“Holiday Shopping Season”, people around the world say, “This is the most wonderful time of the year”, but for brands and retail marketing teams, it seems to be the busiest time of the year.
Being an online merchant, you have to think about the upcoming shopping seasons months in advance. But if you’re not quite ready to go through right this very second, then Landofcoder has a handy checklist Holiday Shopping Season to help you come up with marketing ideas and boost sales instantly.
Table of Contents
A. Prepare for the early birds sweeping your store:
1. Build an early plan for customers who are searching for deals
The holiday shopping season is coming right at the corner, the time that shopaholics are waiting for. Those who have prepared the first half of 2020 for these events even already write down their purchasing list and start researching on which and where to spend money. They are called “Early Birds” for a reason.
Early birds are people who always shop early in or before the holiday season. Before the shopping season starts, those people will actively research before buying to make the best decision.
How to get more early birds in the holiday shopping season?
Early shoppers themselves may be active to visit your stores to compare with others, but it is still important to do an early promotion. Because the Early Birds start researching and looking around the potential products for their wish list by October or even earlier, it is doubtful to prepare for this in advance of their early entry to the stores. There are several tools to support online stores in featuring deals, sales campaigns, and setting up promotions. Let’s take the advantage of these tools to catch early bird’s attention.
Optimize store website
The fact that, while searching, customers will visit multiple websites before they make purchasing decisions, so optimizing store websites is one of the most crucial tasks that retailers should carry out first. Design your websites to be mobile responsive and user friendly as well as make all relevant information accessible for visitors. Remember to show all the details of the products, even only a name publicly so that customers can catch their eyes on as soon as they visit your store.
Holiday shopping days are coming very soon. It’s the best time to start your holiday email marketing. The content should be a friendly notification and invitation about your upcoming holiday shopping season. You can mention some early discounts but just sneak out a little bit. Besides, assuring your customers that shopping early will give them peace of mind, and they’ll get what they want without struggling with the crowds. Last but not least, it’s ways more effective if you have an additional tool such as SMTP that will make your email campaign arrive fastly in the right customer’s box.
2. Plan your holiday shopping offers
To have a successful holiday sales season, let’s start planning your promotion calendar first. This step aims to support you to have the best marketing strategies and launch successful sales campaigns. There are some points that you need to remember:
- Capture the shifts in shopping trend
The date of the shopping season changes every year. Hence, online businesses should keep track of every single shift in shopping trends as it can happen all of sudden. Try not to miss any purchase and get more confident to give last-minute items to customers on time.
- Keep an eye on competitors
Besides your perfect sales plan, take a look at how your competitors doing is also a great strategy. Focus on marketing strategies and holiday advertisements for competitors. If you have a throughout vision of your competitors, you can gain more information about the consumer market and offer more great sales campaigns.
- Add relevant events and holidays
New Year or Valentine’s Day is always the most special time for both sellers and buyers. In these days, the profit may reach the highest profit within a year. However, don’t just totally focus only these events, you should choose other days that your store can show the highest performance. Choose the outstanding products that fit your strength and sell it on other days to gain sales goals instead of investing your money like a drop in the bucket.
- Assess past performance
One of the best ways to build a perfect sales campaign is to learn from the previous campaigns. You should analyze the old results and used marketing plans to improve the lack and enhance good points. Consider what your store needs to drive the performance better and increase the good impression from your customers.
3. Ensure your store can manage the increased traffic and demand
- Contact your partner to get more suppliers if needed. At the rush hour of holiday sales, the vast amount of consumption may sometimes increase uncontrollably. Online businesses will be in trouble if they can not keep track of supplies quickly nor work with suppliers. The best solution is to have a tool that can achieve centralized management where you can work on your provider list directly. In particular, make a change, or adjust the necessary contact information as well as information on the prices of each provider.
- Equip your store with an extended order grid to keep track of a huge number of orders: at the sales time, the orders must have much information attached which are so important to your current business and even more crucial in the future. Hence, it is important to create an extended order grid with more information columns which are related to customer, billing, shipping as well as purchased items. You can manage the order more effectively.
