Getting Ready for the Holidays: Part 4

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Getting Ready For the Holidays: Part 1
Getting Ready For the Holidays: Part 2
Getting Ready For the Holidays: Part 3

As stores continue to prepare for the upcoming holiday season, the IndieCommerce team has put together a list of recommended tools and practices IndieCommerce and IndieLite stores can use to maximize their holiday marketing and communication efforts.

Tips and Best Practices 

Overall, communication with customers is crucial as the holiday season ramps up.  Communicate with customers regarding their orders to keep them informed of any possible delays or order-related issues.  Below are simple and actionable steps that stores can take using pages, blocks, and the built-in contact form on the site.

Store Holiday Hours
Make sure the store’s holiday hours are posted clearly for customers to see.  This allows customers to plan for any in-person shopping they may do and makes navigation for information easier.
Latest Shipping Information
Much like holiday hours, it’s important to make customers aware of any latest shipping information as far as processing timeline, delays, policies, and any applicable guidelines.  Our Getting Ready for the Holidays Part 3 discussed everything related to shipping.
Closer to the Holidays: Last Date for Shipping
As the holiday season ramps up, it may also be beneficial to post a message about the last date that orders will be shipped by in order to arrive in time for the holiday.  
Contact Form
For customers who are looking to check for orders, the contact form available on the site is an easy way for customers to get in touch with the store.  Visitors to the site can provide their name, select a category (if multiple contact forms are available), enter a subject line, and opt in for a copy of the message to be sent to their own email.

Be sure to check that the contact form on the site is quick to find via a link and that an email address the store monitors is attached, so messages are sent to the correct staff.  

To edit the store’s contact form, navigate to Structure > Contact form, and then:

  1. For the form in use, click ‘Edit’
  2. Update the category and any recipients, if needed
  3. An optional auto-reply can be created as well; if you do not wish to use an auto-reply, leave this field blank
  4. Set ‘Selected’ to ‘Yes’ if this particular contact form category should be the one selected by default
  5. Save the changes
Clear Calls to Action During Checkout & Across Site
A call to action is meant to prompt a customer to click and continue through the site via a specific path.  
  • Clear, brief, and direct calls to action make website navigation quicker and easier, especially when they are visually distinctive.

    • For example, ‘Buy’, ‘Register’, ‘Sign Up!’
  • This is especially important during checkout.  Be sure the cart and checkout links are easy to locate and that the checkout process itself is easy and smooth to navigate.
Marketing Assets
If your store is in need of seasonal marketing images for your site or social media, marketing assets are available at  Navigate to ‘For Booksellers’, and head to ‘Marketing Assets’.  Filters are available to sort by seasonal campaigns.

Features For IndieCommerce and IndieLite Sites

Email Signup Form (Constant Contact, MailChimp, MailMunch)
Email marketing allows stores to build relationships with leads and to reach customers in real-time.  It’s an important channel, especially during holiday seasons.  IndieCommerce and IndieLite stores have a few different options to create a sign-up form to assist in converting visitors into email subscribers and customers.  

‘Remove items not available by’ Pane (IndieCommerce only)
This usage of either Custom Checkout Pane #1 or #3 (or #2 if offering multiple options) prompts customers during checkout to select whether or not it is okay to remove items unavailable by a specific holiday or date.  This information can be used to help with order fulfillment processes and assist with customer expectations, especially as shipping deadlines draw near.

Remove Items Not Available by Xmas checkout pane example
To offer this option on your IndieCommerce website during checkout:

  1. Navigate to Store > Configuration > Checkout
  2. Click the left tab 'Custom Checkout Pane 1'

    1. NOTE: If you are already using this tab and have changed the language, the tab will reflect what your store has written.
  3. Header: "Cancel Items Not Available by Xmas"
  4. Description: Explain to customers that you can remove/cancel any items from their order that aren't available by Christmas.
  5. Checkbox Label: "Yes, please remove any items unavailable by Xmas"
  6. Textarea Label: "Special Instructions" or any language appropriate for the store
Google Analytics
If you haven’t already, we recommend setting up Google Analytics on your IndieCommerce or IndieLite site.  This free analytics service is used to track multiple metrics, including real-time customer behavior, site speed, traffic flow, and other information about customers coming to your site.  Several webinars are available:


IndieCommerce Help Documents


About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.


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