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How online stores can gear up for the holiday sales rush

By Patricia Mirasol

From reinforcing branded packaging to beefing up product inventories, businesses have started offering Christmas promotions in their online stores.

EveGrocer, a zero-waste online grocery, is anticipating a surge of demand for its Christmas hams from Giana Deli, Log & Cabin, and Gastronomo. Its other in-demand products, according to CEO Ma. Leonelle de Leon-Sandoval, are its body care gift sets from Green Mama, Amari Organics, Human Nature, Vanity & Queens, and Wasteless PH.

“This is EveGrocer’s second Christmas holiday,” Ms. Sandoval told BusinessWorld in a Facebook message. “With the support of the Alagang AyalaLand Program (which provides livelihood opportunities to social enterprises), we have quickly scaled [up] to be able to be present in the market this Christmas season.”

The grocery accepts pre-orders as it does not stock products to ensure their freshness.

Other online stores like Papemelroti, a stationery and notions shop, and Honest Junk, a healthy snacks shop, are utilizing Christmas packaging to reinforce their branding. The former’s add-on holiday wrapping service features its brand name on gift tags, while the latter has its logo on the Christmas paper bags it’s giving away with every order this holiday.

To make the most of the year-end shopping season, last-mile delivery service Ninja Van shares these additional tips for online sellers:

Prepare the storefront. From the frontend, keep product descriptions accurate, up-to-date, and detailed. From the backend, ensure that the online shop can handle the increase in traffic. Prioritize website security too, as incidents of hacking can result in a loss of trust in the business.
Utilize the data. Take advantage of tools like Google Trends or A Better Lemonade Stand’s Instant Product Evaluator Tool to reveal information such as a product’s strengths and weaknesses, or the business’s top sales channels.
Announce promotions. Announce discounts early enough to give customers something to look forward to. Given that the number of social media users in the Philippines is 80.7% of the total population (as per We Are Social’s #Digital2021 report), online sellers can choose to make these announcements on social media platforms like TikTok.
Engage customers. Investing in conversational commerce is paramount in the age of digital. Since 44% of Filipino shoppers chat with sellers first before making a purchase, Ninja Van advises creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page, as well as automated instant replies to address queries that come in 24/7.
Mind the shipping. Free shipping is a way to win over customers and prevent “abandoned carts.” Delays can mar the customer experience, however — regardless of whether shipping was offered free or not — so Ninja Van also suggests managing expectations by adding a few days’ allowance to the expected delivery date.

EveGrocer, which offers free delivery to Metro Manila and other select locations, has started preparing its in-house fleet to prevent delivery delays this Christmas, Ms. Sandoval told BusinessWorld.

“We have also partnered with iSend, FoodPanda, and Grabmart [to cope with the upcoming holiday demand],” she added.

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