- Group the related information into a column so that anyone can sort out the information they want to know. Find your most suitable order grid tool to display and manage the order information effectively.
- Speed up order processing with mass order action function. Once you have an order grid, speed up the order processing so that you can serve your customers as fast as possible.
4. Consolidate storefront’s promotion supporting elements
There are 3 steps that you can follow to make your promo banner become the most concerned and clicked by your visitors, reduce errors, and convey your message clearly. We also provide you some Magento suggestions to help online stores create website banners at ease. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Place your appealing banners on the store site to attract customers in promotions. If your target customers usually search your website on Google and go directly to your homepage, then put your big and beautiful banner on your homepage. Furthermore, when you have chosen the place, the size and form will be the next task. For example, the banner for the landing page should be a big size to gain visitors’ attention. While the banner placed on the product page should appear as a sub-element to illustrate the product promo and related deals but still not blurring the main products.
Besides the place, both the content and design of the banner is also very crucial. The content encourages customers to give the decision. Remember to highlight the important information such as the attractive number, the urgency of time ending, and limited items. If the content creates a decision, the design again the buyers’ attention and awareness. Keep track of the trending designs then follow to make your marketing campaign become successful.
Step 2: Place free shipping bars on the most noticeable places in your store. These bars play an important role in the eCommerce industry that help remain competitive and increase customers’ shopping cart size. In fact, customers are really like to get something free. The high fee transport may cause cart abandonment, which negatively affects the stores’ turnover.
However, with the Free Shipping Bar tool, online retailers can drive the boom sales and reduce the bounce rate effectively. This extension worlds as a reminder informing customers of the benefits of getting products without paying an extra fee or the lacking amount of money to reach the threshold for free delivery. With this trick, customers are willing to buy a little more and online stores can increase their revenue.
Step 3: Show countdown timers without any promotion to hasten purchase: announce upcoming sales & inform about the remaining time of current sales. There are some ways to add the countdown timers on your website that you may want to know:
- Countdown timers: Let customers know how much time is left before the sale ends and begins which helps speed up the sales process. However, do not use a countdown timer running on the same product every day. Customers who usually visit your store will realize that it’s fake. Using a countdown timer with an end time is more honest and persuasive way to fasten the sales process.
- Use Urgency and Scarcity Words: If you want to use the word instead of an image, create your content with urgency and scarcity words to convince customers that it’s time to buy. Use short but intense and powerful words will catch people’s attention more effectively. Here are some of the recommended words to use in your marketing content:
- Buy Now
- Hurry up!
- One time only
- Last chance
- Before it’s gone
- Today only
- Limited time
- Don’t miss out
- Call to Action Button: Make your marketing strategy different with strong words and an appealing call to action. Colors and psychology are deeply linked as well. You can use warm colors like red, yellow, and orange to create a sense of urgency that drives action. These factors can decide whether your visitors make a purchase or click away.
- Show the Limited Availability of product: the phrase “Only X items left” is a great method to urge your customers to check out their favorite items as they know that they have some last chance to own their be-love ones. Use a specific number – under 5 is the best to convince someone to order. Additionally, you can highlight how scarce your product or service is to drive people to click the Buy button before your competitors.
5. Improve SEO immediately in a short period
Boosting SEO may require a long-term investment and consistency but you still can improve your website’s rank on Google instantly by making some adjustment:
a. Useful, high-quality, relevant content
In the holiday season sales, the time visitors stay on your website can represent the usefulness as well as visitors’ interest in your site. With attractive and high-qualified content and visual communication, visitors are willing to stay longer. Besides, to rank up in the SEO, instantly give more keywords, integrate more outbound links in the post.
b. Page load speed
Not only Google but other search systems take the loading speed as one important criterion in the ranking algorithm. Furthermore, improve your loading page also increase the user experience, and enhance users’ dwell time.
