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Is Your Ecommerce Shop Ready for The Holidays?

As the holiday season approaches, businesses are gearing up to make the most of this lucrative time of year. With the ever-growing prominence of ecommerce, it has become essential for brands to have a solid marketing strategy in place to stand out in the crowded online marketplace.

In this guide, we will explore the latest trends, strategies, and tips to help you maximize your sales and make this holiday season your most successful yet. Whether you’re a small business owner or a seasoned marketer, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and actionable steps to boost your ecommerce sales during the holiday season of 2024.

Preparing for the Holiday Buying Season

How will the holiday season look this year compared to previous years?

Let’s take a look at some interesting consumer trends:

  • 71% of retailers reported concern about consumers cutting down on holiday spending this year due to inflation, rising interest rates, and federal student loan payments getting reinstated. (CNBC)
  • Despite this, 43% of global consumers still plan to increase their online spending in the upcoming months. (PwC)
  • Experts predict that back-to-school spending, which is historically a good indicator of how the holiday season will pan out, will reach a record high–increasing from 2022 by an average of $25 per household. (NRF)
  • Amazon Prime Day was a huge success this year, teaching us that inflation-conscious shoppers are actively seeking out the best deals and promotions. (Forbes)
  • 53% of global consumer spenders are researching more and prioritizing product quality. (Salsify)

Promotional Campaign Ideas

Create Urgency with Timely Product Specific Sales

There’s no hard fast rule anymore that all your sales need to be exclusive to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Today’s buyers now expect deals all season long. You can still create urgency as well as excitement by offering discounts on an exclusive collection of products in timely intervals, only to be replaced with a new collection. These deals can run hourly, daily, weekly. Choose whatever makes sense for your business. Target is notorious for announcing weekly promotions every November, all culminating in a blowout sale Thanksgiving weekend.

Encourage Bundles

Online shoppers are in a different state of mind during the holiday season as opposed to the rest of the year. They are searching for products for multiple people in their lives, and it’s not as simple as buying something for themselves. Give them ideas by creating bundles of similar products and market it as a present. Additionally, add a bundle option on the checkout page and encourage consumers to buy multiple items with exclusive shipping discounts.

Gift Guides

Create a dedicated landing page for those shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, and winter birthdays. Have fun with it! Don’t just curate a standard collection page, but rather get creative and make a statement that shoppers will love to use and stay engaged with your brand.

Tarte Cosmetics Holiday Gift Guide

Cross-Channel Marketing Strategies

Website

Take Stock of Inventory

Before you start any targeted campaigns, make sure you have enough products in place to fulfill the offer.

Audit each product and collection page that will be utilized in a campaign and ensure everything is up-to-date. Do the photos look okay? How does the page render on mobile? Are important incentives, like free shipping and coupon codes, highlighted properly?

Take the time to test the add-to-cart process — are there any roadblocks holding back purchases? Proactively make those optimizations now before your team is too busy to jump on fixes.

Add Promotions Wherever Possible

Treat your website as a billboard for all your promoted campaigns throughout the holiday season. Your online shop will not look the same from November-January. Shoppers are in a different state-of-mind during this time of year, make sure your brand reflects those desires.

Here’s an example of Wayfair last year. The entire real estate of its homepage is 100% dedicated to Black Friday sales.

SEO

Optimize Google Business Profile

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, don’t forget to utilize your Google Business Profile (GBP). Online searchers will reach this looking for your location, and you’ll want to make sure your hours are updated accordingly for days like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas. GBP is also a great resource to highlight customer reviews as well as the option to add seasonal promotions and coupons to your Google Posts.

Example GBP offer from Laser Clinics Australia.

Review Technical Health

If you’re not already conducting regular site health audits, you’ll want to make sure you do so before the busy season picks up. Review technical basics and make sure your site is ready for the heavy increase in traffic. Optimize for page speed, redirect broken links, and check the site’s performance on both desktop and mobile.

Perform Keyword Research

During the holiday season, shoppers are looking for one thing and one thing only: deals. Leverage this opportunity to optimize your existing landing pages and maybe even create new ones dedicated to popular keywords including “Black Friday Sales” and “Cyber Monday Deals”. We recommend using Google Trends for this type of keyword research, as it shows you what terms are searching for at different times of the year..

“black friday deals” Google searches peaked between November 20-26 in 2022.

Email Marketing

Grow Your Subscriber List Now

According to WordStream, email subscribers spend 138% more on average than non-subscribers. Put in the work now to build your subscriber list so that by the time the holiday season rolls around, you’ll have a wide loyal audience to market to.

There are a number of strategies to help get more subscribers, including adding a subscription option to your footer and checkout page. We also recommend a pop-up option that offers an exclusive discount upon sign-up.

Pop-up offer from Creative Candles

Build Up Black Friday & Cyber Monday Excitement

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are cultural moments that are top of mind for all shoppers throughout the month of November. Use this awareness to build excitement for what your brand has to offer. Update your email capture in early November to look forward to Black Friday & Cyber Monday instead of offering a 10% off discount. Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday offers should be better than your standard offer, so leverage that to capture additional emails that you can market to when those two days arrive.

