The holidays are an absolutely critical time for any B2C business, both online and brick and mortar. In the case of ecommerce, some businesses make 40-50% of their revenue during the holiday months. In this article, we’ll break down the key elements an ecommerce shop owner should be aware of, and the actions you can take to maximize your holiday sales.
Like any marketing campaign, a good holiday campaign takes research, planning, and execution. You need to provide the customers with something they truly want, decide how to tell them about it, and then test and improve the campaign.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start planning
A good campaign takes a bit of time, and you will generally want to alert your users about an upcoming sale ahead of time so that it’s on their mind when the actual sale or offer releases. So give yourself at least 2-4 weeks before any sales start to plan and test your holiday campaigns.
Create a detailed promotion/campaign calendar
Create a campaign calendar that shows when you plan to launch each holiday campaign. Also include dates promotional content will go out, who is responsible for each item, and key metrics to track. And it’s not just Christmas that you should be aware of, there are many specific dates that you can take advantage of:
Holiday 2019 dates:
- Oct 31st – Halloween
- Nov 28th – Thanksgiving
- Nov 29th – Black Friday
- Nov 30th – Small Business Saturday
- Dec 2nd – Cyber Monday
- Dec 3rd – Giving Tuesday
- Dec 9th – Green Monday
- Dec 14th – Free Shipping Day
- Dec 24th – Christmas Eve
- Dec 25th – Christmas
- Dec 31st – New Year’s Eve
Optimize the homepage to show off your best holiday offers upfront
This is a great chance to update your homepage to highlight your holiday deals, featured products, and any special offers you have during these months. Giving your homepage a holiday themed refresh shows customers that your site is current, you are prepared for the holidays, and that your special offers are time-sensitive.
Give your website a temporary “Holiday makeover”
Beyond just the homepage, it’s the perfect time to give your site a little holiday spirit. Your website should look current with the holidays, so customers know it is active, and that your offers are special for this time of year. Some places you could consider temporarily updating:
- Sliders and dynamic content should be holiday themed
- Navigation bar – You could change your site’s main navigation color to be something holiday themed
- Special offers banner at the top showing holiday deals
- Homepage images should be festive and holiday themed
- ”Holiday Sales” should be highlighted and easy to understand
Choose enticing discounts and promotions
All the marketing in the world won’t help if your promotion is not interesting to the customer. Make sure it’s something of real value, and worthy of their gift-giving attention. Some promotionalIdeas:
- % off coupon during the holidays
- Free Shipping on all orders
- Buy one get one half off
- Contests and Giveaways
Offer digital Gift Cards as another gift option
A digital gift card can boost sales by giving an option to the indecisive shopper, or someone who wants to give their gift recipient the option to choose their own gift.
Social media is your friend
People want to know that there’s a human behind your brand. Social media is the perfect platform to show a little humanity in your business during the holidays. But don’t make it all about promoting your products; a little bit of genuine, non-promotional content can go a long way to make an impression and keep your brand in people’s minds.
Promote sales and offers with social media ads
Facebook ads and other paid advertisements can greatly increase traffic to your promotions. Sending traffic directly to a holiday landing page or special offer instead of the homepage is also a great way to increase conversion rate of your offers.
Targeting tip: People who have recently visited your website or who have made a purchase in the past are far more likely to make another purchase.
Custom Landing Pages for each holiday campaign
Creating a custom landing page for each holiday campaign can help you direct traffic to a specific offer, and can greatly increase your conversion rate.
Don’t forget Email Marketing
Email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for converting visitors into customers on an ecommerce site. Make sure your customers know about your sales, so send out at least one promotional email for each campaign you run. But ideally for a larger campaign, you’d let them know ahead of time when it will be, let them know again when it launches, and then a 3rd time when it’s their last chance to take advantage.
Email Marketing Tip: Offering a deal such as “10% off your first purchase when you signup for our newsletter” can greatly increase the number of email signups you get throughout the year.
Post blog or video content updating customers on what’s new during the holiday season
An active blog can be a great source of traffic to your site, because it gives people a reason to visit again, as well as another way to find your site through search engines. But what kind of content should you create for the holidays? Relevant content like holiday recipes that feature your product, a gift-giving guide, or anything that highlights your products and would be of interest to your audience can make a great impression for the holidays.
Lower shipping costs or offer free shipping at a lower threshold
Play around with your store’s shipping rules and see if offering a better rate improves sales considerably. Offering a “Free Shipping on orders over $X” can increase sales, as well as entice customers to add a few more products to their shopping cart.
Test your order process before you launch the campaign
Make sure the website and shopping cart are functioning correctly, and that the site is ready for increased traffic. The last thing you want is a bunch of customers eager to make a purchase, only to find that the site isn’t functioning properly.
Make it Mobile Friendly
If your site is not optimized for mobile sales, then you are losing out on customers. Mobile shopping continues to rise year after year, so make sure your site and your holiday offers are user-friendly on phones as well as larger screens.