‘Tis the season to get your online store ready for the busiest time of the year. InMotion Hosting is giving you some important things to check off your holiday list to help your online store gear up for the season.
1. Participate in all the shopping days
The first important date to target is Black Friday, which lands on November 28th this year, with a lot of stores pre-releasing their deals to the public before the day even hits to help people avoid lines and traffic. Another one for local shops that have an online presence is Small Business Saturday, which takes place on November 29th this year and is the perfect time to include in-store and online promos. To top it off, before the big day of Christmas, you have Cyber Monday, which lands on December 1st.
Summary of major dates to target:
- Black Friday – November 28th
- Small Business (Saturday) – November 29th
- Cyber Monday – December 1st
2. Get to the wallet first with a good first impression
You will want to start by figuring out which offers to push and when to push them. Typically, you will want the highest discounted offer to hit first before everyone runs dry on funds by the later targets like Cyber Monday. Adobe has shown in recent data that the deepest discounts will be given the Monday before Thanksgiving this year, and holiday shoppers are some of the savviest around, so keep that in mind when positioning your offers. The idea is to get to the wallet before others do or before it gets tapped out, so why not hit them with your best offer first before everyone of your competitors.
Check out the marketing data compiled by Adobe in their Holiday Predictions Report for 2014…
3. Use channels that you know are proven and brace for cart abandonment
Focus your efforts on outreach to the channels you know are revenue workhorses. For many online retailers, one of the largest engagement opportunities is email. For some, email may not be the primary workhorse and you may have a stronger audience in terms of revenue per visitor on Instagram or Facebook. But in either case, work your channels with both warm-up messaging and messaging on the day of the offer release. Another idea is to use multiple channels at once to get the synergy and hype going.
Make sure you also utilize remarketing via Google or Facebook for all lost prospects with discounted offers to return and finish the sale. With all that extra holiday traffic, you will surely want to build some solid audiences in your respective advertising networks that you can go back to. Unfortunately, an expected consequence of online store traffic is the dreaded cart abandonment.
Here are some of the key insights for cart abandonment gathered by the people at Virtual Website Optimizer from their recent 2014 eCommerce Survey:
- “unexpected shipping cost is the biggest reason for cart abandonment among online shoppers.” (Simple fix: Addressed below with offering free shipping…)
- “having to create a new user account is the second biggest reason for cart abandonment.” (Simple fix: Allow guest checkout or social login)
- “shoppers say they will purchase products they left in their cart, if offered again at a discounted price.” (Simple fix: Offer cart abandonment emails with a dynamic discount coupon that expires certain days after their visit to prompt urgency)
- “shoppers among 25-34 age group open to retargeting via discounts.” (Simple fix: addressed above with remarketing via Google or Facebook)
4. Develop your holiday editorial calendar
As aforementioned, you will want to have dates locked down on your calendar for when to start exposing people to your upcoming offer. Along with warming up before the offer goes live, you will want the hard dates that your offer will not only be marketed, but go live on your site.
For more help with the top holiday dates and scheduling your calendar, check out ExactTarget’s 2014 Email Marketing Holiday Calendar here.
5. Go the extra mile on your holiday offer
Not only will you want to offer an exclusive, time-sensitive offer and in some cases flash sale on your site for the holiday, but you will also want to get creative and avoid the mundane percentage discount. You can offer free shipping at a certain purchase threshold with an added incentive such as free swag.
Regardless of the offer, you also want to make sure you make it easy to return items and possibly extend your return policy for items purchased within the holiday season like Best Buy.
6. Don’t forget about mobile!
Make sure everything looks good on mobile devices. We are now in the mobile-first era of online shopping. For this, you can test using your own device or devices, or utilize services like BrowserStack to test out your website on multiple devices (whether desktop or mobile) to make sure the experience is fluid and in unison across all modern-day platforms.
For those that want to check their email offers on multiple platforms we recommend the following sites for email testing:
Data provided by emarketer shows that sales volume is continuing to grow year over year thanks to mcommerce, the “always-on commerce” in your pocket. With that being understood, we can not emphasize enough that your online store and marketing messaging have to work well with desktop, tablets and mobile devices. The advent of cashless systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet will help streamline the mobile commerce experience, which will in turn make buying via mobile device more popular. So again, make sure you don’t miss the boat with your website and emails and disregard the user experience on mobile.
We hope these last minute tips will help you this holiday season on gearing up for more sales.
Best wishes on your holiday endeavors from us here at InMotion Hosting!