Last modified: January 22, 2018
With the dog days of summer in full swing, thoughts of winter and Christmas are likely far from mind, but starting your ecommerce holiday planning now will ensure a season of successful selling.
The National Retail Federation reported that 2015 online holiday sales grew 9% over 2014 numbers, and Cyber Monday sales are now outpacing Black Friday. This growth of online shopping provides a great opportunity for savvy retailers to capitalize on the volume of consumers looking to kick-start their holiday buying on one of the biggest shopping weeks of the year.
Following are tips on what planning can be done now, to ensure a successful holiday season.
Make a Plan
Start by creating a plan that includes a calendar to track sales and marketing initiatives, and outlines goals for the upcoming holiday season. Having a plan in place well in advance of the holiday hubbub will ensure you stay on track and don’t miss opportunities. The calendar should include dates for blog posts, emails, the launch of ad campaigns and email newsletters, as well as promotional strategies.
If you sell internationally, it is essential to consider global nuances for your holiday planning. For example, in China the single biggest online shopping day happens two weeks before Black Friday, when – based off last year’s numbers – Chinese shoppers spend a staggering $14.3 billion on Singles Day. These numbers have created an even bigger spotlight on global ecommerce and the importance of cross-border selling. It is essential to make sure your holiday strategy is prepared to handle the complexity of selling online in international markets.
Discounts and Sales
Holiday shopping is all about the sales. Shoppers often seek the best deals, particularly online shoppers who can conduct research from the comfort of their home. Now is the time to determine what discounts and sales to offer throughout the season.
Ensuring consumers can easily find promotions and discounts is critical for converting deal seekers into buyers. According to a recent report from Bizrate Insights, “When seeking out special deals, 38% of holiday shoppers sign up for a retailer’s newsletter, and 35% search on the retailer’s website for discounts or coupons.” Retailers must make sure promotions are easily discoverable throughout their site and through the on-site search function.
Promote Through Social Media
Ignoring your digital audience by not fully utilizing social media does your brand a disservice. Sharing holiday promotions on social media is a great way to reach a wider audience and target shoppers who are specifically interested in the products you sell. Brands should create holiday-themed coupons and consider adding paid promotions to target customers who might be interested in your products.
Update Your SEO
Ensure the right people will find your products by giving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) some attention. Update product descriptions, landing pages, email campaigns and other SEO influencers to match search terms your customers are likely to use. Use words related to your industry and products. Including words like seasonal, holiday, savings, Christmas, Black Friday and gifts also can increase the likelihood of ranking for people specifically looking for your product as part of their holiday shopping.
Additionally, search engines measure a site’s strength based on the number of times content is shared, tweeted, liked, and posted in social media, and how connected each page is through linking to another page on the same site or a third-party site. Including social sharing buttons throughout your site and adding internal linking is a great way to increase SEO.
Site Design and Functionality
It’s important to choose an ecommerce provider that is focused specifically on helping you drive ecommerce conversions. Consumers expect shopping carts to load fast and are often not patient in the event of slowdowns and malfunctions. Last year, online traffic peaked on Cyber Monday with a weekend high of 23.5 million page views per minute at 9 p.m. EST. Retailers must be able to withstand an influx of traffic, while not impeding on the overall shopping experience. Additionally, to convert sales, the shopping cart experience should be straightforward and simple; nothing should stand in the way of making a sale.
Let MyCommerce help you set up a high-performing ecommerce solution for the holiday season, and start selling digital products right away.