How to prepare your eCommerce store for successful holiday campaigns
The stakes are high during the holiday campaigns. The battle for customers attention between online stores is at the highest point. Let’s see how can you get your eCommerce store ready the Holiday season. In this article we’ll discuss about what you should do for a successful holiday campaign.
Let’s see a few holiday marketing campaign tips
First of all, you should plan in advance for which holidays you’ll be having sales campaigns. Otherwise, you’ll lose yourself in your daily work and the holidays will catch you unprepared. The best thing to do is to get organized. You should schedule in advance your promotional calendar. Do a schedule for the entire year. There might be some changes during the year but you will be able to adapt and continue with the holiday campaigns.
Perform a website audit before each holiday campaign
Why is a website audit necessary? In order to detect any potential problem that could negatively affect the customer experience. It’s also a great chance to find out if everything works great, if speed is up-to-par and many other small problems that could be overlooked during normal work days.
You should take full advantage of holiday campaigns. During these times you’ll experience high traffic on your website and you will have a better chance to make more sales. These are the perfect moments. You can turn your new customers into loyal customers. You’ll grow your brand awareness too. All you have to do is to properly prepare your eCommerce store for the holiday campaigns and make sure everything is smooth during these campaigns.
note: on huge marketing budgets (spikes during holidays) we even recommend a temporary server upgrade (easy to do with most reputable hosting companies).
Let’s talk about 20 useful ideas for a better Holiday Marketing Campaign
These ideas and tips can help your online business in general. But following them will especially make sure you’ll get a higher conversion rate and a better chance at winning more loyal customers during the holidays.
1. Inventory control and correct stock listing
Make sure you have enough products and the stock is listed correctly. Take in consideration the great amount of work that you already have at your store during the holidays. Besides that, you need to keep the stock updated and listed correctly on your online shop.
It is recommended to have a fairly large stock in the warehouse. If you sell products from other manufacturers or suppliers you should talk to them in advance. This type of discussions must exist because you have to be sure they will meet the expected holiday demand.
If you are a manufacturer you should prepare in advance for your holiday promotions. You need to have products ready for delivery when the orders will arrive. Make a presumption based on how much you sold last years and restock according to that data.
Check if all your products are listed on the website. Also, take another look at the quantity.
If you’re wondering what to do with items that are out of stock, you can read about this in the next article.
2. Product packaging
Don’t neglect the way your products are packaged. Packaging is a good marketing tool. The way your products are packed reflects your business. Attention to details often makes the difference, especially for a regular customer that usually orders online – that client has experience in online commerce (as a buyer) and will quickly realize if you packed the product carefully or if the package has ‘that little extra’.
3. Products delivery
Learn from your past experiences
Again, you should take a look at the past experiences. See if there were delivery delays. Take action this year in order to avoid repeating those unpleasant experiences. Or at least, try to have better delivery times. Don’t promise what you can’t offer. For example: you shouldn’t promise to deliver faster than expected. Don’t disappoint your customers by setting up unrealistic expectations. Give your customers the possibility of tracking the delivery in real time.
You can even offer free shipping during the holiday campaign. If the delivery is delayed because of the courier’s busy schedule, you can take care of your customers by offering them a coupon with a discount at the next order.
Take care of your customer
Show to your customers how much they mean to your business. And what’s the best way to do that? By taking care of them and offering the best shopping experience. You have a whole arsenal of ideas about how you can do that. For example: how can you fix a delayed delivery situation? Although the blame can be shared between your company and the delivery company (either couriers are very busy, or you haven’t processed the order in time, and so on), the clients will get disappointed. How can you handle this situation? Well, even if it’s a clique, communication is the key.
Inform your customer, in a respectful and informative tone, about the unfortunately situation. Let him know when the order will be delivered.
