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Digital Marketing Strategy For Holiday Season

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By Author: Chris Brown
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With holiday season round the corner, your potential customer base is ripe and ready. According to Deloitte’s annual holiday forecast statistics, e-commerce sales for the holiday season are expected to grow 18%-21% in comparison to the 2016 holiday season. With online sales reaching $111 billion to $114 billion, work for ecommerce websites is neatly cut out. From leveraging the growing market space to generating more sales, it is time for ecommerce stores to not only meet their annual KPI’s but exceed them.

With the importance of the holiday season clearly established, we have made a list of 5 ways that will boost your sales further and prepare your ecommerce store for the incoming holiday fervour.

1. Update your website with festive graphics:

Spruce up your store to match the holiday spirit. The following two methods help make your store look season ready and welcoming:
• Landing Page: Landing pages are your introduction to the potential customer, so it becomes imperative that they be holiday-specific and utilized to market the holiday gear on offer.
These landing pages can be anything from a product line, to a product page to an article.
Irrespective of what they display, landing pages should be clear, focussed and inviting. Your landing page will set the mood for the customers browsing experience. It is a quick and effective way to kick start the festivities at the store.
Consider the following landing page from Backcountry, an outdoor gear ecommerce store.

Consider another landing page from Personal Creations.

• Store’s Content and Imagery: The holiday season is the perfect time to infuse freshness and some levity to your store. It allows the customers to see that your store is growing and changing in keeping with the season like a seasonal facelift.
So to engage more customers, it is natural that your store speaks to their festive spirit through the on brand content and imagery. This also allows you to be creative and imaginative in your approach, as an example, consider styling your ‘add to cart’ in form of a moving sleigh gif.
Also, changing colour themes to reds, greens and whites along with falling snow video in the background is a great way to enhance the customer experience. Afterall it’s a celebration and we must all endeavour to be part of it together wholeheartedly.
Consider the following example of an ecommerce that has nailed its content and imagery.
Macy’s color coordinated festive imagery fits right in with the season:

2. Promotions and Marketing
Holiday season is the best time to up your promotional and marketing strategy. With the focus on eliminating customer pain points of shipping and cost, you can create targeted promotions and increase your revenue. There are multiple dimensions to promotions which need to be tapped simultaneously to create the right buzz for your store.

• Email Marketing: What better time than the holiday season to reconnect with your old and subscribed customers? With email marketing. you get to do just that. With a themed design of your liking you can send emails to your contacts, personally communicating the holiday offers.

This is also an effective time to make your old customers feel special by sending them early bird discount coupons or return-again discount coupons. These measures ensure loyalty and traffic for all the subsequent holiday seasons too.
For the new customers, email marketing can be used to send invites for your store communicating the dates of holiday sales, special gift products etc.
Here is a great example from Blaze Sales and Service (https://blazess.com/) for New Year.

If you don’t already have an email marketing application in place you can always start with MailChimp. This application helps you create and manage emails effortlessly.

• Discount Coupons and Offers: This promotional strategy gets the maximum traffic as it relieves one of the prime pain points of your holiday customers. The discounts should prominently feauture in your landing pages, emails, and other promotional activity to get maximum attention.

Another example is of Macy’s, with its bold and eye catching banner the discount is hard to miss.

Whether they are on a single product or a product range, your ecommerce store should make them easy to read and find.

Another creative way of bringing notice to your discounts is through the pop up screens. Take for example Be Happy.

• Ad-Campaigns and Social Media Presence: Though holiday season sees every kind of customer, some who shop early and some who wait till the end, but you as the e-commerce store owner should keep your promotional campaigns ready much in advance.

Ad-Campaigns - Cover all bases with Facebook ads, Pay-per-click text ads and Google shopping data feed. Build these marketing campaigns in time to reap more benefit, as you get closer they become more and more competitive.

Social Media Presence - This being the best medium in today’s time to engage the audience, most of your pre-holiday energies should be devoted in creating content for the same. Using available free applications, you can now easily schedule uploading of content at timely intervals to keep the customers updated..
Having a strong social foundation helps you inform customers about upcoming sales, special discounts and holiday gift guides. This platform is also a great way to study customer response and get reviews.
Consider Nordstorm’s facebook page.

3. Create Gift Guides, Product Collections and Free Accessories:
Now it is time to add some cheer. There are many ways you can turn your products into seasonal goods and make them the right choice for gifting. Let us start with some of the ways here:

• Make gift packs out of your existing product catalogue. Bundle together different complementing items from your range into small to medium range gift packs that can be picked up on the go.
• Add in the mix or with another product, free accessories such as ribbons, tags, small cards, and wrapping paper. This reduces the hassle for the customer and helps them have a less stressful gift buying experience.

• Promote and position a collection of your product range on the website in keeping with the holiday season. Having a tab that spells ‘Gifts’, will allow your customers to navigate directly to the section they are looking for without leaving your website.

• Another option gaining popularity among customers is the Gift Card. This is important to keep as an option in your ecommerce website. Look at how Nordstrom provides the same.

• Create Gift Guides for a seamless user experience. Guide the customers to possible gift items and help them make the choice.

4. Shipping and Return Policies
Another major pain point of customers during the holiday season is the Shipping.

Everybody is looking to have their gifts delivered on time which make sit essential for you to clearly define and display your shipping information for each product. Whether it is deadlines or the number of days it will take, make sure they are clearly communicated.
Since shopping is mostly being done for another person there are high chances of return, again making it important for ecommerce owners to display their return policy clearly to avoid hassle on both ends. Following is the shipping and return policy at Macy’s.

Shipping can also be used as an offer among customers. This would encourage more of them to visit your website and put in their orders. An example of leveraging free shipping to increase revenue can be seen at Macy’s.

You can offer free shipping, or shipping at a discounted rate to leverage more sales. An example of this is using bulk criteria to offer free shipping hence prompting customers to put more items in the cart.

5. Ready the Website to Face Action
So the store is all decorated to welcome visitors, the invites and promotions have been sent out, the discounts and products are in-place, you would think the work is done. But it is not.
None of the above would matter if your website did not work flawlessly.
So, lastly, following are the points one should keep in mind to be fully prepared to face the rush hour of holiday season.
• Check the stores loading page well in advance, to avoid delays to customers. Slow loading speed has been attributed as a reason for card abandonment and you would not want that to happen during the holiday season.
• Have someone use the website from third party perspective. To help you pin-point areas of trouble the actual customers might face.
• Ensure easy and direct navigation to possible areas of interest for the audience. Accompany discounts with CTA’s to encourage customers to click. Have easily visible banners displaying important information strategically placed.
• Go through checkout to check for any processing delays. Rectify problems before the traffic increases.
• Lastly, create a responsive website. With mobile ecommerce having a major share in the total ecommerce sales, it is paramount for websites to be supported on all platforms, specifically mobile phones. With people rushing for last minute buys, mobile ecommerce can be the ultimate ticket to boost sales.

The holiday season is a great opportunity for ecommerce stores to upsell and update their website. With a targeted approach aimed at assisting the customer to have a wonderful shopping experience, despite tight schedules, you can create a great win-win situation. So make the most of the opportunity and enjoy a great holiday season.

More About the Author

Inside Sales Manager at blazess.com

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