It’s that time of the year again where every store you pass by on the street is decorated not just with snowflakes, candy canes, and Christmas trees, but also with giant posters and decor that scream holiday sale. This scenario is also familiar in the e-commerce setting, and now that Black Friday is over people have less than twenty days to buy everything in their Christmas shopping lists.
However, entrepreneurs are also aware that this season isn’t busy for the shoppers alone, but for business owners as well. Every player in the competition has their marketing guns loaded, and you should be able to keep pace. The question is how you can get your e-commerce site ready for the influx of customers in one of the busiest season in the calendar. Listed below are seven marketing tips that will help you prepare your online store for the holidays.
- Pull out data from last year.
It’s all right if ideas have started rolling in your mind but before you decide on a specific strategy, use what you know from last year’s performance. Review the marketing techniques you used from the previous holiday season, and see how each of the channels you used made the biggest impression on customers. Was it email marketing? Was it social media? By looking at the impact created by each channel, you can judge whether you should focus on it again this year to make more sales.
You can also evaluate the marketing channels that delivered the least, and think of ways they can be improved this year. Just because they didn’t do so well last time doesn’t mean the same thing has to happen this year. Plus, you need all the channels you can possibly use to maximize the whole nine yards of your marketing plan.
- Greet your loyal customers.
Everybody likes receiving personalized holiday messages, and your loyal customers will surely appreciate it if you send them a Christmas card specifically addressed to them. This is a good way to express your gratitude to your patrons. You see, not all customers expect this gesture from the brands or stores they shop at, and it will be a nice touch if you send them, say, an electronic card, a direct message on Twitter, or a Facebook message. It may only be a simple holiday greeting but it can help you strengthen your customers’s patronage, which can lead you to making more sales.
- Hold a countdown on your website.
One of the ways to make your customers hasten their shopping is by reminding them how close the celebration days are. By making them aware how many days are left to them to shop, it will be easier for you to offer them your products or present to them alternatives they can use as gifts. You can pull off this technique by installing in your site a countdown widget on your e-commerce site. Another way you can use the countdown timer is by reminding your customers how many hours are left before a particular sale on your site is over, or how long they have to wait before another one starts.
- Be flexible on shipping methods and return policies.
Holiday shopping can be quite stressful, but you can still earn you customers’s favor and loyalty by making it as easy as you possibly can. One way you can make shopping convenient for your customers is by offering several kinds of shipping methods. While some online stores offer free shipping once a customer’s purchases reach a certain amount, consider the possibility of shipping for free anywhere in the country. Another idea would be speeding up the delivery of purchases. You just have to make sure that you commit to shipping schedules to keep your customers’s trust.
Return policies is also an aspect you can be flexible about this holiday season, especially since the competition in this time of year can be tougher. Bear in mind that your competitors are also finding ways to give the market the beast deals possible, and you have to keep pace. Review your return and exchange policy and see what changes you can accommodate this this season. For instance, if you’re only accepting returns three days after the purchase is made, perhaps you can make it five days up until the holidays are over.
- Make gift cards available.
A lot of people like to shop but not all of us have the time. This a good opportunity to offer your customers gift cards, which they can use a gift to their family and friends. Apart from it being easy to buy, recipients of the gift cards could also mean new customers for you. Start offering gift cards even before the holiday rush begins so that those who have gift cards can start shopping as well.
- Dare to upsell.
Another way you can help your customers in their shopping, and up your chances of making a sale is by upselling. Assuming that your customers are completing a list of things to buy, you can modify your e-commerce site to make suggestions related to the things they have placed in their cart. For instance, if a customer buys an MP3 player from your e-commerce gadget store, you can recommend other items associated with the purchase such as headphones, cases, or even extended warranties.
- Give A/B testing a break.
The lot of holiday shoppers will definitely be reflected in your traffic but it doesn’t always mean that it’s a good time for testing. Spikes of traffic during the holiday season can create bias on your data interpretation and steer you away from doing an objective analysis. On the other hand, take note of certain elements such as shipping (which products get ordered the most when you offered free delivery) or prices (which items became the most in demand when put on sale) when looking at analytics. Go back to A/B testing once the season is over and study which part of the data is relatable to your performance made in the rest of the year.