If this year’s Black Friday sales tell us anything, it’s that people are still shopping, despite challenging economic times.
Online shoppers definitely pulled out their wallets, spending a record $9.12 billion, a 2.3% increase from 2021. From scoring deals on toys to electronics to smart home items (which saw 271% in growth btw), Black Friday and Cyber Monday prove that when done right, e-commerce stores can still generate significant revenue over the holiday season. And there’s still plenty of time left to bring in the sales and end your year with a conversion bang.
So, how do you keep the momentum after a busy BFCM weekend? Well, beyond having a stocked inventory, you'll need a solid digital marketing strategy. Here are 15 tips to make the most of the remaining holiday shopping season.
1. Deliver a personalized shopping experience.
E-commerce businesses already know that the more personalization they offer, the greater their chances of increasing their conversion rate (CR). But customers aren’t worrying about your conversion optimization; they just want a tailored shopping experience that makes it easy to find what they’re looking for—and to discover new stuff along the way.
It’s your job to give them that. And if you do it right this holiday season, you’re not only appealing to the 80% of consumers who are more likely to buy from retailers providing personalized experiences, but you also have the potential to generate 40% more in online revenue (McKinsey & Company).
The best way to achieve this is by having the right customer data at your fingertips. Machine learning technology (like Granify!) analyzes every shopper’s behavioural data points to determine exactly what content and messaging will interest them most. This information can then be used to personalize product recommendations for holiday gift ideas; based on a shopper’s location, browser and search engine history; previous purchases; and so much more.
2. Feature a gift guide on your site.
‘Tis the season for giving, so why not share some holiday gift ideas with your shoppers?
Aside from making your site look festive, gift guides are a valuable way to improve customer experiences. Not only do they make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, they’re also useful for those who need a bit of help finding the right gift.
You can categorize your gift guide any way you like, such as by price, by gift recipient, by theme, or by product type (just to name a few). Not only will this save your visitors time, it will also allow you to feature the products you want, including those seasonal items you want to get off the shelves fast.
This example from QVC organizes its guide by gift type, so shoppers can easily search for gifts based on the kind of gift they’re looking for.
3. Bring on the promotions.
Getting a deal on something you’ve had your eye on feels pretty dang good. Getting deals on various gifts on your ‘Nice’ list feels even better.
Just because Black Friday is behind us, doesn’t mean you should slow down on your offers. Promotions make it easy for shoppers to buy because the deals help dictate the items purchased.
Let’s say you run a one-day promotion for sweaters at 50% off regular price. Chances are, more people will end up purchasing sweaters for gifts than anything not on sale.
Promos come in all shapes and sizes, and can be run consecutively or in tandem. Some popular ideas include:
- Daily promos on a range of items
- Limited time offers on top-selling items
- Discounts on seasonal items
- Bundle deals
- Live shopping events
- Free shipping offers
Whatever you decide, just make sure to advertise any promos on your website, social pages, and subscriber emails.
4. Offer digital gift cards.
Last year, gift card sales increased 114% from November to mid-December, in comparison to 2020. This year is gearing up for similar numbers.
More and more people prefer giving and receiving this convenient virtual gift because of its straightforward approach. Buy a card online, send it to the recipient, the end. Gift bags and bows not needed. But the benefits of including gift cards in your holiday messaging—landing page, email campaigns, social content, or even gift guides—go far beyond not having to wrap anything up.
And if you really want to appeal to those shoppers who either have no idea what to buy or perhaps missed the shipping deadline, you can offer a discount when more than one gift card is purchased. For example, if a shopper places a $50 gift card in their cart, offer them two for $80, three for $125, etc. Or, implement BOGO on all gift cards for a limited time only.
5. Plan a holiday email campaign.
A study from FinancesOnline revealed that 68% of shoppers pay more attention to emails this time of year, and 60% have bought something after receiving a marketing email. It only makes sense then to Implement an email marketing campaign into your holiday marketing plan to ring in more sales.
Use your campaign to send customers discounts and special offers like a limited time holiday promo code. You can also use this as an opportunity to share gift ideas or remind shoppers who abandoned their carts.
Just remember, you’re not the only retailer vying for their attention, so make sure to “think outside the inbox” (pun intended). Keep messaging concise, include attention-grabbing visuals, and provide a call-to-action (CTA) that takes them directly to the relevant content on your website. Highlight any offers you have to entice them to buy from your site and have a killer subject line that stands out. Most importantly, always ensure your emails are optimized for mobile-devices.
