As the post Black Friday mayhem begins to settle, it’s time to reflect on what many e-commerce advertisers consider one of the most stressful events on the annual calendar. A time where e-comm business’ receive a bounty of interest, offering abundant sales opportunities and left with large amounts of data for your insights teams to untangle.
Don’t get too comfortable though. As the dust settles it’s now time to use this valuable downtime to ensure you’re firing on all cylinders and well prepared for the Christmas Holiday season.
Despite the well documented and unwanted rising inflation levels moving faster than UK growth rates in Avg. weekly earnings, UK retailers expect to see a sales increase of approximately 5% year on year resulting in an astronomical £78.7 billion in total holiday sales for 2017.
So what can e-comm retailers do to make the most of this estimated and unprecedented surge of seasonal interest? Here’s our top 10 list:
1. Get visual
Work harder to polish your visual game. It’s time to stand out with Christmas themed creative, eye catching colour palettes and content that spin a healthy dose of Christmas spirit. Let your prospective customers know that you’ve come prepared and that you have something suited to their gifting needs. Be vibrant, be festive and aim to build excitement about your gifting opportunities.
2. Offer value above your normal activity
With building competition across the retail world it’s important to add that special touch to stand out. Aim to make the transaction more desirable to your potential buyers, highlight what it is exactly that you’re offering over and above your usual service. Consider using promotions, Christmas bundles and options for gift wrapping to make the purchase feel more exclusive with a time saving element. Remember, Christmas is a busy time for most and offering a little something to save time is a big help. This also presents a great opportunity to stretch your average order value (AOV). Be sure to highlight Ts&Cs, estimated delivery times and returns & exchange information to boost purchase confidence.
3. Boost LTV with remarketing
New customer acquisition is the holy grail in a fiercely competitive retail market and will always be high up on an e-comm managers’ marketing agenda, but don’t forget to harvest the low hanging fruit. Existing customers are already bought into your product and will take less convincing than a new prospect. Take advantage of your customer database by remarketing to users you already have an existing relationship with. Take things a step further by personalising your messaging in ads and landing page copy according to a customers purchase history or even to just acknowledge that they are, in fact, a returning and valued customer.
4. Create an optimised purchase journey
Use your conversion rate optimisation (CRO) findings throughout the year to create an easy path to purchase. Multivariate testing over time will reveal what kind of language, call-to-actions, colours, promotions and purchase steps users show a stronger tendency to transact through. Applying these CRO opportunities could see conversion rates soar!
5. Don’t forget customer service
The busy period is likely to put additional strain on all departments of your business. Don’t risk falling at the last hurdle – make sure your customer services team & social/community managers are responsive and prompt with communications. Consumers often just like the personal touch and the added confidence to buy. Don’t let your hard marketing efforts go to waste by not being ready to deal with the increased demand. Consider implementing chat bots across social during out of hours, and setting clear expectations based on when customers will be contacted back across all contact methods.
6. Be consistent cross-channel
Resonate with prospects by creating a harmonious cross-channel experience. Be consistent with messaging, creative & offers to produce optimal retention and so prospects have multiple opportunities to connect what they’re seeing with your brand for maximum brand exposure.
7. Relax budgets
You’ve most likely done your due-diligence on this and are already working to a meticulously detailed forecast, however if this is your first time running paid marketing activities for example, then it’s always recommended that you’ve researched consumer trends and competitor activities for this time of year. This will likely give an indication of what budget is required to remain visible and competitive throughout a busy period. Strangling budget at this time of year could result in missed sales revenue opportunities.
8. Test prospecting methods
There’s no better time of year to appeal to potential buyers. The Christmas gift buying season can leave consumers panic stricken with the daunting task of find the perfect gift. This is a perfect time to delight these anxious shoppers with a gift that might just save their bacon. Leverage your consumer insights data and buyer personas to test paid activities such as interest, in-market segments and similar audiences across search, display and social channels, adding breadth to your seasonal campaign. Why not consider adding another dimension by pushing users that engage/interact onto your remarketing lists? These lists can then be used to reach pre-qualified prospects cross-channel.
9. Be reactive
Have your analysts run regular reports to pick out under performing or top performing products, categories, campaigns, keywords & creative. Losses can can be limited if KPIs are well defined and measurements such as conversion/goal tracking and custom funnels are in place. The suggestion here is not to knee-jerk at the first sign of poor performance – give your marketing activities ample time to spool up and provide conclusive results, and only make adjustments when activities continuously offend.
10. Document your findings
The seasonal spike will provide a wealth of new data. Don’t forget to review activity in detail and communicate specific successes and failures to the wider team. Document these insights and share with team members so they can apply findings to develop new activities and improve results for the next period.