When almost everyone is busy planning their holidays, gifts and family dinners, it’s time for e-commerce businesses to pull up their socks. From thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year there are so many moments to celebrate and so many reasons to shop!
This is the time of the year when people generously spend to buy gifts for family and friends making it the right opportunity for ecommerce businesses to achieve their target sale.
People have shifted to buying online more than shopping at a physical retail outlet. Last year, most of the ecommerce businesses reported record breaking sales during the year’s biggest holiday season.
So, what are you waiting for? Holiday season is just around the corner, and you need to lift things up! Since many people start looking for gifts as early as in August as per Google Search Trends, so there is nothing as such “too early” to plan.
We realise the pressure on business owners during the Holiday season, therefore we bring you the complete checklist to get your e-commerce store prepared for the big day!
Here’s the Checklist to successfully Market your e-commerce store this Holiday Season.
Plan your dates
The first task is to chalk out a plan that has the dates when you should start your marketing activities. Plan your dates well by when you want your content and creatives ready, when you want your emailers to be out etc.
Make sure you create a list of exclusive Christmas gifts that are unique and easy gifting options for your customers to choose from. Run countdown to Christmas on your portal. Showcase the offers to your customers during pre-Christmas and post-Christmas period on your website.
Plan your Christmas and post-Christmas sale strategically and if this is first holiday season for your e-commerce then we suggest plan each marketing element in detail well in advance.
Choose your frontline promo products
Remember getting attracted to what mannequins often displayed…. it’s because everyone puts forth their best products in the front behind the glass window so that they are easily visible.
Decide what products will be your frontrunners during the holiday campaigns. The bestsellers and the most wanted products should be highlighted on your ecommerce portal to get appropriate attention.
To find out your frontline promo products take the help from your sales data, and margins. Speak with your suppliers as they can also give you some ideas about the products that are popular or best sellers with your competitors. Once you’ve finalised your star products, check the stock availability and get adequate stock filled up to avoid running out of stock.
Decorate your site for a holiday mood
It’s all about the look and feel…
Decked up streets, beautifully lit homes and shopping centres just add that bling to the shopper’s mood. Surprise visitors on your ecommerce website with pleasant festive theme and elements that will add to their mood. May be put that Christmas hat on the brand logo or snow filled masthead; people like such things but just try to keep these within your brand guidelines.
Extend innovative tips for shopping and gifting with festival inspired gift guides. It is important to understand the customer needs.
Holiday season inspired special or gift guides can help customers find the perfect gifts, and it also gives you another reason to attract people to your portal. With such gift guides you can also motivate customers to spend more money on your website.
Make special landing pages for your ads
Millions of consumers are logging in to grab the first amazing deals of the holiday season. But if you fail to bring the visitors to the right landing page that mentions deals and festive specific items then you are surely leaving some money on the table.
You must ensure that whatever ads you are running during this period should take the users to the specific landing pages matching the value and copy of the ad. You should test different landing pages for your emailers, social media and advertisements.
When visitors are unable to connect with the content of the landing pages and that of the advertisement then they feel lost and overwhelmed hence loose interest and quit your website.
Optimise Mobile User Experience
Thanks to smartphone evolution people do not have to specially go online but they are always online even on the go. To run a successful ecommerce store just make sure you have a website that is mobile optimised.
People are constantly on their phones and the holidays are no different. If you’re running a successful eCommerce store, you should cater to the mobile users as well.
Last year, a significant number of holiday purchases came from smartphone users and that number is continuing to rise. If your website is not optimised and ready for a seamless user experience, you are simply leaving behind a large percentage of potential customers.
Focus on usability and design. Review your website as you may want to refresh or redo the content, information, design, etc., on a mobile device versus a desktop.
Plan paid campaigns
Since most of the ecommerce players are planning to get the most out of the holiday season sale hence the PPC advertising rates are sure to rise. A little forward planning will keep you ahead of others and will help you keeping the costs in control.
Plan your budget and keywords well in advance if you are planning to do paid campaigns. The bids can get more expensive during the competitive holiday season which means you need to increase your bid price on certain keywords to increase your ad visibility. Keep an alternative list of keywords handy as the main keywords would be targeted by all players so they will be expensive.
As an online merchant, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to advertising options for your store. You’ve got AdWords, Facebook ads, sponsored content, affiliate marketing—the list goes on. That said, they don’t come cheap. Bids tend to get more expensive during the ultra-competitive holiday season, meaning the keyword you paid 2 bucks for in September might run you three or four times of that in December.
Do your research, choose the channels that align best with your demographics and budget, and make sure to track your ROI so you can make more informed decisions next year. Every business, big and small needs to choose their ad channels strategically.
Plan your social media engagement and promos
Once you’ve chosen the products you’ll be pushing, don’t wait to schedule your social media marketing. It’ll require some creativity and strategic thinking so it’s better to do it ahead of time and change later if needed. Facebook Ads is a great way to get your promotion in front of your target demographic. Even if you have never used Facebook Ads before you can be up and running in less than 30 minutes.
