10 steps to cracking holiday season e-commerce sales in 2021

10 steps to cracking holiday season e-commerce sales in 2021

Yes…we’re once again creeping toward that most wonderful time of the e-commerce year! Last year we headed into the season in an ‘unprecedented’ state of mind, knowing that people had turned to their devices in lockdown and online was due to boom – and boom it did! – Adobe Analytics reported a whopping 2 years growth with a 32% growth in ecomm.
As we head into the holiday season once more, experts are predicting that the growth of online shopping isn’t slowing anytime soon.
So there is plenty to look forward to and it’s time to get your e-commerce store ready for you best holiday season yet… and we’ve compiled this handy checklist below to help you do just that.

1. Diarise
There are great opportunities and events to plan your marketing activity and promotions around, so step 1 is to get the calendar out and pick out the dates that will be the focal point of your business in Q4.
11th Oct – Singles Day, 31st Oct – Halloween, 25th Nov – Thanksgiving, 26th Nov – Black Friday, 27th Nov – Small Business Saturday, 29th Nov – Cyber Monday, 10th Dec – Hannukkah begins, 24th Dec – Christmas Eve, 25th Dec – Christmas Day, 26th Dec – Boxing Day, 31st Dec – New Years’ Eve.

2. Plan
You’ve picked the dates, now what’s the strategy? There’s huge competition so it’s time to think about how you can stand out and get the plan in place to make that happen. Marketing agencies get snowed under this time of year so get your requests and outline brief in asap to give them the planning time they need to maximise your returns.

3. Prep your website
You want to ensure that your customer journey is as frictionless as possible. How easy is it for people to purchase from you? Are you using the process to upsell and bundle goods? Are you facilitating easy payment? Can payment be done on a single screen? Is your site mobile optimised and quick to load? Is it accessible?
Overall, site speed and security will have the biggest impact on the bottom line when sales are up so that’s where we’d start.
Be sure to test the full journey from the point of view of the customer and check that any discount codes you plan to use are all working.

4. Product picks
Choose your hero products carefully. You want to be driving products that are going to be high in demand, but also the ones with good margins. Think about your stock levels, fulfilment and how they can be bundled with other products at the checkout too. Getting the mix right on these factors will have a big impact on your season profitability.

5. Catchy Creative
Make the most of any photography and video opportunities, and build up a bank of holiday creative that can be tested and used. People love seeing the behind the scenes holiday prep and packaging on your social stories and there is lots that can be shared. If you plan on asking customers for user generated content (UGC) then start asking on your socials asap so that you have it ready for when you need it.

6. Get writing – Copy that Converts
You have the products, the promotions and the imagery – now you need the words! Planning the copy that will go with all of your comms is essential, form email subject lines and nurture sequences (that you can automate!) to a bank of copy that can be used with any campaigns or press that you use. Turning quality copy round quickly at this time of year is often needed so if you have it all planned and ready it’ll make the process a lot less stressful.
Remember to think of the person that you are targeting, what their pain points are and how your product addresses them – sell the destination not the journey!

7. Plan to stay front of mind
You need to take control of your customer touch points, remember a customer may need to interact with your brand up to 8 times before having the confidence to convert.
So before launching a campaign you can look to warm up the audience with emails and social Ads, and/or reinforce your brand trust with ppc and good seo optimisation.
Down the line retargeting is what brings the magic in terms of keeping your brand and product ahead of the competition and at the top of your audiences wishlist. Ensure you have your website abandon cart push notifications on so that you are sending email reminders to anyone who has added to cart…then disappeared, but equally you can plug these leaks with a simple retargeting social ads campaign and these have notoriously high conversion rates!

8. Service with a smile
It’s time to ramp up your e-comm service and ‘surprise and delight’ your website visitors. Whether it’s with packaging and fulfilment experiences, delivery options, add ons and freebies, or even live chat and increased customer support – people want to feel special and looked after and the service you deliver will give your business the edge over the competition.
Personalisation is again a growth area this year, on a product level but also on a search level – one simple tactic is bundling gifts on your website by recipient ‘gifts for her’ etc. this helps simplify the buying journey and validate that the product they are looking at is a match for their recipient, the big brands like John Lewis have been doing this for years

9. Test and tweak
It wouldn’t be a marketing checklist if we didn’t highlight that everything needs to be tested, but Q4 is great for this, with potentially multiple campaigns you can measure and learn from one and apply your insights to the next to optimise your success.

10. Invest!
Organic traffic is valuable, but paid advertising can really boost your brand in a saturated market. If there is a time of year for an e-commerce brand to advertise then it’s undoubtedly to eek some extra juice out of Q4. When something is already selling or drawing attention that’s the time to put money behind it and supercharge the outcome. If this isn’t an option this year then keep it in mind when you are budgeting for next year.

All in all, whilst a lot of the past 18 months has been unpredictable, there is still certainty that the holiday season presents the biggest opportunity for product sales. The digital landscape offers unlimited opportunity to push the boundaries on connecting with your audience and gaining their trust.

Whilst it’s a simple list we don’t deny that it can be a lot to cover, check out our website or follow us on Instagram for more support and guidance or contact us to book in some time where we can run through what to prioritise to make 2021 your most successful holiday season yet.

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