It’s no secret that the holidays are an important time of year in eCommerce. Revenue potential goes up, spending habits shift, and merchants often generate a significant portion of their annual revenue in less than two months.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers spent $691.9 billion during the 2017 holiday season - a number they’re projecting to top $720 billion this year. And, nearly 30% of that is expected to happen online, according to First Data.
Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are nearly over, there are still plenty of opportunities to cash in on holiday shoppers through the end of the year. For a full list of quickly approaching, noteworthy dates, check out the BVAccel 2018 eCommerce Holiday Marketing Calendar.
Holiday Tips & Tricks
To help you make some last minute updates to your eCommerce storefront just in time for the year-end holidays, we’ve put together a list of tactics with a proven track record of success.
Gift Guides: Did you know that 84% of consumers state that gift giving causes stress? One way to alleviate some of this stress is to help your customers identify products and make decisions this holiday season using gift guides. But don’t just feature your favorite products in your holiday gift guide; use data to target products that are currently popular or that were popular last holiday season with certain customer segments. Generate reports on the top sellers in various categories and try to find items that would make good gifts. It’s also important to include a good mix of products in your gift guide so that it appeals to a broad range of consumers. You don’t have just one type of customer, so your holiday gift guide should reflect that. When designing your gift guide, focus on curating an experience that submerges the reader in your content. Try segmenting your gift guide(s) by age, gender, or price point.
Countdown Timer: A little time-based pressure never hurt anyone, right? Urgency is one of the core psychological levers that marketers use to make more sales. You can create a sense of urgency by using a countdown timer that encourages a purchase before an offer expires.
You can also use holiday countdown timers in emails to promote deals, to warn consumers of the order deadline to get gifts on time, and on-site to drive more email sign-ups.
Since you will likely experience an increase in traffic during the holidays, why not make a push to collect email addresses so that you can continue to market your products throughout the year? For example, consider labeling your email capture form with this headline, “Sign-up for our newsletter within 5 minutes for 10% off.”
Aside from helping you increase profits this holiday season, these countdown timers are actually very helpful for your customers by providing information about important dates they need to be aware of around the holidays.
Holiday Packaging:Holiday packaging can help you effectively merchandise your products and increase average order value (AOV). Did you know that 59% of shoppers under 45 prioritize sleek and chic packaging as their number one selling point? And, since shoppers are more likely to recommend products they like to friends and followers on social media, you’ll want your packaging to be social-ready this holiday season.
Another benefit of gift packaging is the ability to effectively merchandise your products and increase your AOV by creating gift packages with multiple products. In fact, you have probably experienced this yourself when you’ve visited a department store to buy cologne or perfume during the holidays.
Have you noticed that there is usually an irresistibly packaged gift box nearby that includes your scent, plus a few other products at a discount? You already spend extra advertising dollars to get consumers to your eCommerce store during the holidays, so increasing AOV is especially important.
Custom Discount Cart Scripting:Discounts in a guest’s shopping cart should reflect the offer that has been advertised before they arrive, and can be used to create a sense of scarcity around your products. For example, choose a popular, low-priced product and tell your guests that because of high-demand, they can only buy a maximum of six (or any quantity). This encourages consumers to consider buying multiples when they may not have thought of it before. You should allow guests to layer up to two discounts within your shopping cart; most companies only allow one discount per order for fear of over-discounting. However, when guests can add multiple discounts to their cart, they think they are ”tricking” your website in some way, which makes them more likely to purchase. There are tons of discounting styles you can offer over the holidays, but one of the most important things you can do is make sure your cart scripting is properly deployed in order to avoid customer service calls during peak holiday sales.
Gift Cards: According to the National Retail Federation, 89% of shoppers have purchased at least one plastic gift card in the last year, and 71% of these shoppers have purchased one or more egift cards.
In order to make the most of your gift card sales, you need to ensure you have full functionality on your site to satisfy the needs of your gift card purchasers. Your guests will require delivery in minutes, delivery notification, and the ability to include a digital greeting card.
There are a few ways you can effectively merchandise gift cards throughout your site. One way is to add them to the end of your gift guide. If a guest didn't find what they were looking for even with your gift guide help, they may feel doomed and opt for the easy, safe option.You can also test giving a small gift card with a holiday purchase. Not only does this make an initial purchase more inviting, but it is also a tried and true way to get guests to make a subsequent purchase on your site. If a guest visited your site the first time to buy a gift for a friend, they are much more likely to return and explore the site for their own needs if they have a little incentive to do so.
The most important thing you can do this year is help your customers find the perfect gift for their loved ones. Testing out a few of the above eCommerce tactics will help you on this mission, and if you can find a way to help deliver the perfect gift in a festive way, you will very likely see great success this holiday season. Good luck, and happy holidays!
Sally Kay, Senior eCommerce Strategist at BVAccel
About BVAccel: Brand Value Accelerator (BVAccel), one of the fastest growing Shopify Plus partner agencies worldwide, is a new breed of end-to-end commerce consultancy that exists to drive meaningful results for digital brands. BVAccel is headquartered in San Diego, CA with additional offices in Columbus, OH, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, and Tijuana, Mexico. For more information, visit https://www.bvaccel.com.