One-month countdown: Preparing your e-commerce store and campaigns for Christmas
NOVEMBER 25, 2022 | USE CASES
Economic indicators and the social environment are sending mixed signals about consumers’ willingness to open their pocketbooks on e-commerce sites this holiday season.
Many Americans bulked up their savings during the Covid-19 pandemic and have demonstrated a willingness to spend now that the worst seems to be over. Still, many jobs remain unfilled, and the fallout from the recent mid-term election is just beginning to settle. Despite a resurgence of the U.S. stock market, inflation continues to menace.
So, it’s little wonder that predictions about the e-commerce Christmas are all over the map, from everything we’ve ever wanted to a lump of coal. Insider Intelligence projects visions of sugar plums, anticipating e-commerce sales will climb 12 percent over 2021, in line with steady increases over the last seven (discounting the Covid-induced 38 percent bounce in 2020). Digital Commerce 360, on the other hands, paints consumers as Scrooge, committing to a miserly 6.1 percent increase in purchases over last year, as “shoppers expect deeper discounts and will rely more on comparison shopping and price matching.”
Even with 37 percent of American households telling Deloitte they are worse off this year than last, they make celebrating the season a priority. They say they are willing to cut back in other areas in order to keep Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa festive. Still, higher prices will have an effect. Shoppers say they’ll buy fewer gifts this year, which places a premium on sites making the most of the e-commerce Christmas shopping season – from now until the “get it by December 24” shipping window closes.
E-commerce Christmas campaign ideas
So, it really doesn’t matter how the economy and shoppers’ attitude affect the outlook for e-commerce sites. You only care about attracting your share of the 59 percent of the Santa Clauses who plan to purchase their gifts online and maximizing your revenue and profits during this busiest time of year. Strategizing and implementing a comprehensive schedule of Christmas promotion ideas will keep the season green through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond. In addition to the holiday time-specific advice, e-commerce, pre-Advent season is the perfect time for sites to ensure their house is in order and ready to deliver the exceptional customer service that online shoppers demand. Sharpen your site’s core web vital signs; check that it is able to seamlessly accommodate visitors who access it through mobile devices; optimize your inventory to avoid stockouts and minimize carrying costs.
With these every day issues wrapped up, let’s proceed to the proven Christmas campaign ideas you can employ to make the most of the season that account for as much as 25 percent of some e-commerce site owners’ annual revenue.
Deck the halls – decorating your site
Just like physical stores, you want to create a winter wonderland for site visitors. Selling is all about appealing to consumers’ emotions, so match your storefront décor to the products you sell and the mood you want to evoke. Consider adjusting your brand colors to reflect the season – red, green, silver, gold, and blue are popular choices. And use multiple bold photos and graphic images that help visitors remember the season– faith, family, friends, fun, wonder, imagination, innocence – whatever is appropriate for your product line.
Help visitors with their gift selection. Many have little inkling about what to buy for their close family members, let alone their bosses, assistants, clients, and great aunts whose names they draw in Secret Santa. Again, with an eye towards the products you want to feature, develop a top 20 list of gifts based on type (clothes, electronics); budget (luxury, under $50); recipients (finicky moms, the reader in the family, sports enthusiasts; the possibilities are endless).
Include supplemental content on product and roundup pages. These include customer reviews, unboxing videos, and photos of happy recipients wearing or using the gift. Increase order value by suggesting supplemental items or “customers also bought” features. Themed popups can spread Christmas joy by immersing site browsers in an environment that induces purchases. Use popups to promote site-wide sales, deals of the day (incorporate this into a “countdown to Christmas” for added impact), product bundles, and other holiday-themed money-saving promotions.
Bundling supercharges your recommendations by not merely suggesting products to augment already-carted products but offering them as a package deal and discounting the price accordingly. Bundles are a great way to increase order value and encourage shoppers to buy more so they can create gift baskets or wrap each component separately to extend the Christmas morning anticipation.
Speaking of bundling, parents buying a laptop for their college-bound daughter will appreciate your offer to sell them a wrist rest and heavy-duty protective case, as well. A plastic model kit is incomplete without glue, paint, and dozens of other tools, and the local hobby shop is closed on Christmas.
Bundles also help buyers reach your free shipping threshold, if you offer one for orders that exceed a certain amount. Offering volume at a discount engenders loyalty that translates to customers’ lifetime value extending throughout the year and into next year’s holiday season.
These e-commerce Christmas campaign ideas for filtering gift suggestions based on the gift recipient’s relationship to the giver or his/her preferences personality relieves buyer anxiety and makes their holiday shopping more efficient. They won’t waste time scrolling through products their loved ones can’t use but rather concentrate their efforts on age-, gender-, and interest-appropriate possibilities. That keeps them interested on on-site until they complete their purchases.
Home (page) for the holidays – maximizing organic traffic
Christmas campaign ideas that generate organic traffic may be the most valuable, as they attract potential customers without incurring any upfront costs. Holiday shoppers who drop by on their own volition require less convincing than paid traffic.
They come not to merely browse, but to willingly part with their money in exchange for gifts that will bring joy to their friends and family. Personalized emails, entertaining blogs, and best SEO practices place e-commerce sites at top-of-mind of pre-qualified prospects that are critical for a profitable Christmas.
