November 18, 2019
Every industry has its busy season, and it doesn't take an economist to know that for eCommerce, the busy season is the winter holidays. Instead of buying an item for themselves here and there, your customers suddenly have a long shopping list and they're ready to buy.
This doesn't mean you can sit back, relax, and watch the money flow in. Well, you can, but it won't be the amount of money you're hoping for. With an estimated $136 billion in sales at stake, everyone is vying for their piece of the pie.
If you want your best holiday sales ever, start with these top tips.
Let's face it: gift cards are convenient and well-loved gifts. For people who travel for the holidays, giving or receiving gift cards can save them from struggling to transport massive luggage. They also guarantee that the recipient gets something they'll love.
Now is the time to start advertising your gift cards. Some customers may not realize you have gift cards. It could take an ad for them to realize, "that one person on my shopping list would love a gift card from that site."
In addition to launching gift card-focused ad campaigns, sell them to your existing customers. Offer them as add-on suggestions no matter what someone has in their cart.
We've all had times when we were shopping for someone and didn't have a clue what they'd want. Sometimes when you start a shopping session, all you know is your budget.
For customers in that situation, make life easier by offering budget categories. Front and center on your home page, have calls-to-action customers can click. One may be for gifts under $20, another for gifts under $50, another for gifts under $100 and so on.
Of course, you want customers to be able to filter their results within those categories too. Allow them to select gifts in different categories like sports or fashion. The more options you can provide, the better.
Don't forget to include gift cards in all these categories.
Did you know that during the nationwide shopping spree around Thanksgiving last year, 24 percent of sales started with emails?
If you don't put much focus into your email marketing campaigns, now is the time to start.
Focus on quality over quantity, though. Your competitors also know how much email marketing can boost their sales, and they're flooding your customers' inboxes. If you add to that flood, you'll get lost in the shuffle.
Instead, put your effort into making your emails compelling and attractive. Use subjects that tell your customers that they're about to make headway on their shopping list. For instance, try something like, "Unique Gifts for the Sports Fan on Your List."
For online retailers, data is your friend. Use it.
Most people buy gifts for the same loved ones every holiday season. For that reason, use the data from last year's holiday shopping season to target your marketing this year.
For example, let's say you have data that a customer was buying gifts last year for a young girl. This year, feature products in their marketing emails and purchase recommendations that are meant for girls around the same age or slightly older.
If you read that last suggestion and said, "uh-oh, my system isn't set up for that," you aren't alone. The thing about data is that you have to know what data you want before you can collect it.
Even if you are keeping tabs on shopping data, you can take it a step further this year.
Set up a way to allow shoppers to create shopping lists on your site. Each time they add an item to the list, allow them to label the product according to who they would give it to.
For instance, if they're looking for gifts for Charlie, Deanna, and Joe, let them label who they're considering for each saved item.
This helps you in several ways. First, letting them save items to a list allows you to retarget them and remind them about those products.
Second, it gives you insight into their shopping habits. Next year, you can email them with personalized gift suggestions for Charlie, Deanna, and Joe.
For most of the year, customers tend to have a few favorite online retailers. During the holidays, they're buying a large number of gifts for many types of people. They tend to branch out more with their shopping habits, searching far and wide for great gifts.
For that reason, you're likely to have a lot of first-time customers in the next few months. Consider this to be your audition for their business.
You can impress those shoppers by putting more emphasis on your customer service. Hire temporary employees if you need to, so you can handle all your customers' requests efficiently.
Pinterest is one of the most underestimated tools for eCommerce, especially when it comes to the holiday shopping season. People spend weeks gathering gift ideas before making their decisions, and Pinterest is the perfect place for them to browse.
In fact, around two million people each day pin rich pins for products.
Now is the time to get more involved in Pinterest. Create rich pins for as many of your products as possible, including your gift cards.
Of course, Pinterest is also an app people tend to scroll through quickly. That's why you need the right product photos to make users top and admire.
Your photos need to be clean yet eye-catching. They need to stand out from the crowd and show users what you have to offer, all in a single image. To make that happen, it's time to put away your smartphone and hire a professional.
Pinterest may be a type of social media but it's one of many. You need to capture shoppers' attention on the other social media platforms where they spend their time.
Start with high-quality, eye-catching images. Attractive product photos are great, but product videos are even better. What better way to show off your products and let users envision how they'll fit each person on their shopping lists?
With the crowded atmosphere of social media around the holidays, though, organic posts will only get you so far. To get the best value for your investment, you need to buy paid ads.
The benefit of social media advertising is that you can set your budget as high or as low as you want.
Of course, targeting the right customers is trickier when people are buying for others instead of themselves. You can't assume a single man without kids won't buy children's gifts, because he's likely to have a niece or nephew.
Still, you can begin with some experiments. Check out the data and what types of customers are clicking the most, and use that to adjust your targeting moving forward.
Societal pressures have taken a unique turn in the past few years. There is a growing movement away from consumerism overall. More and more people make their buying choices based on which companies' missions and ethics they support.
This is also true when it comes to buying gifts. It's great to buy your sister a beautiful piece of jewelry. It's a far more special gift if part of that jewelry's cost is going to a charity she loves.
As you market your products for the holidays, call special attention to any unique benefits like this. Consider setting up your own program to donate a portion of your revenue from certain products.
Conveniently, you don't need to know what causes a customer supports. Everyone has someone on their list who's passionate about conservation, animal rights, ending poverty, and other missions.
Most online retailers think that because anyone in the world can buy their products, they should market to everyone equally.
While they all have the potential to become customers, people in your local community have even more potential.
People love to support their local economies. In fact, this is why some people are trying to limit their online shopping: they don't want to buy from faceless global corporations.
Advertise to your neighbors and let them know that you're in their community-building your business. Chances are that they'll be more likely to buy from you than a mega-corporation that puts little or nothing back into their neighborhood.
Without a doubt, we're heading into a busy time of the year. Between traveling, hosting gatherings, and more, your schedule is probably packed full. If you don't make time for your business, though, you'll miss a sink-or-swim opportunity.
The tips above can help you reach your best holiday sales figures ever.
If you're ready to hit the ground running with photos and videos that will turn heads on social media, in emails, and on your own site, call our product photographers and videographers today.