Check out this example from Asos:
6. Create a sense of urgency.
We’re not suggesting you sound the alarms and produce enough panic to alert the authorities. However, nudging shoppers to take action by alerting them about low stock items or limited time offers can go a long way in boosting sales.
The reality is that people often want what others have. If you let your shoppers know certain items are selling fast and to “buy them before they’re gone,” you’re opening the door to them wanting those same items for themselves or someone on their gift list.
Start by letting them know what’s going on. This could be low stock on items they’ve searched, or an amazing deal they only have a handful of hours to benefit from. These messages can be sent in holiday email campaigns or presented in an exit-intent pop-up that appears when a shopper is about to leave your site.
Take a look at this example by Livicor Hair, which creates urgency by showcasing a countdown timer with its limited time offer.
Use urgency messaging to inform shoppers about items that are back in stock as well, which can compel them to buy immediately before it’s too late.
7. Leverage your social media.
There are at least 4.7 billion people using social media. That is A LOT of potential customers to persuade to buy in the next few weeks. And the best way to do that is by consistently being active on your pages.
According to McKinsey, 58% of shoppers state social media as influencing their holiday buying decisions. To target these individuals, amp up your presence by posting as much relevant holiday-related content as possible. Engage your audience with fun videos, enticing offers, gift ideas…the list goes on!
The point is to make your store top-of-mind for everything gift-giving. Sure, paid ads are a helpful way to increase brand awareness, but don’t underestimate organic content as well.
If you are offering an incredible one-day sale, post about it repeatedly in your feeds. Link product items directly to your site, or host social media events with interactive livestreams. And have fun!
BarkBox did a fantastic job at capturing that all-too-familiar awkward photo we’ve suffered through during the holidays.
You’ll also want to take advantage of user-generated content (UGC). Social media campaigns that incorporate UGC have 50% more engagement and are 35% more memorable. Reshare posts of customers using your products, or simply look for other holiday-themed content that relates to your brand.
8. Ensure your site is speedy.
With online holiday spending expected to hit $910 billion worldwide (Adobe Analytics), having a site that performs efficiently is a must. And one the biggest ways to turn shoppers off from completing their purchase is slow loading times.
Studies show that one in four website visitors leave if a page takes more than four seconds to load and that even a one-second delay can reduce customer satisfaction by 16%.
To accommodate the surge in website traffic, it’s pivotal to evaluate your site speed (and other functionalities) to avoid early exits from your site. Things to check and correct include compressing large site files, cutting down server response times, and permitting browser caching.
You’ll also want to reduce HTTP requests. This can be achieved by:
- minimizing images or removing ones that are unnecessary;
- ignoring unrelated page assets; and
- using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
If a lot of this sounds foreign to you, consider working with a developer, and take advantage of tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights for recommendations on how to improve your site speed.
9. Consider your mobile users.
Over the BFCM weekend, mobile shopping accounted for over half of the transactions, with Thanksgiving seeing a 55% increase in revenue from smartphone users.
To keep this segment of online shoppers happy, you have to consider the experience from their perspective. Remember, everything you feature on your site is a lot smaller on a mobile device. Not everything that appears on a desktop will work as effectively on a smartphone. And if not done right, it could do more damage than good.
In order to ensure these users can shop just as effortlessly from their phones as someone using a laptop, you’ll need to optimize your site for the mobile user experience. This means incorporating features that allow for easy browsing and fast checkout, along with responsive designs that prevent shoppers from having to scroll, zoom, and pinch their way through your site.
10. Have an omnichannel presence.
Did you know that 73% of consumers prefer shopping through multiple channels (Harvard Business Review)?
Consumers don’t just visit a store these days. They like to shop using a variety of methods—from e-commerce websites to mobile apps to social media platforms. Having an omnichannel strategy helps you take advantage of all these networks by allowing your customers to seamlessly pick up on one channel where they left off on another. This can be particularly helpful for busy consumers who need to pause their online shopping until a later time.
It’s important to keep in mind that an omnichannel experience goes a step
further than a multichannel one by truly connecting all of your e-commerce platforms together. For example, if a shopper sees a cool jacket on Instagram and clicks on the link it will take them directly to the product page on your site, where the shopper can then see if their size is in stock, along with any other product information.
The best part about creating this type of presence? Omnichannel shoppers have an estimated 30% higher lifetime value than single-channel users. That can equate to a lot of extra sales over the holiday season.
11. Simplify the checkout process.
The holiday season is hectic enough that any additional burden will feel much heavier than usual.
