The holiday season is one of the busiest, most critical times of the year for e-commerce businesses and online entrepreneurs. And customers are spending more online than ever before!
According to studies, 2021 holiday sales increased 16.1% year-over-year in the United States, to a value of $1.221 trillion. This number is expected to grow even more in the 2022 holiday sales season.
To capitalize on the holiday sales opportunities, capture the attention of both new and existing customers, and increase revenue before year end, it’s imperative to have a sound online marketing strategy! Here are some of our favorite e-commerce marketing ideas for the season.
1. Leverage Audience Segmentation
When it comes to online shopping, consumers crave relevant, customized, personally targeted buying experiences. Online sales strategies are no longer “one size fits all” and segmenting customers empowers online retailers to cater to each segment of their target market(s).
Audience segmentation enables you to identify and segment your customers into different groups based on characteristics such as location, gender, buying habits, or purchase history. By segmenting customers, you’re better able to target ads and control product placement(s) and suggested products and/or purchase options. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of closing sales.
Examples include: Suggesting higher-priced items to customers whose purchase history reflects heavier spending; delivering special offers to first-time customers or those that have previously abandoned their shopping carts; creating product suggestions based on a customer’s geographic location (such as a clothing retailer suggesting winter gear to those living in cold, snowy climates and lighter weight apparel options to those living in warmer locales).
Tools such as Dialogue are available to plug into existing e-commerce stores and help you intelligently segment your target audience into different groups, based on your chosen categories. By creating segments in a single click, based on shopping behavior and real-time data, and using dynamic content not only helps you deliver a better customer experience but also increase sales.
2. Design and Implement Cart Abandonment Campaigns
Online shoppers are notorious for adding products to their shopping carts and never completing their purchases. The holidays exacerbate this behavior as people shopping online are price comparing, trying to finish gift lists, and inundated with external distractions. As such, during the holiday season, cart abandonment increases, making this the perfect time to design and implement an effective cart abandonment strategy.
One option is to leverage guest checkouts and a wider selection of payment options to make the checkout easier. Then encourage users to create their accounts after the sale has been completed. A more effective solution is to leverage email marketing automation tools and dynamic content to remind your users of what they’ve left behind and incentivize them to complete their purchase by offering a discount (on either products or shipping) or adding loyalty points if your model includes them. Generating FOMO (fear of missing out) with count-down timers, or reminders they only have so long left to ensure their item arrives in time for the festive period, increases the likelihood of purchase.
3. Highlight Your Best Sellers
One of the biggest challenges consumers face during the holiday season is figuring out what to buy! As they shop for the perfect gifts, suggesting your best selling products can go a long way! An easy way to do this is to create a carousel of your top-selling products on your home page, or showcase your latest deals to increase the chances of a quick purchase. For users with existing accounts, you can even showcase products based on the items each customer has previously purchased. A personalization engine will automatically promote the products most likely to appeal to each member of your target audience.
To increase your chances of instant action, focus on creating a sense of urgency when you promote your best sellers. By creating a “Deal of the day” and highlighting it on your website’s home page, you can push customers to make quicker purchase decisions and reduce the likelihood of them browsing through multiple sites before they buy. Displaying the number of products you have left in stock generates a more significant level of FOMO as can displaying a “countdown” timer to show how many days are left for holiday deliveries, etc.
4. Leverage Upselling, Cross-Selling, and Bundles
The primary objectives of holiday marketing campaigns are to generate as many sales as possible and to improve your chances of higher average order values. Upselling and cross-selling on product pages and during the checkout process are two of the most effective ways to accomplish this.
Both strategies may be used during the shopping experience or during checkout. For example, on product pages, suggest potential bundles of items which typically go well together. When customers view their shopping cart, show them product recommendations commonly purchased with their selection. Or show them products they’ve viewed on your e-commerce website but didn’t add to their cart.
Cross-selling, upselling, and bundling strategies may also be leveraged post-purchase on either the “thank you” page or in a follow up email. Consider giving customers an option to add another product to their basket for a discounted rate, with no extra shipping fees. This strategy can be incredibly effective for capitalizing in the impulse buying trends the holidays bring.
5. Update Your Website Design with a Holiday Theme
Holiday decorating isn’t just for brick-and-mortar retailers! Holiday themes may be used to enhance the appearance of your online store and make your site feel more festive, memorable, and engaging. Holiday themes also give you the opportunity to highlight products and promotions.
In addition to leveraging holiday colors and images, consider changing the website’s homepage to show different selections of potential products such as “Gifts for him,” “Gifts for her,” “Gifts for kids,” “Gifts for Pets” or some other designation that is relevant to your products and customers. Also consider creating a new home page section to highlight sales, deals, and special offers. “Calendar” tools may also be leveraged to offer a new deal every day, which helps to keep customers coming back to the website and checking what’s available.
6. Offer Free Shipping and Easy Returns
Though it may seem counterintuitive to offer freebies when trying to generate revenue, free shipping and free returns are incredibly effective for closing sales and decreasing cart abandonment. When customers know they can purchase and return products without having to pay extra for shipping, they’re much less likely to abandon their cart. Some studies even show that conversions improve by 50% when you offer free shipping!
If you don’t want to give free shipping to everyone, you can simply offer free shipping as an option when customers spend a certain amount, which can increase your average order value.
Happy holiday marketing!