How to Execute Your Marketing Plan for the Holidays
by Ron Dod
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It’s no surprise that the holidays are considered the busiest shopping season of the entire year. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales are expected to reach a staggering $720.89 billion in 218. Though this number takes into account both eCommerce and brick-and-mortar store sales, there has been a noticeable shift away from in-store shopping and towards online retail.
Because a greater number of people are gravitating toward the eCommerce sphere, it’s more important than ever to establish a detailed marketing plan well in advance of the holiday season. This year, as sales are predicted to increase, try implementing some of these valuable strategies to capture more sales and raise your conversion rates.
Start Planning and Promoting ASAP
At this point in the year, you should already have a holiday marketing strategy laid out. The best way to prepare for the shopping madness that ensues is by implementing your plan as early as possible. If you haven’t taken this step yet, we can’t stress how important it is to decide on your strategy and start executing it as soon as possible. The more time you have to prepare, the less hectic the coming months will be.
Review Last Year’s Data
One of the best predictors for your eCommerce store’s traffic and conversions this year is data from 2017, which can provide invaluable insight into your 2018 results. Analyzing previous data will not only forecast what is to come, but it can also help you identify areas of your strategy that you may want to improve.
For example, if you notice that your cart abandonment rate was higher than you would like, use your holiday marketing strategies to address ways to eradicate this issue such as designing an easier checkout process. Conversely, you may discover aspects of your holiday plan that worked particularly well, so you’ll want to incorporate them into this year’s plans.
Personalize Your Marketing Campaigns
In the world of eCommerce, personalization is everything. And, it can be used in almost all aspects of your marketing strategy this holiday season. Thanks to social media and targeted internet ads, an increasing number of online shoppers expect their shopping experiences to be tailored to their interests.
Personalization can come in all different shapes and sizes. An excellent strategy for the holiday season, personalized gift guides capture more sales by recommending products to people based on their internet searches and previous purchases. According to a survey conducted by Business Insider, personalized recommendations led 49 percent of shoppers to buy an item they had not originally intended to purchase, demonstrating the effectiveness of personalization.
You can also customize the consumer experience by offering exclusive discounts. Two of the most successful methods for implementing limited coupon codes arise from making the offer available to shoppers who opt to sign up for your mailing list and previous customers.
Segmentation is another method of individualized campaigns meant to capture the attention of your specific buyer personas. By studying user data, you can classify your customers into groups sorted by interests and buying habits. From this information, you can create target email, social and ad campaigns specifically designed for your different types of shoppers, increasing your chance of catching their attention and enticing them to buy.
Optimize for Mobile Shoppers
As online shopping dominates the world of retail, mobile commerce is becoming more popular than ever. With the entire expanse of the internet at our fingertips at all times, more people are browsing, clicking and purchasing than ever. In 2017, mobile sales, sometimes referred to as mCommerce, made up 58.7 percent of all eCommerce sales according to market research company eMarketer — and that number is expected to continue rising to 72.9 percent by 2021.
If your shop isn’t already optimized for mobile, it’s in your best interest to add this to your to-do list before the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Without a simple, efficient mobile site, you will miss out on important sales. When consumers shop on mobile devices, they tend to have higher expectations for the checkout process; they are not as willing to type out as much information as they might on a laptop or desktop. Using a UX design service, you can present consumers with an adaptable site that will be easy to use on any device.
Streamline the Checkout Process
Shoppers, particularly mobile customers, cite a complicated checkout process as one of the top reasons for leaving a site without making a purchase. In our digitally dominated world, we’ve become accustomed to quick results, whether it be two-day shipping or instant email discounts, and this remains true for the shopping process.
The convenience of eCommerce definitely accounts for its popularity with consumers. When shoppers decide to purchase something from your store, it is imperative that you make it as easy and fast as possible for them.
One of the best ways to do this is to include an option to duplicate the billing address if the shipping address is the same – which prevents consumers from having to re-type the same information – and offering digital payment methods such as PayPal and Apple Pay. To reduce your bounce rate, require only the minimum information needed to purchase.
Aside from complex or frustrating checkouts, another consumer grievance when it comes to completing transactions has to do with shipping cost. If you’re not offering free shipping on your site, you should try to be very clear about the price of shipping before items are added to the cart. Shoppers will often abandon their carts if they are hit with an unexpected shipping price. Integrating a shipping calculator on all product pages is a successful way to avoid this issue.
Plan Cart Abandonment Campaigns
Enhancing your site’s checkout process is an excellent way to reduce cart abandonment rates, but it’s impossible to ever rid yourself of this problem completely. To recapture even more of those lost sales, you should set up cart abandonment campaigns this year.
Using email marketing tools, these campaigns contact consumers who have visited your site and expressed interested in your products by adding them to their cart but did not complete the purchase. Sometimes, people just need a reminder or an extra push to follow through on a purchase. Other times, you may consider offering these shoppers an exclusive deal to win them back, such as free shipping or a 15 percent discount if they complete their order.
Implement Holiday-Related SEO Strategies
Content marketing is an effective method for boosting your site’s organic traffic, which in turn can raise conversion rates. During the holidays, there is an abundance of high-traffic keywords that can certainly capture new potential customers. Adding fresh content to your site periodically also heightens your opportunities to rank higher up on Google. When you use a proven content marketing strategy, you’ll notice a boost in your website traffic, and there’s no better time to give it a try than during the holidays.
Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.