But just because organic traffic is free in terms of marketing costs, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to put in some effort to acquire it. Optimizing your storefront and products for Google search requires you to research the keywords that are resonating this holiday period and incorporating them into your project categories, and product descriptions. Think in terms of phrases your customers will enter – “gifts for mom,” “presents for teenagers,” “stocking stuffers,” “last-minute gifts,” “tech gifts,” and the like.
Conducting a bit of research will tell you the best times to engage with your target market and previous customers. Find out when they’re online and actively engaged in Christmas shopping. Then engage them with interesting content in the places they gather.
Tell stories about people just like them who found the perfect present on your site. This creates FOMO – the fear of missing out or being left behind as gift-giving trends gather steam. Holiday shoppers trust the opinions of others – not only recognized influencers but also friends and even strangers in similar circumstances – over their own judgment. Testimonials, positive product reviews, and upward purchase trends spur shoppers to put items in cards and check out before it’s too late.
Customers who volunteer how your products’ greatness, your services’ value, and your site’s indispensability are resources worth leveraging. User-generated content is a believable endorsement worth much more than any slick marketing message you could produce and pay for. As The Drum notes, “Receiving user generated content from your customers provide(s) imagery for you to use in your feed, but it also doubles up as social proof for your potential customers. It gives your customer the power to help establish the trust and reputation of a brand, thus influencing others to follow suit.”
The key is to prepare user-generated social images, videos, and text into shoppable content by adding actionable sales portals inside content. This enables direct purchases from digital assets posted on social media – posts, images, and video, as well as ads. Shoppable content helps consumers skip many steps in traditional funnel marketing. They can jump from interested bystander to loyal customer through the influence of the story e-commerce sites tell on the platforms their customers frequent.
Silver and gold – paid promotions
Many e-commerce sites rely on the Christmas season for the bulk of their revenues. They don’t call it Black Friday for nothing. With so much on the line, online sellers cannot afford to skimp on their marketing budget. On the other hand, you can’t afford to just throw money at the problem and expect everything to work out. Set a budget. The right amount for your company depends on 1,000 variables. If you haven’t crunched the numbers by now, just pick one 15 percent of last year’s Christmas sales is a good starting point.
Next, pick out the platforms, media, and channels where you’ll spend it, and how much to assign to each:
Pay per click – Everybody and their brother will be hunting for gifts in the online haystack this winter, and few will dig past the first page of search results. Unless your store is a household name, you’re the proverbial needle. You need to literally rise to the top of the heap to increase your odds of being found, and that means greasing Google’s palm. Remember to optimize your ads with Christmas campaign with seasonal keywords like “festive,” “under the tree,” and “stocking stuffers.” Ad extensions give you a few more lines of text to accommodate extra sales phrases. Don’t be afraid to experiment with automatic and manual strategies and keyword variations but keep an eye on your PPC performance as the season progresses. Google’s Auction Insights Report and keyword rankings. Go with what works and ruthlessly redeploy budget away from what doesn’t. It’s better to win auctions for a few keywords than to lose on a bunch of them because you spread your budget too thin.
Social media – Christmas is a time to connect with old friends and far-flung relatives. Christmas promotional ideas for social media include should help users solve a problem such as buying for a finicky loved one, avoiding high shipping charges, or bring a little joy to someone having a tough time. Be sure to establish a strong presence with multimedia appeal, photos, merry graphics, unboxing and how-to videos. Social-focused Christmas campaigns are not exclusively for marketing. Sales play a big part in ensuring a happy e-commerce Christmas. “Buy now” buttons on branded content help companies cut right the chase with committed consumers. Use them in conjunction with flash sales and other limited-time offers to apply subtle pressure on hesitant gift-givers
Retargeting – Abandoned carts are the bane of e-commerce, with Bayard Institute reporting a staggering 70 percent abandonment rate. That’s especially devastating for e-commerce Christmas retailers, because a purchase intended for someone else may never be reclaimed once the season ends. Customers often fill their baskets before moving on to other sites to see if they can find a better deal. If they do, they won’t be coming back. But if they have abandoned their cart for some other reason – forgetfulness or a lack of ready cash to consummate the purchase, retargeting is a strategy worth pursuing. For every percent you can decrease abandonment, you boost sales revenue by an average of more than 3 percent, says MotoCMS. More than a quarter of shoppers who see a retargeting ad return to the website that sent it. Social media is a great place to confront gift givers who maroon their presents on your site. It’s here that they are most likely to be receptive to launching a rescue mission, especially if you sweeten the pot with extra discounts, a freebie, or expedited delivery.
A mince pie of earned, paid, and owned media coverage gives e-commerce companies a winning combination of Christmas promotion ideas. Whichever way you slice your holiday marketing budget, be sure to make the most of each platform’s strengths. Personalize your PPC ads; localize web search; custom-decorate your landing pages.
Finally, keep your house in order. Make sure you have the bandwidth to accommodate the flood of traffic your e-commerce Christmas marketing strategies will deliver to your site. Too much of a lag in loading will send customers packing. Ads and promotions trumpeting products that are sold out on your site frustrate buyers and cost you money. Automate your feed to hide out-of-stock merchandise and push slow-moving stock.
Forget sugarplums. Incorporate these Christmas promotional ideas, and you’ll soon be dazzled by visions of dollar signs dancing in your head.
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