In the heat of summer, the holiday shopping season can feel like it’s a long way away. Experienced e-commerce merchants know better. Simply put, capitalizing on the holiday season requires a lot of effort, and a lot of advanced planning. If you want to meet those seasonal quotas, you’ll want to start strategizing right away.
So, what steps can you take right now to position your e-commerce brand for seasonal success?
1) Develop a seasonal sales plan.
First and foremost, you’ll want to create a basic plan. What are your goals for holiday sales? And, what are some specific sales, promotions, or deals that you want to offer your customers in order to help you achieve those goals? Start finalizing sales and specials now.
2) Start developing seasonal graphics.
To help your customers get into the holiday spirit, you may wish to develop some special graphics to use on your homepage and on social media. Developing these graphics may take a little time, so don’t wait until the last minute! Start generating your marketing collateral today.
3) Identify top sellers.
Hopefully, you have some data available to show you which products were your bestsellers during last year’s holiday shopping season (and in the weeks leading up to the holiday shopping season). Since these are items you know to be popular among seasonal shoppers, plan to showcase or highlight them again this year. (You may also wish to spotlight some of these items in your sales and promotional deals.)
4) Consider gift cards.
Do you provide gift cards to your e-commerce store? Creative gift card ideas tend to be popular around the holiday seasons, so if you don’t already offer them, you may wish to consider launching and highlighting them for Christmas shoppers.
5) Plan gift sets and bundles.
One of the best ways for you to upsell is to bundle items that go well together naturally; for example, you might offer an incentive to buy a sweatshirt and a toboggan together, perhaps branding it as a “winter wear” pack.
6) Plan an email marketing campaign.
Email marketing is one of the best ways to drum up interest in seasonal sales. Start drafting a string of emails right now, including some teasers, deal/promo announcements, follow-ups, “last chance to get it before Christmas” emails, and so forth. Abandoned cart emails can also be effective.
7) Start thinking about remarketing.
During the holidays, one of the most effective forms of marketing tends to be remarketing. This will allow you to keep your e-commerce brand top-of-mind among those who visit the site without completing a purchase. You can also use remarketing to reach out to customers who select a product, then abandon their cart. Again, developing a good remarketing plan can take some time, so we’d recommend that you begin the planning process now.
8) Create gift guides.
Another way to upsell during the holiday season is to create gift guides. These may be blog posts, infographics, or special product category pages on your website, where you can put together items that are similar in price, in style. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to find the perfect gifts for their friends and loved ones.
9) Design posts for Instagram.
You’ll want to leverage the powers of social commerce to hit your holiday sales goals. Start by putting together some Instagram posts that you can use to drive traffic to your e-commerce platform.
10) Make sure your website is ready.
During the stressful holiday shopping season, the last thing you want is for your customers to have a difficult time completing their orders. Be sure your website is optimized to provide a positive user experience. Test and verify that it’s optimized for mobile use, that it loads quickly, that there are no broken links, and that there are clear calls to action throughout your copy.
Mark Kapczynski is the Chief Marketing Officer of Gooten, a globally distributed company that operates a smart supply chain for brands and retailers that are looking to utilize print on-demand manufacturing to transform the way they do business.
Holiday stock photo by f o g a a s/Shutterstock