Holidays is a good time to make optimum use of social media as shoppers are actively on the lookout for savings and promotions. People spend more time online sharing content with friends hence it is the right time to promote the deals on social channels.
To maintain a constant flow of posts you can take the help of easily available free tools that help you to schedule the posts and tweets beforehand; just mention the time you want it to get posted and its done!
Make sure you are running re-marketing campaign
Holiday season is when you get the most traffic but you will find that there are not many conversions happening. This is because most of the people are browsing on different websites for gifting options, comparing prices, etc.
You must have a strategy in place to convert this traffic. Add anyone who has already visited your site as an audience in your existing search campaign and increase your bids for these visitors. This would put you in more prominent position for people who have already visited your website.
Targeting users on the display network with Google’s dynamic remarketing option. This allows you to follow the visitors around the display network with the exact products they are looking for. This remarketing option lets visitors see same type of ads with offering and price like they are browsing for. With this you ensure that these users don’t forget about your brand as they browse the internet.
Also, ensure you are responding to the emails, comments, queries and feedback across all channels on time. Follow up with emails and social media ads and don’t forget to use the exact products they looked on your website.
Plan your email marketing
Keeping in mind the importance of the holiday season, you should get your email marketing plan ready months before the season. Create separate mailing groups and identify the promotional emails & offers to be sent to each category.
Send twice the frequency of your usual emails in the holiday season. For various promos on different holiday themes create different emailers and set them up for automation.
Encourage visitors on your portal to sign up for your newsletter with a prominent call-to-action on your homepage and at the time of checkout. Create a newsletter signup popup with a holiday twist that would give out gift recommendations, exclusive sales and discounts.
Since there is no undo button after hitting send, you should carefully plan your email marketing ahead of time.
Get all holiday marketing materials ready
There are a lot of components of marketing – visuals, email content, ad copy, banners, ads, social media – posts, visuals, ads, and a lot more… It’s easier to start in early as people start shopping for holidays as early as August. And when you have your content bank and set of creatives ready well in advance then you can utilise all your effort and attention on better executing of campaigns.
To come up with the best of Creative content and visuals that are appealing take time to develop so start early.
Make sure you have enough people to handle everything
If you’ll need extra people to handle operations and customer service during the busy holiday period, give yourself time to train them well. If you want a freelancer to manage your Facebook ads or create email campaigns, better hire them early to give them the opportunity to understand your business and get everything executed on time.
Make holiday shoppers from last year come back again
Retaining the customer is always cheaper than acquiring new customers. You should have the details of last year’s holiday shoppers in your database.
We suggest it is always better to email all those customers who shopped with you in the past and invite them to come back again. Invite the consumers with special loyalty discounts or free shipping, extend them referral rewards and programs.
You can also try emailing the ones who left orders in between, abandoned orders, abandoned carts, and engage with customers to build loyalty. Make sure that all the customer acquisitions made in the holidays continue to flourish for the rest of the year.
Wishlists can help you increase orders
Wishlists are not just convenient for your customers. They give lots of valuable info. Consider adding seasonal and trendy products. If your store concept allows it, you can make extra sales with temporary stock like trending items (fidget spinners or mermaid blankets, for example).
Such items get a lot of hype on social media and you might win a few additional customers. Just make sure to get enough quantities because you won’t be the only one ordering them.
Beyond delivering the product
A way to connect with the people who receive your products as gifts is that you send them something that can be of use to them and remind them about your brand. The recipients of the gifts did not order your products but are going to have them. That’s an opportunity to create relation with them.
You can insert branded materials, business or greeting cards, booklets, etc. in the packages so they get familiar with your brand. Samples and coupons are more direct and enticing invitations to your store.
It’s often helpful if you take time out to thank your patrons and send them good wishes for their holidays.
Most of the times people forget to think about themselves while getting ready with gifts for everybody else. If you can manage and send little surprises to users who ordered from your website it will also win you a loyal customer, as unexpected gifts may be a voucher or branded item are always a bonus! You can end items like – greeting cards, samples, stickers, branded stationery, chocolates; it adds to the joy.
You can also offer your patrons discounts on gift cards or exclusive discounts on their next order. The extra effort is always appreciated and earns you customer loyalty with positive social media mentions.
Offer creative gift packaging options for free
Gift wrappings are always exciting. Make it creative, lucrative – an offer no one can deny. Free gift wrapping option can sound great and will attract more people to your portal.
Save the day with Gift Cards
Gift cards can act as saviours for both you and your customers. Many a times choosing a gift becomes a tedious task for people and Gift cards come as an easy flexible gift for them.
They are good for you as well as you get the money without shipping anything and very often the recipient of the gift card never redeems it.
So now you are all geared up to maximise your sale this Christmas….
Follow the strategies outlined above to attract more customers, make more sales and do a great business this Holiday! We wish you more happy customers and a fruitful Christmas & New Year ahead!
Get ready to get into action as holiday season is just around the corner.