There are some certain ways to increase the loading speed:
- Plug-in caching
- Check whether the code is clean and streamlined
- Optimize images size
- Reduce plugins
- Minimize redirects.
c. Image Optimization
It is no doubt to say images convert information more quickly than content. Visitors who come to a website are more likely to react to images. Hence, appealing and informative images can lead to positive buying attitudes. There are some conditions you need to make sure of:
- Quality format (JPEG, PNGs and GIFs)
- Image file size reduction
- Uniqueness and relevance
d. Header tags:
Add more headings and differentiate among headings can bring visual effect so that visitors can follow your content more easily. A clear structure with a Table of contents also lets search engines realize which parts are more important than other sections.
e. Outbound links
Adding links that are reliable authority will help customers to find useful and reliable sources of information as well as contribute to your site’s relevance. The more relevant your content is the bigger ability to appear at the top search.
f. Different multimedia
As mention above, visual communication is used widely as one of the best marketing strategies that bring long-term benefits to online retailers. Images, videos, slideshows are promising means of content delivery that you can use for your website. Search engines evaluate highly those kinds of multimedia as they can bring customers real value.
g. Layout and formatting
A clear structure with layout and formatting can avoid the messy look of your content. You can check the following elements to make sure your content is structural and logical.
- Font size and typography: easy to read.
- Bold type and colors: use to differentiate the need-to-focus important content.
- Paragraph’s size and spacing: separate the content into sections so that customers can easily follow.
- Bullets and numbering: show the logical order of the paragraph.
- Sliders, tabs, layouts, windows, drop-down menus, and rollover elements: use as smart interaction with website visitors
- Subheads: header tags help show the main idea of the paragraph and additionally contain keywords with the amazing ability to improve SEO ranking.
h. Contact us page
Provide the contact details to raise the truthfulness in customers’ mind. This small information has a significant function as it creates business opportunities, improves customer services, and boost up the searching rank.
6. Ready to run advertising campaigns
The next step in preparing for the holiday shopping season is through advertisement campaigns. If you are a multi-channel seller, make sure that you have chosen the best suitable channels to grow your business. For example, Instagram, Facebook, and Google are the top channels to run an advertising campaign. Therefore, in the first place, select one or two-channel to focus on easily.
7. Prepare enticing loyalty programs based on orders and customer data
The holiday shopping season is a great time for the e-commerce store to offer loyalty programs with special deals and incentives. It is a powerful way to motivate purchase decisions, increase conversion rates, and drive revenue.
Firstly, you should study your current customers, know their shopping behavior to estimate whether your program will be welcomed or be ignored. Then specify the purpose and expected result that you want to achieve. You look forward to increasing sales or wanting more traffic to your site? Whatever you want, you should make it clear before you make a plan to have a successful scheme. Thirdly, choose your program rewards and loyalty program type until you deeply understand your customers’ needs. Besides, consider the budget separately with retaining existing customers and targeting new customers. Last but not least, provide incentives to start your loyalty program and measure the result to improve the next scheme with a better result.
8. Expose the brand’s awareness with affiliate networks
To promote your sales campaign more widely, you can attract new customers by building affiliate programs like friends of your customers or relatives. You can follow 3 steps here to build an effective affiliate network. The first step is to recruit affiliates by contacting and inviting people to join your network. Try to offer them the major benefits when they are joining like reward commissions per order, a discount when buying any product at your store,…
Secondly, generate an individual award for Affiliate. You should make the approach be clear, straightforward, and easy to follow with the necessary information like what to do, how it works, and how much money is awarded
Lastly, when you have created an affiliate program, let’s increase the reach of your Affiliate program. For example, you can advertise the program on social channels and put a popup banner introducing whenever there is a new registration. Hence, the more people are aware of it, the more new Affiliate members join your Affiliate network.
9. Allow social login to enhance customer’s logging in
This step is to remind you to add social login feature on the registration page which enables customers to log in to your store with their Facebook, Google, Instagram accounts.
Furthermore, to improve the speed of customers’ logging in, you can simplify the checkout page to be a one-page friendly interface. There is a Magento 2 extension that can help online store owners create the checkout page with only a one-page form. Customer checkout easily but also saves their time and effort.
