednesday, October 27 at 10:00 a.m. (that’s tomorrow), Infomedia is offering a course on How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Store for the Holidays, and it’s taught by yours truly.

My goal isn’t to give you more stuff to do — it’s to offer a clear, comprehensive list of doable ways to update your site with as little effort as possible. I cover everything I know about what your website should include for the holidays, and you can pick and choose what’s right for you and your business.

The webinar is free, but you do have to sign up — use this link to register (it takes like five seconds). If you own a shop, I hope you’ll be there. And if you don’t, I hope you’ll share!

Carrie Rollwagen is host of the Localist podcast author of The Localist, a book about buying from locally owned stores and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find her as @crollwagen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and most other social media platforms.

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