The end of the year, especially the fourth quarter (Q4), is one of the most important periods of the year for Shopify merchants. It is the time when consumers are most eager to make their purchases during the year's major holidays and promotions. In this blog, we cover important tasks and strategies that Shopify merchants should consider during and in preparation for Q4.
Analyze previous years' performance
Review previous years' Q4 performance and analyze what worked and what could be improved. In particular, look at customers from different perspectives. During the seasons at the end of the year, were there many new customers and did they grow into loyal customers, or were there a group of customers who bought but returned the products as quickly as they made a new purchase decision. When analyzing Shopify data, you can also easily find information on which products were the most popular or which marketing campaigns worked best.
Use this information when planning campaigns and more personalized customer communication or developing the customer experience.
Define the most important data sources and tools
The coming end of the year will bring plenty of new customers, purchases by current customers and different experiences about products, so it is important to use the right tools. For example, the marketing communication automation tool Klaviyo integrates with Shopify in an agile manner, so old Shopify data is transferred to Klaviyo. On the other hand, in Klaviyo you can build different customer segments in an agile way, for which you can build different customer communications during the campaign seasons.
Secondly, the sales season is an excellent time to learn more and more about your customers and their product experiences. Therefore, build sufficient post-marketing measures, e.g. with product reviews, so in addition to developing your online store, you also have the opportunity to learn about your products or other phases of your service.
Ensure the site's customer experience
Investing in customer acquisition for online stores and the general interest of customers in spending will presumably bring a lot of traffic to your site and purchases. During last year's BFCM, sales increased by 19% compared to the previous year, of which 73% of purchases were made on mobile devices.
Consumers demand ease of use, versatile product information and speed of shopping from your site. In particular, ensure the experience of your website on a mobile device as well as sufficient and clearly findable product information to speed up consumer purchasing decisions.
Stock situation and supply chain management
When planning sales and campaigns for the end of the year, it is important to consider the situation of your warehouse. First of all, it must be noted that there are enough of your most popular products in stock and that the delivery of the products is planned efficiently.
Another good thing to analyze in inventory management is the sale of poorly selling products. With Shopify's ABC analysis, you can see the inventory shares of products in well-sold and less-sold products. During the campaign period at the end of the year, there is an excellent opportunity to increase the share of the lowest-selling products in your warehouse with the help of various campaigns.
Make sure you know the delivery schedules for your products and that you can manage with them. Customers often expect fast delivery, especially for Christmas gifts, so be prepared for congestion and increased order volume.
In Q4, the competition in online shopping is at its fiercest. When the previous years' results, customers and product inventory have been analyzed, you can plan your marketing for the rest of the year. By focusing primarily on already purchased and current customers, you ensure the most profitable end result.
The end of the year is an excellent time to also acquire new customers, but then the acquisition can be more challenging and more expensive when the competition is fierce. The campaign communication must be designed to address selected target groups, and the shopping experience on the site must match the content of the campaign.
One good tool for campaign planning for existing and new customers is Shopify's Bundles app. With the help of the application, you build product combinations that increase the average purchase while keeping your stock balance up to date.
Planning for the coming year
Although Q4 will be a busy time for many Shopify merchants and a critical time from the point of view of business results, we would like to recommend setting aside time to prepare for the coming year as well.
Often, in many industries, the beginning of the year will be a quieter month in terms of sales after high consumption months. During the end of the year, you can set next year's goals, determine budgets and possible development projects for the calmest months, making your business more profitable and scalable.
In summary, the end of the year will be a busy but also very profitable period for Shopify merchants. With the right tools and preparation, you can ensure that you take full advantage of the end-of-year sales season and create a strong foundation for your success in the years to come. Careful data analysis, store customer experience, inventory management, marketing and customer service are the keys to a successful Q4 as an online retailer.
Make sure you'll succees in your high season and contact us!