How to boost your eCommerce sales during the holiday season

December 6, 2018

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone.

Shopify’s eCommerce sales numbers for this year demolished all records to date, including $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving, $6.2 billion on Black Friday, and $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday.

Whew! You did it. Your company poured all this time and effort into pushing the biggest shopping week of the year, and now you’re probably thinking of pouring yourself a drink to celebrate.

But don’t raise your glass of eggnog just yet.

How will you get the most out of the work you’ve already done? How will you keep the momentum going during the holiday season and until the new year?

We’re excited to share strategies to help you keep that eCommerce momentum going!

Dashing through the social snow

Retargeting your current and new customers is where you're extracting the most value. They have a budget, and your job is to convince them to spend it with you.

Facebook Dynamic Ads are certainly your best option for customers who abandoned their shopping carts, or viewed products but didn’t add them to their cart.

As long as your Pixel is in place, you can still set up regular remarketing campaigns for users from the past thirty days. We frequently run campaigns like this for our clients, and it’s best to only target non-converters.

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You might also consider seeking out existing customers if there's an additional deal outside of your standard holiday promotions. But overall, keep the focus on traffic already driven to your site, and people who haven’t become customers yet.

All I want for Christmas is more sales

Remember, what brought customers to your brand in the first place was a deal. Offer them further incentives! A common one is free shipping, particularly for brands who prefer not to discount.

If you do choose to discount using the standard store-wide discount, aim for nothing less than twenty percent off. It's been statistically shown as the average sale discount, which will keep you on par with your competitors. 

To execute those promos, check out Bold Discounts. It’s an easy way to run timed sales (including daily deals and store-wide sales) with a single click.

The best part is, no coupon codes are required. You can run timed sales and put your whole store, a group of products, or a few hand-selected items on sale for a predetermined amount of time.

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From a strategic perspective, effective holiday discounting requires looking at your data from Black Friday and Cyber Monday and finding the right break-even point.

You have to take into account key metrics like Average Order Value and Conversion Rate to see precisely how much of a discount your company can afford to offer. But it’s worth doing some math to make more sales.

The ability to create urgency by displaying a fully-customizable, live countdown timer on every item on your store is a great way to trigger customers’ sense of urgency, drive sales, and keep the momentum going.

Another tactic worth trying is taking a more layered funnel approach.

During the holidays, you’re going to get a lot of people on your store you've never gotten before. They might be a bit less qualified than your typical site visitors, as they’re just browsing to check out a deal.

If that’s the case, you might start with a video ad, do site retargeting based on views, then drive them back to your site to ultimately purchase.

Facebook’s most recent research shows that marketers who use video marketing grow their revenue 49% faster than non-video users. For new customers, this approach could be more effective than a one-off transactional ad.

Have a holly jolly search engine

Google’s Retail Holiday Guide reminds online merchants that there’s no time better than the holidays to remind your customers of your brand when they’re about to make a purchase.

If you want to build a plan to connect with your existing loyal customers who are looking to buy, executing a smart keyword strategy is essential! It’s how you help customers continue their purchase.

For example, 'gifting' keywords are hugely popular this time of year.

If you’re going to double down on 'gifting' keywords, and also promote gift guides in your ads, it’s imperative that you have a fully optimized gift landing page, gift guide, or other assets to monetize holiday traffic.

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Your store won’t get any traction with gifting keywords alone if your landing page isn’t optimized! The last thing you want customers to think when they get to your landing page is, “Okay, now what?”

It’s beginning to look a lot like email

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales can represent nearly twenty percent of total retail industry sales.

So, you'll want to target customers who have thought about your brand, those who have purchased, and those that haven't. It’s an opportune time to go all in, because the time and monetary investment to acquire customers will pay off, since now is the time people are actually spending money.

First, start with segments of people who opened the holiday promo emails but didn’t visit the site. Next, target people who visited the site to view the promo but didn’t purchase. Third, send a message with themes like, “In case you missed…” and give people the same code from the holiday itself, even a week or two past the date.

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Lifetime value

One concern brands often have is that during the holiday, their amazing offers and promos are acquiring low-customer-lifetime-value customers. This may be the case, but don’t forget, people don’t just buy for themselves. Someone may buy a certain product for themselves as a gift, but love the product so much that they buy another one for others.

For brands, customer lifetime value rises significantly from one-to-multiple purchases, so you want to use email marketing to strike while the iron is hot. If you’ve already paid for traffic to your site, the most logical strategy is to get those customers back with email campaigns.

Loyalty programs

Next, let’s talk about how your brand can use email marketing to make the most of your loyalty program. When a user purchases for the first time during the holidays, this is the perfect time to invite them to join your loyalty program!

You can introduce customers to your loyalty program in a few ways.

First is through a post-purchase email (i.e. “Join our program!”). Another option is to wait until after the holidays are over, using your loyalty program as an incentive to welcome shoppers back to your store. This helps solve the question that many of our Fortune 500 clients are often asking: What’s the distance between orders?

Loyalty programs via email marketing can help you reduce that purchasing time from, say, 120 days to 90 days, which nets out to one additional order per year.

With Bold Loyalty Points, you can send beautiful branded emails to promote your program to your customers, encouraging them to return and take advantage of their earned points.

Emails can be triggered by new sign-ups, points earned, retroactive points awarded, and rewards claimed.

Rocking around the subscription tree

Here’s the thing about keeping new subscribers after the holidays and beyond: It’s more of a data question than a marketing one. In our experience, for subscription commerce brands, the most effective strategy is to identify churn signals.

It’s smart to know why customers stick around, but it’s also key to know why they might leave. Some of those signals might be a sudden drop in email open rate or limited website visits.

But the good news about the holiday season is, you can utilize this time period to gather massive amounts of data from your increased traffic, giving you a bigger picture of your customer habits.

With that new customer intelligence, you will have more data points and statistical significance to be able to predict when a customer might be a churn risk, and then modify your digital marketing efforts respectively. As we love to joke internally at our agency, “cohort the hell out of it!”

This data can later be utilized for retention marketing. A lot of customers auto-renew, so focus your efforts on acquiring subscription customers. Once they are loyal customers, simply reward them by keeping them in the loop about your business, upcoming promotions, and invite them to join you on social media.

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And of course, make it as easy for them as possible to control their subscriptions.

Bold Subscriptions comes to mind, which has a powerful cancellation prevention program. It’s a cool way to use conditional logic to create custom cancellation flows.

This automation will help you retain subscribers by offering incentives to customers to stay subscribed. The best part is, this tool puts the customers in total control, with flexible billing, product swapping, convertible subscriptions, and more. Whatever reason a customer might have for cancelling, this tool will help overcome those objections.

Final takeaway

Remember, just because Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, doesn’t mean you can’t keep your eCommerce momentum going. With these performance marketing strategies, your brand will be sure to surpass your revenue goals for the year and hit the ground running January 1st.

Have you ramped up in December to achieve amazing results post-holiday? Let us know in the comments below what strategies you tried!

 

Guest post: Scott Ginsberg

Written by Guest post: Scott Ginsberg

Scott Ginsberg is the Head of Content at Metric Digital, a New York based performance marketing agency that is the growth engine behind many of the world’s top disruptive direct to consumer brands.

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