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How to Prepare for the Holiday Season

Posted on September 11, 2019
by Emma Burgess

InterCultural Elements has come together with Huboo to give you helpful hints for selling this holiday season.  If you’re like most sellers, you’ve already gotten a start selling abroad and perhaps already have decent sales.  If so, pick and choose the tips which will help your business best.

If you’re only thinking of starting foreign expansion, you may be a bit late to reap the full potential of one of the biggest e-commerce seasons. Rushing into uncharted marketplaces just to cash in on fourth quarter (Q4) sales is never a good idea.

Setting up for Christmas and the holiday season in general is a long game, so follow the instructions below now and you’ll be ready to take full advantage of 2020. Lucky for you, here are our tips on how to prepare for the gift-giving season, honed over 12 years of experience in helping retailers maximise their online sales!


Prepare and optimise your listings

If you’re selling on domestic marketplaces, test out your listings to see which ones attract the most buyers. Finding listings that bring good sales takes time. Sometimes you don’t get the buy box despite being the only seller offering the product for up to 3 months, and this prevents you from running Amazon Sponsored Product Ads. You’ll want to have the optimised listings in place come the holiday season and a slight error can sometimes cause tens of thousands in your profit.

But why stop at domestic marketplaces when buyers around the world will be shopping for gifts in Q4? Don’t trust Amazon Build International Listings (BLT) to translate your items, as the quality can be poor and bad listings are a staple for e-commerce expansion failures. Professional translation is a must when taking your online business abroad. Well-translated and localised listings help you attract buyers and establish credit as a seller among foreign customers. This is crucial as the holiday season approaches. 77% of holiday shoppers report that they’ll buy again from brands they know and trust.

On-board your products

Knowing what customers in different countries like is one of the fundamentals to your Q4 success. On-board your products as early as possible and identify the best sellers in each country. Most sellers work around a certain marketing budget and the allocation of the budget has to be carefully calculated. Knowing what products sell best in which countries helps you determine how much you’ll spend in cost-per-clicks (CPC) to promote those items. As CPC tends to increase with the holiday season, not knowing which items to focus on can lead to wasted budget in bidding to promote less favoured products.

On-boarding your products early also gives you time to test out different pricing strategies. Since logistics is one of the major concerns for sellers when selling abroad, it’s best to work out the logistic threshold, both time-wise and cost-wise before the holiday season starts. Knowing this gives you a clear picture on your margins and whether it’d be profitable to promote certain items. As a matter of fact, 71 % of consumers admit that special discount is the sole determinant in deciding which seller to buy from.

Keep in mind that some popular categories such as toys have an on-boarding stop around the holiday season. Don’t rely on throwing your items onto Amazon last minute; do it now and find your best sellers!

Brand owner? Invest time into creating A+ Content

First impressions are valuable. Professional appearance can make all the difference between your item laying under the Christmas tree  during the holiday season or being abandoned in your online shopping cart. Having a description that is supported by professional images and marketing relevant text is key to your Q4 success.


For many sellers, late Q3 through early Q4 is an excellent time to kick-off your holiday promotions. 86% of customers begin searching for gifts as early as September, so stock up and get ready for the selling spree.

Ramp up your CPC early

Although the competition fires up as early as September, CPC remains consistent until November. Use this to your advantage and launch your campaigns before prices spike to target early shoppers. Adjust your keywords and budgets accordingly to maximise conversions.

Stock up on inventory

Be ready to supply more units of items that sell well. Many sellers underestimate the sales during the seasonal period and run into trouble fulfilling orders as a result. Double check your items to avoid errors like faulty batches being sent out which can result in angry customers flooding your customer service department’s inboxes.

In addition to the inventory, ensure you have enough help during this period to handle fulfilment and customer requests. Do you have enough employees to help with packaging? Do you have native customer service agents from all countries you sell in to resolve claims and requests effectively? Consider outsourcing if having someone in house is not an option.

So, here are our tips on how to prepare for the holiday season. If you have optimised your listings and are already set up in different marketplaces, it might be worth a try to boost your sales this coming Q4. Otherwise, start preparing now and aim for 2020 for a great gift-giving season!

This was a guest blog written by Jia Li, who is the e-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Intercultural Elements.