B. Prepare for a boom in sales
1. Consider creating abandonment cart emails
While opening your holiday season promotion, you can drive the sales significantly with abandonment cart emails. The Magento 2 Abandoned Cart Email will do this task for you. This extension automatically sends triggered emails to recover all your customer’s forgotten carts. And then, the emails will push them to return to your online store to complete the checkout. Moreover, it also helps to reduce cart abandonment rates and encourage customers’ loyalty by offering attractive discount code enclosed in emails.
2. Create attractive daily deals on the sidebars, floating sliders
As we mentioned above, purchasers love flash sales and so do business doers. However, there are some stores that find it hard to make daily deals really work and convert visitors to customers. So how to make daily deals actually work?
Firstly, you should make a plan for your daily deal promotion carefully. Some elements like the true costs of products and the real revenue when shops run the flash sales,… If the number is not reached as you have expected, you can offer the standard discounts of 10-15% or super deals that are strong enough to boost your sales over the long term. Choosing the right products in the daily sales campaign that customers highly concerned about are also essential.
Secondly, on each campaign, you should create different discount codes. Offering visitors various types of daily deals is a smart way to encourage them to come back and get the deals. They will be more willing to update information regularly if the page has a lot of appealing deals. Hence, you can show the daily deals in the most visible place on your website (like sidebars, floating slider).
Thirdly, show customers the value of discounts, both the original and deal prices. They are the most information that customers are concerned about. They prefer to know how much the discounts are and how much money they can save from sales. If they can not see the price, they may find it unclear and left the pages without buying anything.
3. Push purchase decision with custom stock status
In the rush hour of the holiday shopping season, products can be out of stock very quickly so there are many customers who miss those products. To solve that situation, online retailers can add urgent labels of stock status right on the product page to let customers know whether this product will be restocked.
4. Make sure you can generate coupon codes automatically based on shopping cart rules
Since the codes are meant to be unique and used only once, they have to be generated manually and this may take a lot of time to finish. Image when you open your holiday sales but your website does not support the store admin in import the coupon codes in the backend. This situation causes a lot of inconvenience and can even cause customer loss due to the ineffectiveness and unprofessionalism of your store. However, there is a great solution with the Magento 2 Coupon Code which helps to manage and generate coupons via email templates. You can significantly improve the overall management of your coupon codes, successfully support and facilitate your business campaign and help you to reap ample benefits.
Once you have your coupon codes, create a link to auto-apply coupons when there is a customer click that link. It is not only convenient but also effective to enhance customers to use coupons and buy products.
5. Reward customers with points
As mentioned above, we have planned to create a loyalty program to retain old customers and attract new ones. In this step, you have to create a reward points program with the spending/earning rate at first but can adjust the rate if it is not suitable for your customers. When the spending rate is totally done, you can create the spending/earning rules based on the catalog and cart price rules to make the reward points program run successfully.
6. Equip an effective product recommendation system
Among several marketing methods used to boost sales in the holiday sales season, using the auto-related product is regarded to be one of the most effective ways for online merchants. To make use of auto recommended products, store owners often use this extension which offers various recommendation blocks such as related items, up-sells, cross-sells, and so on.
This step is used often not only for sales events but also on normal days. The extension is able to predict the relation between the products that are currently being showcased and the related products that are offered to the customers via a flexible and smart algorithm. The related products will be updated regularly and can be adjusted to suit the customer’s change in shopping behaviors.
Magento 2 Related Products can find a smart way to boost their sales, increase the customer’s satisfaction towards the store, and upgrade cross-selling.
7. Offer easy and hassle-free returns and make sure your return policy is clear and fair
Being an online store owner, you will know the situation when facing concerns about the inconvenient return process, especially when the busy holiday shopping season is coming closer to thrive. The more orders this upcoming holiday season gets, the more possible the number of increasing product returns can be. Hence, it is better to have a clear official announcement of return policies to avoid causing customers any difficulties. Or else for those who have experienced problems in processing return often be unlikely to consider repurchase with that retailer again.
