As someone who runs an e-commerce business, this is one of my favorite times of the year. Not just for the food and time with family, but to see my business grow and to share my product with new customers. 

The holiday season is the lottery for e-commerce businesses. But, you will only hit the jackpot if you prepare the right way.  

Here are three tips I have learned to incorporate into listings online every holiday season to make my product land in everyone's stocking.  

1. Invest in good product photography.

Holiday selling is all about making your product look and act gift-worthy. Conduct a quality photoshoot of your product by the Christmas tree, or being excitedly opened by someone. Get creative and show the unwrapping experience along with what is included in the photoshoot. If your product is something fun that could be used in a Secret Santa or as a housewarming gift for a host, demonstrate this as well. Put the idea out there for where and how your product could be gifted.

Invest in something that tells people cognitively this product is a gift. The great thing about gifting is that people don't mind paying a premium for something they know a loved one will cherish. And they are more impulsive with their purchasing patterns.  

When making purchases for themselves, most times people are buying a product, but when it is a gift for someone else, they are shopping. The difference here is, buying a product is intent-driven whereas shopping is a process of finding something inspiring you didn't know about and feeling excited to give. This means consumers are less concerned about features and more worried about whether the person receiving the gift is going to like it.  

2. Create content focused on social proof.

Show potential buyers the community that supports your product. One of the quickest ways to build trust with a potential new customer is through other people showing their support for your product. 

In your images, copy and enhanced brand content display the number of positive reviews you have received and any outstanding comments or quotes. This can be from customers, websites, publications or anything that showcases positive support from external points of contact. Put an emphasis on sharing your social proof as much as possible.  

A goldmine of social proof during the holiday season would be sharing a positive review from a customer who actually received your product as a gift and became an advocate for your brand. Not only does this show the benefit of the product, but it leads a buyer to believe their gifting of your product could be something remembered far after the initial opening. When you give someone a present, you want them to look at it and be reminded of you. If it is something they end up loving and supporting down the road, that is a huge perk for everyone. 

3. Add upsells to standard products.

A 2019 survey by Deloitte found that 78 percent of people also plan to shop for themselves during the holiday season. As an e-commerce business, take advantage of the self-gifting trend.  

Generate opportunities to entice buyers to not only buy your product as a gift but also for themselves. Let that "one for you, one for me" mentality shine through in your selling strategy.

Add promotions on your Amazon listings giving buyers discounts for ordering more. People can now buy something for themselves alongside their gift for someone else. If you have a monthly offering or recurring service, give a discount on this as well.  Or, include a first month free with the purchase of your product. My company has a monthly coffee membership we love to promote during the holidays. This is a great time of year to transition the one-time buyers into members of your community.

A holiday season of shopping could be the opportunity to springboard your sales forward for the entire year. Make sure you do it right.

If you're reading this in efforts to prepare for the season quickly approaching it is likely too late. But, that doesn't mean you can't learn and make some adjustments now or for future holiday seasons to come.  

Published on: Dec 6, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.