Top eCommerce Holiday Sales Driving Tips.
Who doesn’t love Christmas? Nobody! But do you know who loves it more than anyone else? Potential customers. With November and December driving 30% more revenue than any other month, Christmas time certainly does mean that we spend more time online shopping, which means it’s the most wonderful time to push E-commerce and drive sales.
This blog outlines our top tips to help attract customers, and then once you have them on your website, entice them with other promotions because who doesn’t love a great offer!
Our top eCommerce sales-boosting tips for this festive season
Preparation is critical, and as much as it pains me to say it, your brand should start speaking about Christmas at the end of summer. An effective plan of action needs to be considered in the build-up to your Christmas campaign, as implementing strategies on the fly will not take full advantage of the seasonal period.
To make things easier, we have broken our tips into three sections: PLAN IT, SELL IT and LEARN FROM IT, with the strategy spanning from the start of October till the end of December and even new findings to be taken into next year’s Christmas period.
- Plan it (end of the summer – October)
- Grow the cart with bundling
- Stand out with your brand ‘WHY’
- Attract before the rush
- Build a marketing calendar to engage customers
- Add a site merchandising plan to grow your click-through rate
- Sell it (November – December)
- Build audience lists through promo codes
- Increase traffic and conversion by building a sense of urgency
- Grow conversion – continue the conversation
- Learn from it (January – onwards)
- Clear excess inventory to protect margin
- Hindsight to grow sales even more in future years
GROW THE CART WITH BUNDLING THROUGH UPSELLS & DOWNSELLS
How can we get customers to buy more? Disguising upsells as a reward encourages customers to purchase more of your stock. Resulting in higher average order values and improved revenue.
You can do this by
- Offering free shipping when a customer spends a certain amount; will give the incentive to buy more, who likes paying for shipping! And to make it as streamlined as possible,
- Add recommended items in the cart section as the user won’t even have to click off the page to increase their potential basket size.
- Reduce as much friction during checkout as possible – an excellent way to do this is to remove distractions on the checkout page, such as your site’s header, removing unnecessary checkout fields, offering quick pay options (think ApplePay, Google Pay.
- Give the option to complete the set; as an example, if someone is about to purchase the latest Marvel film, why not have the recommended add-on be another movie from the same franchise.
- Create item bundles, and offer an incentive by adding a discount to the second item once you have worked out product margins.
- Offer multi-buy discounts, buy six bottles of wine for the price of five.
STAND OUT WITH YOUR BRANDS ‘WHY’
I will be the first person to admit that I can’t tell my Primark T-shirt from my Ralph Lauren; in my eye, they are both the same thing, except one has a polo player on it. So why do people view one in such high regard? Because higher valued stores typically have marketed themselves as a cut above the rest, their ‘why’ has extra value-added. So, look at your business and think about your unique key selling points; how would potential customers see it? Is it sustainable? Is it local? Is it a prestige product? Customers will show off a brand that they adore, so how can we make them love you? Go the extra mile. Offer time-saving deals for people as ‘you can’t buy time’, so upsells like additional delivery options or gift wrapping will make customers more favourable to your brand.
ATTRACT BEFORE THE RUSH
There are no points in coming last and when it comes to eCommerce, being first means that customers have seen your product before your competitors, leading to a higher chance of making a purchase. Why not offer early access to Black Friday deals to selected customers using email and social ads to give the feeling of exclusivity. Who doesn’t love that?
Customers who feel as if they have been treated better than everyone else will be sure to create a better customer-business relationship. Limited edition products will also attract customers eyes, giving the sense of ‘must have/buy early’, also adding deadlines or ‘while stocks last’ notifications can increase the urgency of a purchase.
BUILD A MARKETING CALENDAR TO ENGAGE CUSTOMERS
There are some people out there who can memorise every key day relating to their life and business. Sadly, I am not one of those people and have to organise all the dates using various methods from sticky notes to writing on hand. When it comes to preparing for Christmas eCommerce, knowing your plan of attack a couple of weeks prior is vital. To solve this, creating a marketing strategy will help keep your businesses campaign on track. Break the calendar into different sections; if you are showing a discount on your social media platforms, how will you emphasise the deal, even more, using various channels such as organic search or PPC. Know when to push certain products and take others out of the spotlight; if demands are high for a particular product, we can push that item to encourage sales.
A successful calendar should include all eventualities and what products can be pushed and pulled. Always remember to constantly take notes of your stock and avoid showing customers that products are out of stock in peak seasons. If a product goes out of stock, can we add a pre-order button and send notifications via email when the item is returning to increase the chances of conversion.