There are 5 rules suggested for retailers to abide by in creating fair and clear return policies:
- Rule 1: As it is the holiday shopping season, you’d better offer a free return for buyers. As product return itself is making customers uncomfortable with the shopping experience, customers should minimize this return friction to get away with customers’ dissatisfaction from paying for the return shipping fee.
- Rule 2: Adding a return label enclosed to the original package or the invoice so that customers know about the hassle-free return. This idea helps them immediately notice the concrete provision of summarized return guidance and contacts instead of reading a wall text of a return policy page.
- Rule 3: In the rush hours, customers rely on thorough descriptions when shopping online. Hence, a user-friendly return policy should be clear and detailed outlines with everything about the product (from shipping costs to refund or exchange policies).
- Rule 4: Package your product with a resealable material is an unexpectedly useful tool for a returned product. With that packaging, retailers can easily put the product on display again when it is returned. This step simplifies the process of manual tagging, minimize the number of the unsuccessful product return.
- Rule 5: When customers request a product return, they may have the tendency to seek advice and guidance from the customer service to make sure they are doing right. At that time, try to show your professionalism and offer excellent customer service to improve customers’ shopping experience and resolve product return problems.
8. Allow customers to share store site, products via social channel
One of the most effective and money-saving marketing strategies is letting customers to share publicly your sales promotion via multiple channel like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,… Encourage customers to share their opinions about your products to enhance the traffic and increase your revenue.
C. Keep analyzing data for optimization
1. Set up Google Analytics to understand your customers’ shopping behavior
Google Analytics is a popular web analysis service which provides statistic and basic analytical tools for SEO and marketing strategies. You can measure the results of your campaigns in real time, compare the data from the previous periods and more. Anyone can use it with the Google account.
Some outstanding insights for eCommerce report:
- Customer behavior: report on customers’ activity on each checkout steps, transaction and abandonment rate
- Shopping behavior: report the number of sessions at each buying stage like product view, add to cart, and checkout.
- Sales performance: sales were evaluated with one of two dimensions in the transaction: cover date, time, transaction ID
- Product Performance: you can follow the product performance like revenue, price, and quantity through Google Analytics and so more.
- Product List Performance: There are three dimensions provided Product List Views, Product List Click and Product List CTR.
2. Analyze advanced reports
Statistical data that is gathered from customers, orders, and products is very useful for store owners. You can analyze the performance of your store and take the necessary action the have further marketing steps to their leads. That’s why you need a report extension to help you track and manage your business with advanced reports showing the overall data.
With the advanced report module, you can easily select the report periods and compare data to have a throughout vision of how your store and product’s performance is in the holiday sales season. Furthermore, you can choose the type of chart you like in the report to make it easier to compare, manage, and follow the growth and decreasing rate compare to other periods. You can not run a sales campaign without having this advanced report.
3. Make these holiday shopping season into year-round customers by sending post-sales emails
A post-sales email is a perfect email marketing tool for your online store, especially for the upcoming holiday sales season as it allows you to:
- Customize marketing campaigns to send out post-purchase emails focused on customers
- Provide useful information (manuals, user and maintenance guides, usage tips) after the purchase to build a solid community with customers
- Offer some discount and recommend related products for upsells
Let customers know how you take care of them after purchases.
4. Set up an effective product recommendation system
We have recommended you to use a recommended product system above before the booming sales time. And here, we want to emphasize the important function of it for optimizing the sales process. Let’s quickly set up your own effective product recommendation system to increase the revenue and boost your sales up!
We hope that this holiday season is awesome! We want it to be a happy, wonderful time where you can create happy memories for customers and enjoy your holiday with all of your dearests.
Last but not least, we hope that these tips would be helpful for you to prepare for the upcoming holiday seasons! The holidays don’t have to get the best of you! Instead, get the most out of what you have to offer by learning these simple new things – or some of your own – and putting them into practice. Good luck!
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