7 Ways To Top Up Your Holiday E-Commerce Strategy This Season (2021)
Farewell, Black Friday & Cyber Monday! As the discount hunters are probably taking some well-deserved rest after the biggest shopping event of the year, e-commerce merchants should not be following their example.
Because the holiday shopping madness has just started and there’s no time to relax. Online holiday sales growth in the US alone is projected to increase by an impressive 35.8% this year, which is nearly 2,5 times more than experienced in 2019.
Therefore, to grab the bigger piece of the pie, online business owners should start polishing their holiday marketing strategies, and the best time to do it is… now.
We've already gone through some tips on how to prepare your store for Black Friday, and most of them are crucial for upcoming Christmas, too. However, as Christmas shopping lasts longer than a few days, this article will cover some other valuable ideas you can implement to help you get your e-commerce holiday planning started and boost your sales this season.
1. Organize your holiday marketing calendar
Sometimes it might feel like almost everything you do in the second half of the year is somehow focused on Christmas. And while it’s mostly true, did you know that there are some other fun celebrations you can add to your holiday calendar? For instance, a National Chocolate Covered Anything Day on December 16th or… a National Sock Day?
The good thing about these lesser-known celebrations is that you can not only give your customers a reason to spend a bit extra on your store, but also engage them in fun activities, such as contests on social media. Besides, you get to reach different audiences during each of them, and possibly grow your customer base.
So, get ready to target sock wearers on December 4th, ask your customers to share their ugliest sweaters on Ugly Sweater Day (18th), give a painful reminder about not taking care of the gift list 10 days before Christmas (Green Monday, December 14th), and then give a solution by celebrating the Free Shipping Day on 15th.
Planning this all ahead should help you maintain the holiday buzz and encourage people to keep talking about your products.
2. Decorate your website
Many people are still practicing social distancing, so shopping at physical stores won’t probably be the main choice this year. Therefore, make sure that your online store is spreading enough of that holiday cheer as soon as your customers decide to enter it. This will keep them more positive and make your site more alive.
Here are some ideas on how you can achieve it (although be careful not to overdo it):
- Welcome your visitors with Season’s Greetings
- Give a Christmassy look to your logo
- Use classic Christmas color combinations – green, red, and white
- Add Christmas elements and symbols
- Change the background of your store
- Create Christmas banners
- Use holiday props in your product photos
3. Prepare a relevant subscription pop-up
People don’t necessarily buy something the first time they enter your online shop, but you’d like them to come back sometime later, wouldn’t you? That’s why it can be useful to add a pop-up form to your store and grow the subscriber list for potential sales both during the holiday season and in the future.
There are a few main reasons why pop-ups can actually help boost conversions:
- They are seen by 100% of the site visitors
- They appear when the visitors are still engaged
- They offer something valuable, e. g. a discount
So, if someone has already decided to check out your store, it’s likely they have an intent to purchase, too. Showing them a pop-up that gives 10% in exchange for their email address is what delivers them relevant value, boosting the chances that they will actually use this opportunity to benefit from it.
4. Plan out your emails and SMS messages
Instead of just waiting for people to magically come to you, give them a reason to do it by crafting engaging emails and SMS marketing campaigns. Carefully planned, personalized content can help them feel more connected to your brand and boost sales, without even focusing on them directly.
For instance, use your email subscriber list to send them holiday gift guides, run contests, share your plans for the upcoming year, share Christmas tips and ideas, announce Christmas sales, send personalized offers to loyal customers, etc. Extra tip: decorate your newsletters accordingly to add some Christmassy vibes to your email marketing campaigns.
As with SMS, it’s slightly different since you can’t fit it all in a text message. SMS might sound pretty old-school though, but it’s still highly underrated despite its high open rates. The thing is that SMS can not only be easily leveraged to complement your email marketing strategy (e. g. to encourage people to open the newsletter they haven't read), but you can also use it in so many different ways to promote your products or services.
5. Use social media
Social media is very likely the place where many people spend most of the time “being” with their friends and families during the pandemic. Naturally, it's also the place where the business has to be to build a strong online presence this holiday season.
According to Salesforce, social media will play the most important role for customer engagement this year, and is expected to drive around 10% (or 12%-15% during the peak) of mobile orders. That makes social media advertising one of the obvious choices to promote your products. As basic as it may sound, make sure to follow the best practices of paid advertising to make the best out of it.
Moreover, you can use social media to help your other channels perform better. For example, you can add social sharing buttons to your product pages or email newsletters to allow your followers and subscribers to share your message with their friends.
Christmas hashtags can also make your promotional campaigns more visible and recognizable. Check out what’s trending, create branded hashtags specifically for your content to spread the word around.
And, of course, already mentioned contests. Is there a better place than social media to interact with potential customers in a less binding way? Let them share pictures, comment, write stories, or invite them to participate in giveaways to stay on their radar.
6. Prepare your Christmas promotion ideas
Create gift guides
Since many people are planning their gifts in advance, take the opportunity to include your store in their lists and help them find what they’re looking for. Thoughtfully organized gift guides are a great way to do it. Consider the recipient (men, women, mothers, fathers, kids, etc.), interests (cyclists, craft lovers, hikers, etc.), age, price, or anything else.
Prepare gift bundles
Offering bundle deals can benefit both the customer and the seller. Bundle deals offer several products for a lower price than would be paid when buying them separately. It saves money for the customer and can help companies increase unit sales volume, profit margins, or even get more exposure.
Cross-selling is an attempt to sell products that are related to the one a customer is buying, for example, offering a case with a new laptop. It means that the customers can get more value from their purchases, and businesses can boost their revenue and improve customer experience.
Offer gift cards
There are always those who would rather let their loved ones buy their presents themselves, just not to waste money on something they don’t need. Offering gift cards should be one of the options for a Christmas present in your store to give customers more freedom.
Work with charity
A big part of the holiday season is the warm emotion that comes with it, and the willingness to do something good. Team up with some charities and allow your customers to help someone while shopping in your store.
Provide several delivery options
As the holiday online shopping season is expected to be bigger this year, make sure your customers get their packages on time. Offering different delivery (or even pickup) options can not only make it more convenient for them but also take some burden off your shoulders.
Organize post-Christmas sale
The period between Christmas and New Year usually feels blurry, yet you can still use it to sell a bit more. It's a great time to organize some flash sales since most of the people are still relaxed, happy, and likely spending lots of time scrolling their phones.
7. Ensure a great user experience
There are many things to consider when it comes to user experience, from your store's loading time to a smooth checkout process.
The thing is, 57% of site visitors simply leave it if it doesn't load in 3 seconds, meaning that the speed of your website should become one of your top priorities.
Also, more and more purchases are happening on smartphones which is why it’s a necessity to make your store mobile-friendly. Not to mention easy navigation overall, no matter the device.
Finally, if the visitor reaches the checkout, it doesn't mean he or she will complete the purchase. Many cart abandonments happen at this stage due to the complicated or poor experience. This can be done by simplifying forms, giving the option to auto-fill, offering multiple payment options, and, of course, guest checkout.
This holiday season will definitely be different and come with its own challenges. To achieve your holiday e-commerce strategy goals, you will have to put some additional effort into your Christmas marketing ideas and possibly improve resources to prepare for increased traffic, ensure smooth communication, and flawless execution of your sales. The key here is to organize and carefully plan it all in advance to be able to avoid the unexpected and make the most out of this very uncertain holiday season.