Plan additional email campaigns that drive excitement and provide sneak peeks to your sale in the weeks leading up. Showcase a product or bundle and drop easter eggs throughout your lead up to the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

Add-to-Cart Abandonment

Update your abandoned cart and browse abandonment flows to highlight your sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you’re using a tool like Klaviyo, you can create universal content blocks in your flows, which can be easily updated for big sale moments like this. Just be sure to remove this highlight following Cyber Monday to save yourself from customer service tickets.

Shorten your time delay on your abandoned carts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With the purchase intent that exists on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, each abandoned cart is a missed opportunity to grow your revenue and expand your customer base. Each hour that goes by on an abandoned cart is an hour that is spent shopping elsewhere, so shorten your first abandoned cart to trigger after 30 minutes.

Post-Purchase Flows

Black Friday/Cyber Monday customers are not your normal customers.

Whether your product is a big gifting product, or you acquire new customers through discounts, be sure to treat this cohort differently. Create a unique post-purchase nurture that recognizes their motivation for purchasing. Highlight complimentary products, gift ideas for different relationships, or product bundles.

If your holiday customers are discount-motivated, be sure to include them in campaign sends when you have other sales down the road. They may not engage with your ongoing email campaigns, but odds of them engaging with a sale are good.

If your product is a gifting product, be sure to email this segment during other gifting moments throughout the year like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Graduation season.

Social Media

Sell Directly on Targeted Platforms

Most social media platforms these days offer a shopping feed that is linked directly on your profile. This now includes TikTok, who recently added a shopping option for influencers.

A study conducted by We Are Social found that over 26% of internet users ages 16-64 use social media solely to find products they can buy. Not every platform will work for your target audience, so you’ll want to conduct some further analysis to figure out where they live.

According to Pinterest, this targeted strategy drove a 120% incremental lift in store visits and generated over $2 ROAS. As a DTC home goods retailer, Pinterest is the perfect audience for Michael’s. They saw results by honing in on what works for their business instead of spreading themselves thin across
all platforms.

Schedule Posts to Highlight Promotions

If you’re not already using a social content calendar, the time is now to create one for your strategy this holiday season. Plan out content for each month well in advance, so you can strategically get your copy, images, video, etc. all set, while keeping branding consistent and your followers engaged.

Tease out promotional campaigns early and create urgency when sharing discounts and or exclusive referral codes. Utilize seasonal hashtags like #blackfridaysale or #cybermondaydiscounts to reach new potential customers as well.

Facebook Black Friday Promotion from Backyard Discovery

Paid Media

Retargeting

According to Truelist, retargeting beats all other ad placement strategies with a 1,046% efficiency rate. Proactively set up a Facebook pixel on your shop now so that you’ll be able to effectively target users who have browsed your site and/or added to cart without purchase. It is more likely that deal seekers will be comparison shopping during the holidays, so this strategy is crucial to keeping your brand top of mind.

Optimize Google Ads Copy

Plan your paid ad strategy in advance and increase click-through-rates by highlighting special discounts and offers in both your Headlines and Descriptions. If you created a promotional landing page, like a gift guide, add this to your Site Links.

Ecommerce Marketing
Holiday Checklist

The key to a successful Q4 is in the planning.

Follow this checklist to get you on the path to maximizing your revenue and avoiding last-minute rush.

September

  • Decide on your merchandising strategy
  • Decide on your offer/promotion
  • Create a gift guide
  • Outline your promo distribution plan:
    • Email Schedule (Pro tip: increase send volume to 1.5x – 2x from Nov. 1 – Cyber Monday)
    • Social Calendar
    • Web Banners
    • Ads
    • Videos
    • Paid Media
  • Design your landing page
  • Audit your website technical health and make adjustments
  • Capture content to support the distribution plan
  • Set coupon codes and schedule

October

  • Update an email capture to highlight holiday deals
  • Design assets outlined in the distribution plan
  • Establish an influencer and/or referral strategy
  • Launch your gift guide
  • Launch distribution plan
  • Ensure customer service is set up for success

November

  • Set up “Back-in-Stock” notification app for your store
  • Daily social monitoring and engagement
  • Boost product-focused social posts
  • Update your abandoned cart and product abadonment email flows
  • Launch custom post-purchase flows for holiday purchases

December

  • Push slow moving products with deeper discounts or bundling
  • Send “Order Before [date] to receive by Christmas” notification

Start preparing now for the most wonderful time of the year.

By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, businesses can confidently navigate the challenges of the digital landscape and achieve remarkable results. So, gear up, plan ahead, and make the most of the holiday season with a well-crafted marketing strategy.

LimeLight Marketing helps a wide range of DTC ecommerce businesses with cross-channel holiday marketing strategies. Looking for assistance?

Holiday ecommerce shopping