It might be interesting to try out something like this: offer a coupon for the next order. Let’s say flat 5% discount on your next order and we’re sorry for the delay. – and don’t forget to track those coupons to see if they actually worked. Maybe they will actually help you more orders after the holidays (when usually things cool down a bit too much until shoppers re-start their shopping spree)
Don’t use generic messages
Avoid, as much as you can, to give out generic messages. We all hate those, why should your client be any different? Those type of messages will just agitate your client. If you have a visible desire to help your client then you can communicate efficiently with him. A customer can be unsatisfied with the delivery times and continues to order from the same online store. He understands that it’s the courier fault and until a further and better solution this is all what he gets. Closer relationships and transparency with your clients will help you to overcome those kinds of obstacles.
Product page optimization
Holiday sales are no longer something new. Most buyers are looking after the desired products even with a month or two in advance.
If you already know what SEO (search engine optimization) is, then you are aware that this is a long-term strategy. Check your position on search engines and see the current situation. Discover the keywords with the highest conversion rates and work on them.
When it’s done right, your products will appear as high as possible in people’s searches. Don’t forget to inform as many people as possible about your promotions during the holidays. If you’ve designed specific landing pages for each holiday campaign, then you should optimize them. Optimizing these pages will drive specific holidays sales traffic.
It’s smart to look for potential problems and solve them a few weeks or even months before a big holiday campaign. I’m mostly referring to on-page issues. A problem, such as a wrong meta or a duplicate, solved on time may have a beneficial effect in the coming months. There’s no need for further examples because you got the point.
5. Set remarketing codes
As I mentioned earlier, many people will start searching for different products in advance.
Now is the right time to organize your remarketing campaigns. Retarget everybody who visited your online store. Add a retargeting pixel to your website and set ads on Google and Facebook – you should already have all this set up, if you don’t what are you doing?! This way you’ll remind your visitors about the products they viewed before. They will visit your website again and will also take a look at your holiday campaigns.
Obviously, it would be best if you’ve already installed remarketing codes for a while. Remarketing is a very powerful tool.
Give some clues about what products will be on sale. Even before the beginning of the holiday campaigns. You can even show a few deals on your website.
Also – The sense of urgency in ecommerce
Your customers will have the intention of buying faster if there is a change for them to lose a good deal.
Highlight constantly how many products are left in stock. Show the products that are out of stock. You can even place a countdown that announces the end of your holiday campaigns.
7. Use pop-ups
Use popups to advertise your best deals or to give vouchers. Don’t forget to add an exit intent popup.
Exit intent pop-ups appear only on certain pages when the user wants to leave. Their purpose is to encourage your clients to stay on the page and complete their order or to continue shopping.
Specific example: An exit intent pop-up will appear if the clients wants to go on another tab or to leave the website while he is still on the checkout page. At that point, the pop-up can be a decisive factor. Now it’s the moment when you can convince your customer. If you can afford it, give a 5% discount voucher at the order or show other good deals. The chances like that order to be placed will increase.
These pop-ups, such as in the example above, are not so intrusive. This action will not annoy a client because of its utility. That extra discount can be just what your client needs when he can’t decide whether to buy or not. Pop-ups can have great results when they’re on the checkout page.
Mind you, don’t spam. Don’t put 12 pop-ups on one page. Heck, i’d even try only having exit intent pop-ups on just some of the pages. – try this: only after a product has been added to cart, and the customer is still browsing around, on his 3rd page visited after adding a product to the cart show him a exit intent coupon pop-up. Or after x minutes. You get the point. It can be done. In Magento 2? Sure. Hit us up.
8. The checkout must be as clear and fast as possible
One-page checkout page has the most success. The customer can complete and enter all the necessary data and place the order on a single page. Eliminate the unnecessary steps and make it as easy as possible. The more you simplify the checkout process, the better.
During holidays there is no time to lose – you want to sell the customer wants to grab that low-stock item.
Here’s an example: You can promote the idea of creating an account. Tell your clients to add the desired products in their wishlist or in the cart. A customer who has already completed their address and data in the account can place an order much faster. If all the products are selected and the delivery data is entered, all what it’s left to do is to double check everything and to place the order. You should really ease the purchasing process during a holiday campaign – especially if you have limited stock for some products. (Example: only 10 products in stock at super price).