Once a shopper has decided on what to buy, the last thing they want is to be delayed by endless fields and multiple pages. An overcomplicated checkout process accounts for 27% of shoppers abandoning their carts. Fortunately, remedying this isn’t as hard as you may think.
While you may not be able to get your checkout process all the way to 100% before the holiday season is over, here are three simple fixes you can apply asap:
- Scale your checkout down to just one page.
- Enable guest checkout and multi-recipient functionality.
- Offer several shipping and payment options (more on that below).
12. Provide more payment options.
While credit cards are still a popular payment choice (the highest charging percentage since 1985), it should never be assumed that this is how your customers want to pay for their purchases.
Though it’s not a huge number, 9% of shoppers have bailed on buying because there weren’t enough payment options. Translate that percentage to potential lost revenue of the holidays and suddenly, it sounds a lot worse.
Your best bet? Give them what they want by providing a range of payment options on top of credit cards, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.
Even better, offer buy now, pay later (BNPL), which allows shoppers to pay in installments rather than all at once. This option is especially appealing during the holidays, when spending is higher, and can encourage shoppers on a budget to buy when they may have otherwise chosen not to. In fact, it’s so successful, that BNPL orders increased 85% and BNPL revenues by 88% on Black Friday, compared to the previous week (Adobe Analytics).
13. Upsell gift wrapping.
Oddly-shaped items, wrapping paper that’s a couple of inches too short, and twisted tape that seems to stick to your fingers and nothing else, are just a few of the pleasures of holiday gift wrapping.
Did we mention paper cuts?
Anyway, it’s safe to assume not everyone loves or has the time to get all their gifts draped in pretty paper and ribbons. At least not like Martha Stewart. Alleviate this pain point and give your sales a lift by offering this as an add-on service during checkout.
How you decide to wrap the gift is up to you. Keep it simple with a lovely gift box and bow, or get a bit fancier with all the jazz your customers love but don’t want to do themselves. You can even offer to include a special message. Either way, you’re simplifying their lives and increasing your average order value at the same time.
14. Highlight your shipping options.
Every online retailer knows that consumers dislike shipping fees, so much so that 47% say it impacts where they buy gifts (NPD).
The bottom line is that shipping costs are never going to disappear, but there are ways to make them less of a repellent. The first way is through sheer transparency.
The holiday season is probably the only time when shoppers are more willing to pay to have parcels arrive by a certain date. And because many gifts will be sent directly from your site to the recipient’s door, time is of the essence. Highlight any shipping costs, delivery options (standard, overnight, priority, etc.) and holiday delivery cut-off dates on your homepage so shoppers can know exactly what to expect.
In this example by Puma, a shipping offer and deadline appears boldly at the top of the page, so any user on any type of device can see it right away.
Of course, if there’s a way to remove shipping costs at any capacity, do it. Offer complimentary shipping for a certain spending threshold or as an incentive to gain more conversions. At the bare minimum, offering free, expedited shipping the week leading to the big “Ho ho ho” is a nice gesture that your shoppers will appreciate.
15. Prioritize your customer support.
In an ideal e-commerce world, customers experience a flawless shoppingexperience without any bumps or hiccups. In reality, problems happen—even when you’ve taken every precaution to prevent them.
This is where good customer service comes in really handy.
81% of consumers say a positive customer service experience increases the
chances of them making another purchase (Zendesk). This is particularly important during the holiday season, when site traffic is much higher.
For optimal support, we recommend the following three components:
- Automated chatbot options for common questions
- Live chat options for quick responses about specific matters
- A detailed FAQ page with answers to common inquiries, such as return policies and shipping info
If your online store serves a high volume of shoppers at all hours of the day, consider adding after-hours customer service to a virtual service provider for those shopping late at night or early in the morning.
Let’s wrap things up.
The Cyber Five saw killer sales, but continuing to keep those sales heading toward the North Pole is up to you. The good news is that this time of year will naturally bring in more revenue, especially if you keep up with your promotions, emails, and social content. The great news is that there’s still time to elevate your sales higher than Rudolph. All you need to do is stay calm, carry on, and make your e-commerce experience the best holiday sales season yet!
Ring in the New Year with more revenue!
Hoping to have 2023 success in your stocking? Granify is already helping retailers plan to improve their conversion rates in the coming year and can help you, too! Our experts and innovative technology both have the know-how to deliver immediate results that will have you ready to celebrate 2023 for all the right reasons!
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