If your business sells products or services online, chances are that the holidays are your favorite time of year for more than one reason. Holiday eCommerce sales have grown exponentially over the past few years, and eCommerce sales are slated to grow by 10 percenteven over 2016’s aggressive growth rate. Unfortunately for you, every other marketer is also targeting your customers during this free-for-all of spending that begins the last week of November and floats through Cyber Monday and into another high purchase date: Green Monday, on December 11. You’ll be fighting it out with the big boys for share of ad space, which can mean increased costs and reduced reach for your ads. All these factors coming in play means you need to shift your eCommerce strategies if you want to drive more holiday sales while keeping costs in line.
Make it Mobile
In 2016, mobile commerce still played a relatively modest role in digital shopping, but the outlook is set to change dramatically for the 2017 holiday season. With adoption of smart phones by adults in the U.S. above 90 percent, Shopify is predicting that more than 40 percent of consumers will make a purchase from their phone. What does this mean for retailers? Hyper-localization of advertising and a fully-optimized mobile presence are critical to snagging those additional dollars. If attempting to make a purchase from your site on a smart phone gives you the hives, it’s time to start making some immediate changes if you want to be ready for the upcoming prime selling season.
Social media explodes during the holidays, as visitors get out of their house and enjoy the brisk weather and beautiful holiday decorations with their friends. What do people do when they’re in a new location or grabbing a bite? Selfies, of course! Creating fun and engaging frames and filters for SnapChat, Facebook and Instagram is a great way to spread awareness and positivity about your brand without spending a ton of cash. Of course, you won’t want to be overly promotional with your spot, but try to find a clever tie-in to your brand that will encourage users to share and actively engage.
Whether your visitors are checking out from a desktop, tablet, mobile phone or in the store, you need to aggressively trim the number of steps required to make their purchase — removing every possible barrier and rubbing out friction points. It’s too easy for buyers to look elsewhere for commodity products, and the last thing you want is for your competitor to make a sale because your checkout process was too hairy. Test rigorously, and be sure your digital infrastructure is scaled to meet the added demand of site visitors and load on your other critical systems, too. Finally, ensure your security certificates and domain registration are up-to-date! Nothing is more embarrassing than suddenly losing your domain. Ask Marketo.
Rigorously Review Metrics
With the cost of advertising skyrocketing and the fight for reach in full force, eCommerce marketers have to be uber-careful to keep a handle on ad spend. Active management of your advertising campaigns is critical during this time of year, as you can easily spend through a modest budget in a few days — even if you expected it to last much longer — due to the elevated costs. Adding sitelink and review ad extensions provide you with additional real estate on search engines, and may help differentiate you from the competition. Review your sales funnel to be sure you’re optimizing for conversions first.
Don’t spend the holidays out in the cold! Create a comprehensive strategy for holiday eCommerce sales that leverages your business strengths.