9. Test the limits. See how your website will manage the expected traffic growth
Be sure that your website will load faster during holiday promotions. Talk with the hosting company and ask them to check the server capacity. If you have a VPS you can even call a developers team and try to find out the maximum limits of your store. See if it is necessary to increase the resources and capacity of your hosting plan. Don’t hesitate and purchase a SSD hosting and activate a content delivery network (CDN). These measures will reduce the risks. Risks such as high loading times or downtime.
Make sure that everything it’s working properly
Be sure that the server cache works as intended and make small performance optimizations, if it is necessary. Triple check this please.
Also, check image sizes. Resize them if you want to prevent high loading time. There must be a balance between the quality and size of pictures shown. Avoid unnecessarily large pictures. You should keep in mind that many customers browse and buy directly from a smartphone. A 4Mb page size can be a challenge, even for a 4G connection. Read 14 ideas for a better product page.
The loading speed of your online store is extremely important, especially during the holidays. If it takes too much time to load, visitors will not think twice about leaving. In addition to losing customers, your bounce rate will increase. Loading speed will definitely influence conversion rate.
10. Your website has to be 100% responsive
Visitors must access easily your online store and browse on it from any device. Responsive is no longer optional. It’s a must-have. The more you optimize your website for mobile devices, the more you will have to gain. Especially with the huge amount of smartphone users. The user experience becomes more important when we talk about a 5-inch touchscreen display versus the traditional desktop display.
A lot of stores report >70% mobile users. If your store looks like crap when visited from a smartphone i have bad news: you are losing money.
11. Festive look for your store
As you decorate a physical store to fit the holidays theme, you can also give your website a festive look. The specific holiday design and graphics will give your customers a more enjoyable shopping experience.
Help your visitors to visually understand and pursue your offer through the consistent and suggestive design. We’re talking about website design, sliders design, social media campaigns banners design, pop-ups design or newsletters design.
The correct design will give the idea of emergency (buy now, only during holiday promotions you can catch the current discounts). You will also increase the orders number. At the same time, your brand gains more exposure and it’s being positioned as a serious brand that takes care of its image.
Some brands will also go for small customization of the logo in order to give a festive look to the brand. Experiment with the idea!
12. Use social networks for marketing strategy
Most likely, social media will get you lots of customers. Present your best deals and promote your holiday campaigns by using banners and appealing text.
With the help of social networks you can present your products, communicate with your store’s customers and provide answers to their questions. By doing this, you’ll create a closer relationship with your customers and gaining the trust of the new customers.
With social networking, you can inform your clients or potential customers about your promotions directly in the environment where they spend most of their time. Your marketing campaign is likely to attract people’s attention when it’s displayed correctly and in their favourite environment (Instagram, for example).
13. Prepare your marketing campaigns in time
You should set up your marketing campaigns with a month before you even start to promote the beginning of holiday sales.
A detailed and well-organized plan can help you to organize a successful campaign. This will get you the desired results. It’s recommended to have everything settled and prepared early. From banners to products that will be on sale. The communication with your employees and the way you get organized within your company is extremely important – sometimes it helps to have your friendly design agency create something in advance for you, just ready to use when they are needed. These actions will directly affect your holiday campaign performance.
14. Emails – before and during the holiday campaigns
Your subscribers list helps you a lot throughout the year. By using it, you maintain a steady connection with your customers. Obviously, it plays an important role during the holiday campaigns too.
Send emails before and during the promotion of certain holidays. Even if your client is spammed with many emails from different companies during the holidays, you should send emails to your subscribers. Start sending emails a few days before the start of your promotions.
Send an email to customers who have abandoned their shopping cart or to those who still have their products in the cart but have not yet completed the order. If it is possible, notify customers if a product added by them in the cart is no longer in stock.
Don’t forget about the newsletter. Send newsletters with your best deals. Find more about newsletter and email marketing in this article.
15. Customer support
Provide support to your customers through live chat, phone, email or social media. Anticipate their questions and prepare possible answers. This implies knowing the delivery route from the warehouse to your customer door and specific product details – again, planning pays off.
