As Ned Stark almost said in Game of Thrones premiered nearly ten years ago: “Brace yourselves. The holiday season is coming!”
Right now, this is the correct mindset to have if you want your e-commerce to have an unbeaten run in the holiday season that is right around the corner. After all, most sales happen in the last quarter of the year thanks to relevant dates such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday were buyers go full bonkers and open up their wallets to acquire products for their loved ones and themselves. Yes, buying yourself a cute sweater is an act of self-love too. So if you sell sweaters (or anything actually), be sure to provide the best deal users can find.
Even if some consumers still shop on-site, online shopping keeps rising and rising. The holiday season may seem overwhelming, but with superb planning, you could make the best out of this time of the year and turn your e-commerce platform into a goldmine.
Here you’ll find a list of tips that will help you prepare for the season and maximize your profits:
Understand What People Want from You during Holiday Season
This first one is crucial as the answer to the question: “What do my consumers want?” becomes the foundation of your whole campaign. If you understand what your potential consumers are looking for, you’ll be able to design offerings and communications according to their needs.
And when you already know what people want to buy from you, you need to ask yourself the next thing:
Do You Have the Means?
You know that sales are probably going to increase. Remember, you need to make sure you have the actual capability to make it happen. First, you should calculate an estimate of how many units could you be selling. After that, it becomes a must to perform a physical count of those units you have in stock, the materials that you’d need, the number of hours you or your employees would have to dedicate and how fast might be your shipping and delivery logistics.
Therefore you have to get in contact with your suppliers and partners to evaluate logistic and restock strategies. Try to set these strategies early, so you avoid backorders.
Once you have all of the above figured out, you have to think about your special offers.
What Should Your Holiday Offer Include?
Your customers are going to be expecting something different than the usual. How does your e-commerce add value to them during this season? I’d recommend you consider the following options:
- Discounts – especially on days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when customers will be expecting them. You can also offer early discounts or ones that depend on quantity: the more a customer buys, the less he or she pay per product.
- Bundles – consumers tend to spend on more products when a cool merge offers them a promotional price. Think of the way Xbox does it with consoles and added games, or the way Canon cameras sometimes include an extra bag.
- Personalized content – people love to feel unique, so they are more likely to spend in products they’ve previously shown interest for and those that make them feel like the brand is paying attention to their unique needs.
- FREE shipping and faster delivery – customers hate to pay for shipping during the holidays. They are just too busy thinking of all the other stuff they have to buy, so they want things more comfortable way. Whenever you can afford free shipping, consider it as a first option.
- Gift cards – lots of e-Commerce stores give away gift cards with purchases over a defined amount – this is great for fidelity. Also, you can enable the option to acquire gift cards as presents for your visitors’ loved ones. This way, they don’t have to choose a gift, so it’s a win/win situation.
Provide an Easy Checkout
If there were a Bible for e-commerce owners, the First Commandment would be: You shall give your customers an easy path to follow on the checkout stage of the purchasing process. It’s a great commandment, but pretty darn crucial as a tedious process makes customers lose interest and abandon their carts.
One way to do it is to provide payment options beyond credit card, with digital wallets such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, Visa Checkout, and others.
Create a Holiday Content Calendar
Planning is critical if you’re devoted to content marketing. To carry out your strategies, send promotional emails, and update your website’s copies and content, you better keep the following dates in mind:
- Thanksgiving: November 28
- Black Friday: November 29
- Cyber Monday: December 2
- Green Monday: December 9
- Hanukkah: December 22 until December 30
- Super Saturday: December 21
- Christmas Eve: December 24
- Christmas Day: December 25
- New Year’s Eve: December 31
Update Your Landing Page
Be sure to have a unique, attractive, and smooth landing page as users will probably be redirected there from content searches or direct link from email marketing and social media advertising. Follow the next steps to enhance your landing page performance:
- Optimize for promotional keywords – users will probably add to their searches words like: “sales”, “discounts”, “offers”, “coupons”, “gift cards”, “deals”, “affordable” or “last-minute Christmas gift for my wife”. So be sure to add those to your site.
- Prepare tags and meta descriptions – if you deliberately modify your tags to be more holiday-specific, your traffic will increase as you reach a higher click-through rate (CTR).
- Generate “evergreen” holiday URLs or revive old ones – maintaining the same URLs alive throughout the whole year is vital for SEO success. If you use the same one year after year, you don’t have to start from scratch. Instead, it keeps building to your advantage.
