Breaking News! The holidays are not going to be canceled. It’s going to be different this year, with retail sales down and people less inclined to shop for gifts … unless you own a digital ecommerce store. Sales growth online has been so massive that giants like Amazon can’t even keep up!
So, bah humbug to all the naysayers. It’s time to put on your holiday thinking hat to plan, prepare and act for the best ecommerce holiday ever!
Physical shops are in a continuous cycle of opening and closing because of COVID-19. According to CNN, the long lines and rushing crowds we usually associate with Black Friday and other holidays won’t be happening this year … or maybe ever again.
However, expect the rush to now happen online. The great news is that eCommerce growth has jumped over 44% over last year in the U.S., according to Digital Commerce. If you have an online store, get ready for a holiday sales surge like no other year!
Read on to see how you can be one of the digital businesses that will save Christmas 2020.
Dress Up Your Online Shop
Brick and mortar store owners put up their holiday décor to set the mood. It’s a total remodeling for those who can afford it.
Online marketers should do the same. Why? According to Nielsen’s research, recognizing holidays is one way your business can show respect to your customers and that your website is up to date for the times.
For starters, do you have Black Friday and other holiday banners ready? You don’t need to do anything fancy. Dedicating a landing page for any of the Holidays is an excellent idea. A change in your web images may be enough. Your marketing assets should reflect the season.
Here are other tips on getting your website ready:
- Give your business logo a makeover. It’s an excellent way to let your customers know it’s the start of the Holiday season. Make sure your logo is still recognizable after changes. A little tweak might be just what you need, such as garland, a red Santa hat. or snowflakes in the background.
- Create content that’s relevant for the Holidays. Revise your product descriptions by giving the most important ones a seasonal flavor. Remember to always highlight the benefits your customers will enjoy. Do you have any holiday stories to share? Why not include these?
- Update your product images and post gift suggestions. Including some décor will help.
- Bundle your products into special holiday packages, and feature these prominently on the home page of your website. Think of gift baskets, special packaging and free décor included in your bundle.
- If you expect your visitors to increase, make sure your website can handle the traffic. You can test loading times with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. (If you have a Shopify store, this shouldn’t be a problem.)
- Is your shop mobile-friendly? It’s no longer just about eCommerce. Start thinking “Mobile” Commerce now. A mobile app tracker, App Annie, found that 59% of Americans prefer shopping on their mobile phones. Expect this number to grow.
- Improve your website security. Assure customers you won’t store credit card information unless necessary. Prominently display SSL certificates and badges to give them added peace of mind.
- If you’re having a sale, show a countdown timer.
- Always thank your customers on your website.
Prepare Your Social Media Accounts
Engage customers on their preferred platforms with uplifting messages. During the Holidays, people often share gift ideas with each other on Facebook and Instagram. They may also be seeking information about products. Aim to get tagged. Here are more tips on prepping up:
Run contests or events on Facebook live and its other features. Regularly post alerts on upcoming sales or discounts on your Page or Facebook fan group.
Post your holiday images on Instagram. Get your most passionate fans to share content on IG Stories. It doesn’t have to be about your brand or product alone. Encourage them to share their own holiday stories too, and use your tags.
Host a virtual party for your customers. Ask them to invite others. It’s time for fun, so I suggest you don’t talk shop. You can ask everyone to wear a holiday hat. The best one earns a prize. Give your attendees coupons. It’s an excellent way of showing customer appreciation. Trust me, they’ll remember you for this!
Package your Products in Festive Holiday Themes
Starbucks changes its cups every year for the holiday season. This year’s theme is “Carry the Merry.” They do this to spread their Christmas message.
You can do this for your store by pre-ordering holiday bags. A dozen of these can cost as low as $6.00. Pay a bit more and you can add your brand name or logo.
If you don’t ship your products, ask your fulfillment warehouse if they can add this extra festive touch, or what other options they have for the holidays to help you out. Don’t forget giving your customer the option for gift wrapping your product!