Thanks to an effective communication you will gain your customers trust. Your new clients can become loyal customers after a first good shopping experience due to the qualitative customer support. A sincere answer like: “We’ll answer to your question, give us a few seconds to check the requested information” is a much better answer than: “That product comes with a user manual. Why don’t you just read it?”
Don’t neglect emails from your customers and answer to everyone. Be sure to send the correct message and also check the links that redirect customers to a specific product or a landing page.
16. Upselling and cross-selling
No matter what kind of strategy you choose – upselling and / or cross-selling, there should be displayed products that are consistent with the current products chosen by the customer. You can help customers to choose faster the needed products. In particular, during holidays, people want to buy gifts, and what is more beautiful than helping your customers to find the right gift?
Try to keep these strategies in mind even when there are orders placed by phone. Give options or help them with tips. Try to offer something useful to your customer – even if it’s just information or good practice tips. This ensures you a loyal clients base and a trustworthy brand. Read more about upselling and cross-selling here.
17. Highlight the discounted price
Everybody wants to save money and get a discount during the holidays. Display the initial price and current price – after discount, on the product page. Customers will see how much they will save. Don’t forget to show the discount in percentage too.
If you have sufficient time you could make an analysis of the most wanted or desired products. Based on the results, you can increase the conversion rate during the holiday campaigns. This way you can offer discounts that mean something. It’s useless to offer a 50% discount on a product that is not searched or not desired by enough people. Sure, massive discounts can attract attention … but a desired product with a smaller discount is more likely to deliver better results for one reason: higher demand.
18. Check your competition
Even if there’s enough room for anyone, it’s good business to stay informed about your competitors. Check out your competition, see what they are offering and find an advantage. You can opt for a larger range of products, free shipping or a better discount. There must be a reason why customers choose to buy from you and not from your competitors. It can be difficult to find an advantage that places your brand as a better choice, but it’s very important.
19. Landing page
You can create a landing page for your holiday campaigns. A landing page is a separate page on which visitors arrive after they have accessed an advertisement, such as pay-per-click, organic, banners, a search result or an email.
This page can be used as a promoter of the current sales campaign. Popular e-commerce platforms such as Magento or WooCommerce (and many others) support the implementation of such unique pages. This kind of pages can have a unique and personalized design – versus a normal page in the store.
20. Paid ads
Go for paid ads like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, affiliate marketing or even influencers if you want to spread the news. Inform as many people as you can about your promotions.
Pay attention to PPC (pay-per-click) marketing. Competition is bigger and the price may be higher than the other periods of the year, because during the holidays. Don’t forget to add holiday-specific keywords. Check the progress of your campaigns constantly. Improve and make adjustments alongside so you don’t waste your budget. The goal is to get as many results as possible out of your paid marketing budget (regardless of whether we are discussing about the integration with Facebook Ads, with PPC, affiliate marketing or other type of marketing).
The experience in this field is important. You’ll have better results if you are more experienced. Example: You’ll know which ad works well for your target group if you already used AdWords to promote your store throughout the year. It will be much easier for you to adjust the campaign for the holiday season.
Get ready for your holiday promotions as well as you can. Recharge yourself with a lot of patience. You should hire some people during your holiday campaigns if there are not enough employees in your store to cope with a large volume of work. This way you and your employees can give to the customers all the attention they deserve. At the same time, as a manager, you need to communicate and organize the staff as best as possible. A positive and patient attitude, packed with effective communication, can determine both the campaign success and the team stress level.
Don’t forget to update the stock and product descriptions. Add the wishlist option to your store if it does not exist. Display information about the product delivery and if you are a new online shop on the market, but not only in this case, you should display the reviews about your store and products. This will help other potential customers to understand better why they have to choose your products.
We hope these ideas will help you prepare your online store for the holiday campaigns and will increase your conversion rate. You can use these marketing tips for a B2B website or a B2C website.
If this article helped you, give it a share or send the link to a friend who has an online store. It might help them a lot next time there’s a holiday coming!