Content Marketing During the Holidays
That is what will keep you afloat during the holiday season, as every other e-commerce will be fighting for a spot in your potential customers’ minds. You have to reach them from as many channels as possible. Use social media, blogs, vlogs, promotional videos, viral challenges, influencer marketing. Whatever you need to remind people of your presence, so the chances that customers will be directed to your store increase.
Do the best to hook your visitors with timely, fun, and relevant content that is appropriate for the season. How-to guides, email campaigns, user-generated content, newsletters, checklists, and unboxing videos are a great aid to set your site above your competitors.
I’d suggest you post holiday-specific content as soon as possible. You don’t have to wait until December to do so.
A great tactic to build lists organically to use welcoming and exit popups on a landing page. Then, to make sure your potential customers and subscribers receive product information and offerings that are relevant to them, it is best if you divide them into groups based on shared traits to personalize their content.
The more your content pops, the better chances you have that they’ll remember your brand among all that cluttered email inbox. Original content gets a bunch of clicks. Therefore you’ll need to include call-to-actions (CTAs) with text and buttons instead of visuals. CTA directs users to the destination you want them to be in your site: could be gift guides and gift cards, FAQ and contact information, shipping options, or final sales.
Update and Optimize Your Website
Can you picture thousands of new customers visiting your website all of a sudden like they are your distant cousins that never call in advance? Well, it is almost like that, except you can’t reject customers the same way you could reject your cousins. People need space and a heads up, but e-commerce needs clients as much as they can get.
It takes a lot for them to come, and it takes more to keep them happy. Therefore you should always test your site for speed and traffic spikes, as website performance remains a top priority to online stores. Users demand stability, and even improving your site’s speed by milliseconds can retain more customers and avoid cart abandonment. Therefore be clever and choose your hosting provider wisely, you can read here how to choose web hosting.
One way to optimize your website is with the WP Litespeed Cache plugin, a superb option for caching content pages. It boosts your website’s speed and lowers the bounce rate, resulting in better SEO results and, therefore, better conversion rates.
WP Litespeed Cache plugin supports WordPress multisite and is perfectly compatible with plugins such as Yoast SEO, bbPress, WooCommerce, and more. Read here an easy-to-follow setup guide of WP Litespeed Cache.
Pay for Media Awareness
Competitors try to be as loud as possible this time of the year. Everybody is working hard to stand out. So, the earlier you drive awareness of your website, the more users will find your online store, and your conversion rates will grow.
To do so, you should consider tools like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and YouTube to enhance your products’ reach, as well as social media influencers as influencer campaigns lead to building a strong keyword relevance for your site. Plus, search engines index influencers’ content faster because they continuously face the public.
Never Forget About Social Media
The future is mobile! Heck, the present is already mobile. Visual social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat are handy places to advertise your products and content. The upper side of social media is that it gives customers a sense of urgency, especially when it comes to offers. Suddenly they think that your product is going away fast, so they interact with your website’s link almost immediately.
There’s also Instagram shopping – what a tool! Provide your potential buyers with unique added value on Instagram through offers, bundles, personalized communication, or exclusive products, so they want to check the price tags in each post on your feed and be instantly redirected to the buying site.
What about Your Loyal Customers? Think about Setting a Rewards Program
Customers LOVE when they think you’ve invested in them. If you add value to returning buyers’ experiences and encourage new ones to join, they’ll keep coming back. They’ll probably tell their families and friends about you too, and more and more people will love to become a member and enjoy particular benefits.
Loyalty strategies increase interaction with customers and place a higher value on your products and services.
Why try to hook buyers for a one-time holiday when you can catch them for life?
Keep Them Calm with Customer Service
Yes, lifelong benefits are cool and all, but they only come once in a while. If you want to maintain your clients relaxed and happy every day, you should provide a top-notch customer service that includes emails, online chat, FAQ lists, and an excellent social media interaction.
Yes, you should always read the comments.
Automate as Much as Humanly Possible
The holidays are too demanding. Plus, you also need to enjoy them yourself. So you need to automate as many processes as you can with the help of apps and plugins.
For example, using email marketing software like MailChimp will be great for automating communications and abandoned cart emails. AIl chatbots can assist e-commerce customers in times of need and also sent them the latest offerings.
Let’s Sum Things Up
The holiday season is freaking great for business! Chances are most online store owners will witness traffic and sales increase. However, the holidays are quite sturdy as well. Everybody is trying to cash in, while also trying to manage a bunch of outside expenses.
With a lot of potential power comes a lot of potential responsibility.
I hope this list of tips helps you out. Work hard, and all the effort will pay off! I wish you the best of luck. Happy Holidays!