Send Greeting Cards
I’ve been sending birthday and holiday eCards to my customers. It’s my way of showing appreciation. It’s also an opportunity to introduce new products and announce promos.
I’ve been using Punchbowl because I prefer the look of paper cards. For a monthly fee of $4.99, I can send up to 500 eCards per month advertisement-free.
Electronic greeting cards are the obvious, but traditional paper cards are making a comeback. Why? Millennials and Gen Z are driving the return of physical greeting cards, due to their novelty (for us older folks, yup, actual greeting cards are curious novelties!)
This is something to think about if a younger demographic is a big part of your market. Send them a personalized physical card insert with your order. Again, if you don’t ship your own products, ask your fulfillment center about this option.
Send Personalized E-Mails
Right now, there are at least 4 billion e-mail users in the world. It’s a traditional digital marketing strategy that is still very useful. Emails remain the #1 communication channel for marketers.
While we’re on the subject, take note of the following:
- Yes Lifecycle Marketing data revealed that a personalized subject line boosted an open rate by 50%. Make sure to ask for your customer’s name when they sign up to your newsletters.
- For an extra touch, add videos or GIFs to your e-mails to improve open rates.
- 46% of e-mails are opened via smartphones. Make sure your messages and formatting is mobile-friendly.
Use the Right Coupons
Don’t just settle for discount coupons. There are many other kinds. The trick is finding the type that leads to more brand awareness and conversions. Coupons really depend on what your goals are.
- VIP Coupon. It could be a discount, free item or a fixed amount off for any product. It’s a reward for your loyal customers or VIP group.
- Free Shipping. This is going to be a hit if you sell physical products. Sometimes, the shipping costs are higher than the price of a product. I suggest you set a minimum purchase amount for free shipping. Keep an eye on your profit margins. Make sure you don’t lose money.
- Introductory Price. You can offer a new product at a low price for a limited time to encourage more sales. The holiday season is an excellent time to introduce a new product or feature.
- X amount off on the next purchase during the Holidays. Do you want to encourage repeat sales? Offer discounts on subsequent purchases.
- eGift Cards. It’s the season of giving. Why not give eGifts to your customers?
Do you need help with creating coupons? Canva is our go-to graphics tool. You can design customized coupons for your online and offline needs.
Make a Video
Customers want to see the people behind a brand or product. Post a holiday video. A short message of hope can strengthen your ties with your audience. Wear a holiday hat.
You might think it’s cheesy, but your audience will love you for being in step with the season and having fun. I suggest reading our article on making videos if you haven’t seen it yet.
Be Jolly: Use GIFs
An animated gif is a short series of images or a video that loop continuously. These are intended to be funny and are usually sent to family or friends. A GIF of about 9 seconds can also bring a smile to your customers.
Big brands like Starbucks, employ GIFs in their marketing. Their use is widespread and supported by social media platforms. Customers are drawn to moving images. GIFs can direct attention to a new product or a Call To Action (CTA). They are also easy to share.
If you haven’t used GIFs before, now is the perfect time to test. You can send your greetings with GIFs. There are many free maker tools and the following are worth checking out.
PhotoScape. This is easy to use software that’s available for both Windows and macOS. You can create GIFs with multiple photos.
Wondershare Filmora. It’s rated as one of the best GIF maker software. It’s also user-friendly. I also suggest you take a look at their “meme maker”.
Giphy. There’s a free version that’s fun to use. The company claims it has the most extensive collection of GIFs. The software’s instructions are simple and straightforward.
Other Tips For Holiday Cheer and Sales
Here are other ideas you should consider:
- Think locally as well. Potential customers might be within your midst. They might be your neighbors or other tenants in your office building. Holidays give you a reason to greet everyone around you.
- Partner with other businesses. Post on their blogs and allow them the same opportunity. There are a lot of benefits to cross-selling.
- Send a holiday text to your customers.
- Partner with charities. Let your customers know a portion of what they pay will go to these organizations.
I’m sure you have other ideas of your own. Be creative and don’t forget to A/B split test so you know what works best. With the holiday season about to begin, get into the spirit and try out these tips now!