ADD A SITE MERCHANDISING PLAN TO GROW YOUR CLICK-THROUGH RATE
All aspects of how you present yourself online should align; if an advertisement says 25%, then the product page says 10%, chances are customers will be put off by the confusion. Each sector of your eCommerce should benefit from the same messaging, keeping the theme, colours, and tone of voice similar, creating a brand that customers will trust.
Once you have the potential customer on-site, how can we create an experience that will increase the chances of people exploring other offers and products? If a customer is about to add a product to their cart, can we show complimentary items that fit the same theme of the original product? If certain products are struggling to convert, using this method can increase the likelihood of a purchase, increasing the order value.
BUILD LIST THROUGH PROMO CODES
Having an email list for prospects and customers can be considered to be the holy grail for an eCommerce business as there is now a 1:1 and free way to communicate with customers. The more extensive the list, the larger pool of people you can reach out to directly. So, with more online shopping this season, you can encourage more email sign-ups with promo codes. For example, adding a promotion such as ‘Sign up now and receive 15% off your first order’ will prompt customers to sign up and trigger an upsell with urgency messaging.
Make the process for users to increase their basket value as simple as possible, removing as much friction as possible so that customers will not bounce.
INCREASE TRAFFIC AND CONVERSION BY BUILDING A SENSE OF URGENCY
Using language that creates a sense of urgency will increase traffic to your site. Click-Through Rates will go up. Most importantly, Conversions will increase as the thought of missing out can tip the decisiveness of a customer in your favour. Use time-sensitive motifs on email and website, with countdowns giving a deadline to purchase before a discount stops running. Create automated emails that let people in your mailing lists know that there are low inventory levels and that stocks will not last. Alert tactics can be extended to the site allowing a broader audience to be aware of stock levels. With Christmas coming up, showing when your product will be delivered is crucial as customers purchasing gifts and presents will want to know that it arrives before the 25th.
GROW CONVERSION – CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION
Don’t let any customer be the one that got away. If they have seen your product and chose not to purchase that time, how can we change their mind and encourage a conversion? Keep the conversation surrounding a product alive. Automated emails about abandoned carts will notify people what they left and try to persuade them to finish the conversion; if you are to use these personalised abandoned cart emails, statistically, you are three times more likely to convert than using a standard generic email. If you are using paid ads, consider using retargeting to keep products in the mind and the eyes of customers, using dialogue that will help tempt customers to finish the conversion process. When retargeting, make sure not to market out of stock items as this will alter the customers’ opinion on your business, making them not trust you with future marketing strategies.
We’ve all done it. Stood in a shop with a product in each hand, weighing the pros and cons of each. One is expensive, the other cheaper but it does the same thing. So how can we encourage the purchase of the higher valued items?
If we use the goldilocks method, it will help to get the customers to choose the higher valued products. If we create a product that sits between two others in price, statistics show that the middle product will be treated as the ‘just right’ product. The cheapest product customers won’t want to purchase as people may find it to be the cheap way out but are reluctant to spend a considerable amount more for the highest valued product leaving them with the ‘just right’ middle product. Use your lower valued product as an introduction to the range and with the improvements that the higher valued items will offer in quality, the middle product statistically will be chosen. This concept can be used for bundles or different tiers of products, helping to improve the order value of customers.
LEARN FROM IT
CLEAR EXCESS INVENTORY TO PROTECT MARGIN
Even when Christmas is over, we can still incorporate marketing strategies into our business to help end the year on a profitable note. Analyse what stock is left and what can be promoted. A post-bank holiday marketing campaign should be introduced if there is enough stock. Using the expanded customer list to your advantage, continue communication with potential customers utilising urgency messaging to improve the chances of customers buying products. Using the insights given to you from previous customers, you can then retarget those customers with personalised emails to offer products that may be similar or go well with the original product they had purchased. Using both bulk and personalised marketing methods will help increase the traffic to your site, which will increase the chances of items being bought. Include offers on products that need to be sold to make way for new stock in a closeout sale to improve the temptation for your customers further.
HINDSIGHT TO GROW SALES EVEN MORE IN FUTURE YEARS
Hindsight is 20/20; learning from previous experiences can help us grow and reach the next steps for our business. After Christmas, set some time out to reflect on what went well and what can be improved while the information is still fresh. Look at analytical software tools to see areas of improvement and at what stage; if so, what can we do to rectify this moving forward? If a particular product sold out quicker than expected, then ‘why?’ If products that were thought to be sure sellers had to be discounted to sell, what can we do next year to stop this happening again and increase profits. Also, seek to obtain information from customers directly, use emails or your website to operate surveys asking what experience people had with your business over the winter season. Using these methods from both the business and the customer sides will help tailor the strategies in the coming year, reducing the chance of pitfalls and improving experiences and profits.