The final months of the year often translate as a highly profitable season for businesses. In fact, research shows that in the months of November and December, eCommerce brings in 30% more revenue thanks to the hustle and bustle of the holidays. That’s nearly 1/3 as many sales. While this resembles a huge opportunity for brands to see a significant spike in sales, adjusting your eCommerce strategy can play a key role in bringing about your desired outcome.
We’ve outlined a streamlined, easy-to-use eCommerce Holiday Checklist that identifies a few things you can do to augment your sales and hit those big numbers you’ve been working towards all year long. These tips will allow you to improve the comprehensive shopping experience you’re delivering to customers, and will also simplify the process so you can build loyalty, and acquire long-term customers that will want to shop with you throughout the year.
1. Optimize Search Capabilities On Your Site
The search function translates as a key opportunity to hook your customers. Research shows that customers who utilize this feature are 4-6x more likely to become repeat customers. Surprisingly, of all these searches, roughly 20-30% of site searches result in a dead end. And nothing discourages customers more than that “No Results Found” page.
Functionality should be a top priority when it comes to your eCommerce site, so start by identifying common searches that generate these unfavorable results. If you can get an idea of what people are looking for, and what searches specifically elicit the “No Results Found” page, you can rework your site to better meet the needs of the consumer. Using Google Analytics, you can identify the keywords and phrases most used by your audience, and implement better end points for these searches.
2. Upgrade Your Search Results Page
While it’s useful to understand how your audience is searching for products on your site, it goes without saying that it’s nearly impossible to account for every ineffective search. Whether that comes down to a misspelled word or a phrased that’s used in a misleading way, there are ways you can still offer valuable input to the viewer. For example, perhaps it’s inevitable to feature a “No Results Found” page, but it’s important to note that you can use this as an opportunity to direct the user to other products that may be helpful. Be attentive to the use of language, and see how you can read between the lines and assimilate searches to generic terms to create a useful landing page that keeps your audience engaged. You could even take it one step further and include some sort of notification or messaging feature that contacts consumers when the item they are looking for is in stock.
3. Decorate Your Site for the Holidays
Just like you’d decorate a storefront, you also might consider giving your website a bit of a festive facelift. Add some holiday vibes to each page by replacing some of your graphics with alternate photos that reinforce that cheery spirit your customers can’t get enough of. These changes can be rather subtle, but they go a long way.
4. Don't Underestimate the Importance of Social Media
Arguably the most cost-effective strategy to boost your marketing execution, social media can always serve as a gateway to sales. To maximize your efforts on social media, be sure to have an editorial calendar that outlines exactly what type of content you’re posting on each day. You’ll want to ensure your content has something of a holiday theme that mimics the fun decorations you’d otherwise find in a brick and mortar store, and when executed across all your unique social media accounts, it resembles virtual real estate that will drive traffic to your site. It’s so crucial to ensure that your content is festive, fun, and feels like a fresh fit for your brand. You can also utilize features like polls, share recipes, and use holiday hashtags to keep engagement at an all-time high.
5. Enhance Your Efforts with Email Marketing
When done right, e-mail marketing is such an effective way to reach your audience. To set yourself apart from all the other brands sending out emails, be sure to keep it short, simple, and always integrate a dose of your brand’s personality. Every message should have one, yes, just one, objective. Maybe you’re promoting a product, a sale, or a big Black Friday event, but if you’re trying to promote all these different things in one email, your audience will lose interest. So, be strategic about when to use email to promote each of these different things independently.
You’ll also want to be sure to incorporate engaging, holiday graphics and a witty, clever subject line to hook your readers from the get-go. Email marketing should be a blend of informative, but also entertaining. Keep it simple, and let each message speak for itself.
6. Don't Hesitate to Do Things Differently
It’s not uncommon to feel like preparing for the holidays is a bit routine-like. A lot of times, we see a lot of saturation in executing similar ideas in the spirit of the season. But, think of brands like REI, who have given a whole new meaning to Black Friday with their #OptOutside campaign, an initiative that encourages their audience to get outside and hike, bike, or engage in their favorite activity instead of hitting the local mall for those can’t-miss deals. Sometimes, it pays to take a risk and do things differently, so don’t shy away from the good ideas that stand out a bit.