How to ‘Sleigh’ Holiday Season Ecommerce: Guidance From Our Growth Accelerator Team

October is here, Sainsbury’s have started selling their mince pies, this can only mean one thing…Christmas is upon us! Make sure your business is prepared for one of the busiest holiday seasons on record with some top tips from four of our very own ecommerce experts.

Written By
Han Dickson

After a turbulent start to 2020, with COVID-19 putting significant strain on global commerce, the imminent holiday season presents a vital opportunity for many businesses to make up for lost sales. Driven online by lockdown restrictions and health concerns, a surplus of consumers and even first-time online shoppers have led to the prediction of a very busy holiday period for online retail. 

In a recent survey by Rakuten Advertising which polled over 8,000 global consumers, it was revealed that despite more than 40% of shoppers citing a decrease in household spend due to the ongoing pandemic, over 70% of consumers have no intention of reducing their spend for this year’s upcoming peak shopping days. 

Approximately 65% of UK consumers have purchased more online since the initial lockdown began and, with a remarkable 73% planning to buy primarily online this holiday season, it looks like they will be here to stay. 

This is particularly encouraging news for brands and retailers who have been forced to adapt to a rapidly evolving consumer landscape in order to survive.

Today on the Swanky blog, we’ve asked four of our very own ecommerce experts from the Growth Accelerator team for their top tips and savvy advice to help you ‘sleigh’ holiday season ecommerce.

Email Strategy with Stephen Rowley (Client Marketing Manager)

Starting off with our Client Marketing Manager here at Swanky, Stephen provides some handy hints for optimising your email strategy this holiday season:

Start growing your lists early

The holiday season is the biggest sales opportunity of the year for most. Growing your mailing lists in advance to increase the amount of customers you can send to only increases this opportunity.

Spice up your subject lines with relevant holiday emojis and joy! 🎁🎄🎅

Embrace the festive season with subject lines that inspire holiday season emotions and increase that open rate – everyone else will be.

Look at the lessons learned last year

What seasonal messaging really resonated with your different audiences last year? Create a segment of your best customers from previous holiday seasons and target them with personalised content and promotions, including rewarding loyal customers with special holiday gifts!

Prep your audience with content early

People are forgetful and often leave things to the last minute – preparing your audiences with content that makes life easy for them, such as wishlists and gifting guides, can help your customers get a head start that they will appreciate!

Conversion Rate Optimisation with Sammy Fraser (Digital Strategy Manager)

The Black Friday and Christmas holiday period is well known for enticing a large number of qualified users to your website with a high intent to purchase. With brands increasing marketing budgets to meet customer demand, it’s important that your website is fully optimised to reward your efforts by capitalising on your increased traffic.

Here are Sammy’s top tips for ensuring your website is ready for this holiday period:

Optimise your landing pages towards your customers needs

Keep your Black Friday messaging simple, remove distracting elements and make sure there is a clear and encouraging call-to-action to purchase. When it comes to the holiday period, consumers are in charge with countless options available. With everyone discounting their products, make sure you are able to convey what makes your store stand out.

Utilise opportunities to cross-sell throughout your customer journey on-site

Your customers are looking for a bargain and are much more likely to add additional items into their basket whilst in this frame of mind. Promoting personalised and relevant product recommendations to your user, based on their current browsing activity or demographic profile for example, will help you to increase your average order value and revenue. 

Optimise for site speed, especially for mobile

In 2019, Shopify reported that 69% of all sales were made on mobile over the Black Friday weekend, with only 31% on desktop. Slower sites will quickly lose a valuable Black Friday customer to a competitor, so make sure your small screen shopping experience is lightning fast. 

Content Strategy with Sarah Hanney (SEO and Content Strategist)

Next up is Sarah Hanney, our very own content and SEO genius. From monetisation to streamlining your marketing channels, here are Sarah’s recommendations for your content strategy this holiday season:

Synchronise your blog with your other marketing channels

Create interesting, meaty content that you can feature in email newsletters or on social media, encouraging your readers to click through to your website. Once they’ve landed on any content, steer them gently along their customer journey to consider making a purchase. Highlight products that may interest them or that are relevant to the content they’re reading, for example.

Monetize your content

Add a Buy Button to monetize your content. This allows customers to quickly add any products you may feature in blog content to their cart. Try linking images to product pages to drive traffic and consider creating a featured product section alongside content, too.

Collaborate with complementary brands

Drive more traffic to your website and build your external link profile by leveraging each other’s marketing channels, encouraging your collaborators to link to you from their own blogs. Create a holiday gift guide or a list of your favourite brands which feature your products alongside those of other brands – just make sure they’re not competitors!

Paid Ads with Athena Nathalia (Data Insights Analyst)

Last but by no means least, our Data Insights Analyst Athena brings you some useful pointers for successful holiday season ecommerce with ads.

Start early (plan as early as Q3, or earlier if needed!)

Capture your buyers’ attention as soon asQ4 starts and build hype through top-funnel campaigns by starting with a brand or product awareness campaign to highlight upcoming offers. During the holiday season, CPCs or CPMs tend to significantly spike due to high competition and demand, especially on Facebook, making your return on investment (ROI) much less profitable. Finding your potential customers during BFCM and Christmas won’t be ideal if you’re late to the party. 

Give yourself plenty of time to test and find the best ad formats and creatives, since this won’t be possible to do during the BFCM and Christmas period. Ultimately, ensure that your ads are clear, easy to understand and eye-catching.

Leverage remarketing/retargeting

Once you’ve spent time growing your audience lists, from new product viewers to VIP past purchaser email lists, focus on a remarketing or retargeting approach. Generally speaking, remarketing tends to have a higher chance of bringing in conversions and the costs can be cheaper. 

If you manage to set up a good remarketing campaign, you should be able to attract users who have previously shown interest in your product. This is particularly effective when your ads highlight special offers, discount codes or free shipping, encouraging users to go through with that one final click.

More importantly, make sure that you take advantage of dynamic remarketing for cart abandoners! 

Don’t forget mobile

Mobile shopping has grown substantially during the pandemic. Therefore, as well as on your landing page, it’s imperative that you optimise your ads for the mobile experience. So, keep your ad copy short and sweet and let your visual creatives do the work, producing readable and eye-catching ads that will guarantee you clicks. 

Find out more

So, there you have it. Some sound advice from Swanky’s ecommerce experts that’ll put your brand top of customers’ nice lists this holiday season. A big thanks to Stephen, Sammy, Sarah and Athena for sharing their top tips!

Check out our 11 Christmas Marketing Ideas to Bring Festive Cheer to Your Ecommerce Store for more seasonal tips from team Swanky.

Your Shopify Plus agency

Feeling inspired by our holiday season ecommerce tips and advice? Why not get in touch with our friendly team of Shopify Plus Experts to find out how Swanky could help unlock your ecommerce potential with strategic marketing consultation today!

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