How to Tee Up a Record-Breaking Holiday Season
The pressure is on to roll out e-commerce campaigns that take full advantage of the holiday season. To meet or beat high expectations for this holiday season — and soften the anticipated January slump — create a strategically segmented road map that appeals directly to your customers’ shifting focus.
November and December
In November, consumers are focused on getting a deal, particularly during the retail holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to Adobe, last year shoppers spent $8.26 billion during the hot shopping period. Retailers can get in on the action by standing out and giving customers what they want:
- Match sale type with your customer demographic: Flash sales are popular with younger buyers, but their appeal decreases with buyers’ age. Also, consider a percentage discount (the most popular promo), dollar-off sale and clearance items.
- Optimize through personalization: Get personal to get noticed. Nosto data shows that personalized emails — e.g., those that highlight items a customer is most likely to buy based on previous activity — receive an average clickthrough rate of 24 percent and an average conversion rate of 6 percent.
- Take advantage of pop-ups: Don’t miss a chance to collect an email address from each visit to your website. Doing so will ultimately build a database to carry you through slower months.
By December, consumers are ready to spend on the perfect gift. Make it easy for them to find what they need:
- Highlight your best sellers: Show visitors your most popular products and recommend items that are frequently bought together, reassuring them that they're making a good decision — and potentially increasing average order value.
- Adjust filters and maximize search capabilities: Don’t force shoppers to trawl through pages to find what they want or assume that your site doesn’t have what they need. Add extra holiday filters to helps users, especially those on mobile devices, easily locate and purchase products.
- Avoid missed opportunities: Use personalization on the shopping cart page to remind shoppers of items not added to their cart, as well as to recommend complementary or add-on purchases. It’s also worth suggesting products to help customers reach a free shipping threshold.
- Use personalization to optimize pay-per-click campaigns: Maximize return on investment by using dynamic Facebook and Instagram ads that display relevant items based on visitors’ previous interests, purchases and browsing behavior on your site. If you’re using Adwords to bring traffic via Google, be sure to add landing page recommendations.
While customers are returning gifts, it’s your chance to re-engage them with stellar customer service. The experience can potentially spur new purchases and ultimately create long-term fans.
- Provide a positive returns experience: A bad returns process won’t stop the return, but it will stop customers from shopping with your brand again. Online shoppers reported that free returns shipping (60 percent), a hassle-free policy (51 percent) and easy-to-print returns labels (44 percent) are the three most important factors in a good returns experience.
- Create a re-engagement campaign: Re-engaging old prospects is more cost effective than going after new customers, and since consumers are rarely holiday-only shoppers, it’s essential to get back in touch in January.
- Launch a loyalty program: Encourage loyalty from holiday shoppers by offering them a reward for shopping with you again. Loyalty members spend up to 18 percent more than non-loyalty customers.
Following a holiday plan that's strategically aligned with your customers’ expectations and behaviors will help your e-commerce business navigate the competitive holiday period and maximize the potential it brings.
Jan Soerensen is the general manager for the North American operation of Nosto, a provider online retail personalization solutions.