Toys R Us announced a price match guarantee for the holiday last week, and Apple is planning to release new iphone models during the holiday. Get ready for Q4 now.
For more Google Shopping and Holiday tips, check out the Q4 Ecommerce Strategy Series!

For more Google Shopping and Holiday tips, check out the Q4 Ecommerce Strategy Series!

8 Ways To Get More Revenue With Your Google Shopping Data Feed This Holiday
Q4 Ecommerce Strategy Checklist
Q4 Ecommerce Strategy: Google Holiday Tips
Q4 Lessons For 2013 [Infographic]
Q4 2013 Ecommerce Strategy: Q4 Sales & Shipping Tips
Q4 2013 Ecommerce Strategy: Q4 Fulfillment tips
Q4 Social Strategy 


Q4 Ecommerce Strategy Checklist

Ecommerce strategy, Q4 holiday tips

Before Q4 starts, you should make sure you have a clear ecommerce strategy plan for the holiday. Here’s a quick list of questions to get you started:

1.What products, sales, etc had a good ROI during the last holiday season?

Use Google Analytics to analyze what what performed well for your site last Q4. This will give you a good idea of what to focus on for the upcoming holiday season.

Set up or optimize your Analytics process, and make sure you are knowledgeable about your Analytics reports.

2. What Sales are you running and when?

Use Google Insights to get an idea of keyword trends and plan your PPC and other marketing campaigns accordingly.

Decide what sales, products, shipping rates, and promotions you want to run ahead of time. Think about sales for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the week before Christmas, and early January. Clearly define your Q4 ecommerce strategy and outline what will happen and when. What sales are you implementing, and what’s the timeline for each?

Map out a calendar for when the promotions will occur, as well as what your marketing will be around those sales (email, social, local,etc).

Think about where your sales are going to run outside of your website. Are you going to remarket? Use PPC ads? What’s your strategy for comparison shopping engines and Product Listing Ads? Does your website have a blog, and what holiday content do you  have planned? You should also think about social, mobile and sales surrounding those shoppers.

3. What are your competitors doing right now?

Be nosy and check out your competitors sites. What sales are they running? What did they do last Q4? Differentiate your brand from others, but take tips from your competitors where you can for Q4.

Q4 Ecommerce Strategy SMART Goals for Q4

Make sure you set up concrete, measurable goals for Q4. SMART is a great acronym for defining your goals for the Q4 holiday season.

S- Specific

M- Measurable

A- Achievable

R- Realistic

T- Time Bound

Q4 Ecommerce Strategy Testing

Q4 is the worst time to have site issues, products unavailable, or any issues related to your site. Test everything now.

Things you should test before Q4:

Site Design

Want to feature a widget, scroller or similar feature to note holiday sales or shipping rates? Better make sure the backend works before Q4. Don’t forget mobile is huge also, make sure your site is mobile friendly. Unbounce is a great place to start research for landing page optimization and site design best practices.

Checkout Process

Be sure to make sure your checkout process works flawlessly. Shipping, sales and seasonal prices should reflect automatically in a shoppers cart. Online shoppers dislike a cumbersome and unclear checkout process, something which is even more true around Q4. Here are 12 checkout best practices you should implement.

Data Feed Changes

Add your holiday products to your data feed before Q4, and make sure they process fully on your shopping channels. Make sure your product images, descriptions and prices are accurate (think about sales and shipping), optimized for SEO and user intent, and that they appear on the different comparison channels accurately.


Order volume is going to pick up during Q4. Make sure you have inventory, and that you fulfillment will be able to handle the order influx.

Site Speed

Your site should be super easy to use, and lightning fast. Consider that your site traffic is going to be higher during Q4, and be prepared for that. Major retailers like Targetcan get away with site crashes but you are likely to lose conversions and cause negative associations with your brand. There are quite a few free site speed tests you can use to establish to see how fast your site runs prior to Q4.


Q4 can account for up to 40% of annual sales. You need to be tracking where sales are coming from, whose buying, and what they are purchasing. Be sure your Analytics is accurate and that you are knowledgeable about where conversions are coming from.

Merchant Ratings

Any way you can differentiate your brand and site during Q4 is pivotal. Positive seller rating are a great way to give your site that boost to push someone to convert. Build up merchant reviews prior to Q4, and mitigate any negative feedback if possible.

39% of shoppers have already started their holiday shopping. Get your holiday ecommerce strategy going and get more Q4 sales.


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About the AuthorMary Weinstein is the Director of Content at CPC Strategy, and an expert in Retail Search, Google Shopping and Digital Marketing. A NY native, Mary spends her time educating online merchants, hiking and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can also find her work on SEW, SEMRush, MOZ and Practical Ecommerce. See all posts by this author here.