Calling All Merchants: How to Prepare for the Holidays
For online retailers to fully maximize this year’s holiday rush, marketers and merchandisers need tools to ensure that each customer receives a personalized shopping experience. Here are several best practices for retailers to help them identify key website traffic segments and properly leverage analytics to make the most of this holiday shopping season.
Mastering the Fundamentals
The last two months of the year mean a great deal to most retailers, which is why it's crucial to ensure that the fundamentals of an integrated online marketing program are in place. As retail brands develop aggressive marketing strategies that leverage multiple channels including email, social media and paid search, it's imperative that they maintain marketing consistency by strategically placing targeted messages on their websites echoing the messages, products, creative, content and promotions that brought the consumer there in the first place.
Online retailers should also incorporate dynamic merchandising or curated product catalogs via dynamic experiences targeted to specific visitors that call attention to seasonal merchandise. In order to drive increased sales, product badges should highlight the best gift ideas for the family, stocking stuffers, limited-time offers and special holiday products.
Use holiday-specific messages that target common customer questions. For example, adding a countdown clock to an individual day or specific shipping cutoff for holiday delivery will create a sense of urgency that encourages shoppers to place their order before it's too late.
Customer Segmentation: Get the Right Message in Front of the Right Customer at the Right Time
Online retailers must understand the unique characteristics of their customers and take advantage of the opportunities associated with each segment. Once each customer group is identified, tailor website messages that present unique information that likely will lead to increase conversions.
For example, new customers may not be familiar with a specific value proposition. To create a better shopping experience, develop specific activation programs that highlight website functionality and feature tips and help content on how to navigate and shop the website. Highlight service differentiators and trust factors to nurture long-term relationships. The holiday season shopper should be greeted with a welcome message that highlights important site features or changes with clear and concise navigation tools. Additionally, marketers should highlight their email sign-up link in an effort to keep these customers engaged all year.
Finally, high-value customers should be thanked with rewards and special offers during the holiday season. For example, offering a gift with purchase or another small promotion such as free shipping further engages these customers.
Understanding Analytics Equals Happy Holidays
The variety of analytical tools readily available to online merchants makes it easy to aggregate data on website traffic. It's important for retailers to understand how this data can be used to their advantage. By reviewing last year’s holiday season metrics, marketers can obtain key insights such as which referrers drove high volumes of traffic or what were the top incoming search terms.
While it may be hard for certain organizations to commit to testing during the holiday season, it's important to review past metrics to optimize for popular on-site search terms, top exit pages and top-performing website promotions that will help them understand opportunities to improve conversion among specific website traffic segments.
As the days on the calendar move closer to the end of the year, make the most of this important shopping season by delivering personalized website experiences to distinct segments of your audience.