Shoppers nowadays prefer to catch sales online, such as those on the days right before and after Christmas, instead of heading outdoors and trying to shop in retail outlets. Therefore, online sales, especially during the holidays, are on the rise.
There are many ways you can use this upward trend to your advantage in the 2015 holiday season without spending a lot on marketing. From website optimization to using email marketing, we provide a laundry list of ways in which you can boost your holiday sales this year!
Boosting online sales is all about optimizing your website and the shopping experience for your target market. The right website design can boost sales.
Start by optimizing your ecommerce store to add a bit of holiday cheer to your page. Consider jazzing up your logo or adding a new holiday banner to your website. It’s a quick way to add some fun to your brand for the holidays.
However, do avoid making too many changes right before the holidays. Especially when is comes to website layout and navigation. You want to make it easier for new shoppers to find everything, but you also don’t want to confuse your returning shoppers.
Here are some other things you can do:
- Add a countdown timer/banner on your home page counting down the days to the holidays. This adds a sense of urgency, which can help increase sales as customers see the time slipping away.
- Update your home page to be entirely holiday focused. Highlight sales, holiday related items or even curated gift lists for different categories. Amazon and eBay both do this, making shopping easier for their customers and thus driving sales.
- Provide holiday themed content on your blog. Maybe provide advice on gift ideas, provide curated shopping lists or consider other holiday related blog posts to attract customers.
- Rewrite your product descriptions for holiday related products, and include gift references to products that would be good gifts.
- Integrate customer reviews into your website. Shoppers are more likely to buy items that have been reviewed online.
- Add holiday greetings to your “order confirmation” page, along with recommendations for other related products they may be interested in.
- Create bundles of holiday related products. Sell decorations? Consider creating bundles in different price ranges with all necessary decorative items someone might need for their first Christmas tree. Showing products related to each other is another way to boost cross-sales.
- Curate shopping lists for buyers. Create lists for different age groups, genders, and even in different price ranges. This allows shoppers to quickly search for multiple gifts in less time. Also highlight your clearance section so that bargain hunters can easily find good deals.
- Ensure your mobile website is ready to go, and provides as seamless a shopping experience as your website. Mobile shopping is on the rise (stat), and a trend you can’t miss out on in the 2015 shopping season.
- Push your “wish list” option through emails and call-to-actions on your website. When people create a wish list of products they like, there’s a high chance someone will actually buy the product for them if the list is shared. Win-win!
- Compress your website images and video so that it loads at the speed of light. At the same time, don’t skimp on having enough video and images for each product. Buyers want to see the products clearly before buying, and clear images and video help provide that clarity.
- Scan your website for broken links and images that don’t show properly. You can use one of many tools, to make sure every link works as it needs to.
- Reinforce your website’s security. Make sure your SSL seal is displayed, as a lot of holidays shoppers are shopping online for the first time and they are more likely to be apprehensive of revealing their payment information online.
Shipping and Returns
One of the biggest hassles during the holiday season is shipping and returns, since the volume for both goes up at this time, plus there’s a time constraint when shipping items out for the holidays. Avoid shipping hassles by providing your customers with all relevant info, and also by improving your internal shipping processes during the season.
Here are some ways you can optimize these processes for your store:
- Make it easy for customers to know when your shipping deadlines are. Your homepage should have a banner stating the absolute final day they can order something to get it delivered in time for the holidays. Provide the same information for your international customers as well.
- Provide last minute shipping options, such as overnight shipping, to late shoppers. This will attract those shoppers who may not be able to order last minute from anywhere else.
- Remember National Free Shipping Day is December 17th. Offer free shipping on this day to stay competitive.
- Post your returns policy on your website in a prominent location. Make sure it’s clear and easily understandable. Set deadlines for when returns have to be sent in by. Consider extending this period past the holidays to reduce some hassle over the holidays themselves.
Email Marketing and Promotions
Email marketing and online promotions are important to a successful holiday marketing strategy. With mobile shopping on the rise, and customers keeping an eye out for discounts and such during the holiday season, there are many ways you can boost sales using email marketing.
Here are some changes you can make to help boost your holiday sales.
- Send reminders to shoppers with abandoned carts once a week to encourage them to come back. Consider adding a discount for carts still abandoned after a certain period of time.
- Boost your email list by actively building it during the pre-holiday season. Once the holidays are over, re-engage your shoppers by emailing them a new year’s greeting, and stay in touch with them over the course of the year by offering promotions and discounts.
- In a giving mood? Consider adding a charity campaign, where a percentage of sales go to a local charity, and use this for PR.
- Encourage shoppers to shop more by offering promotions on larger purchases. For example, if they spend $100, they get a $10 gift card. This is a great way to get a customer back into your store after the holidays as well.
SEO & Social Media
Online marketing nowadays is all about social media and utilizing SEO properly. Don't ignore your online followers. In fact, reward them for following you throughout the year by offering discounts and promotions directly to them. At the same time, make the most of SEO and target holiday keywords to attract new customers.
- Submit your site map, if you’ve made website changes or added products, as soon as possible to ensure the pages are ranked and indexed before the holidays.
- Utilize holiday meta-tags by adding holiday friendly keywords to them.
- Refreshing your website copy for the holidays? Do so with SEO in mind. Look up holiday related keywords you can add to draw those people who are online only for holiday shopping.
- Engage your customers in social media campaigns where you ask them to submit videos or photographs of them using your products, giving a selected few (or all of them!) a discount code. You can use these images in your holiday advertising next year.
- Spruce up your social media accounts for the holidays by changing profile images and backgrounds to a holiday theme.
- Share all holiday codes and discounts freely during the month before the holidays on all your social media accounts.
- Network with bloggers and online magazines relevant to your audience and see if you can get into their gift guides.
While most of our suggestions so far have been easy to implement, and relatively cheap, we would be remiss not to include Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisement in this post. Here are some ways you can utilize PPC to boost sales.
- Adjust your PPC campaign keywords so they are holiday friendly, including terms like gifts and presents. Use Google Trends to come up with relevant keywords
- Create urgency in your advertisement text, and consider adding shipping deadlines on the ads themselves. Plenty of people will be tempted to buy something if they know they’ll get it before the holidays.
- Update landing pages so they are consistent with your ads. If your ads mention a discount, the landing page should mention it too.
- Utilize negative keywords to avoid paying for traffic that won’t convert into shoppers.
- Increase your daily minimum on PPC to take advantage of the holiday shopping rush. Don’t scrimp this time of the year.
Boosting holiday sales is all about being prepared for the rush and planning ahead. Start early with your website optimization and online marketing efforts so you can take advantage of the holiday sales season in the best way possible.