With the festive season fast approaching, businesses around the country have already started to prepare for yet another frantic holiday shopping period. Despite economic headwinds carving away at consumers’ disposable income, experts suggest that retail sales during this time will once again hit new record-high numbers.
From traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online-only businesses, the holiday period, which typically stretches from November to December is considered one of the most important financial quarters for businesses looking to make up for lost revenue and slowing sales.
While consumers are the key driving force behind increased sales and turnover, digital marketers on the other hand are gearing up to help online businesses and eCommerce retailers boost their audience reach and conversion rates.
Online shopping has remained a stronghold for the holiday period, and according to The State of Influencer Marketing 2022: Benchmark Report from the Influencer Marketing Hub, the total value of social eCommerce sales will reach an estimated $958 billion in 2022.
During a time when consumers are somewhat more carefree with their spending habits, eCommerce retailers will need to think of innovative and creative ways to help capture the attention of customers in a competitive marketplace.
In recent months, following the end of the pandemic, consumer holiday shopping behavior has changed. In a JLL survey of 1,080 consumers, around 63% are planning to complete at least some of their holiday shopping in stores, an increase from 58% in 2021. There are still more than half - 55% - who plan to only shop online which will help to keep businesses fueled up over the holiday period.
With the margin of online shoppers seemingly smaller this year, and more competitors now utilizing the digital ecosystem to help increase their sales, being front and center would mean that business owners and marketers will need to incorporate ingenious marketing tactics to win over consumers this year.
Pulling consumers from brick-and-mortar stores, and away from the competition is not easy, but if you follow these seven simple tactics, you might just be able to turn first-time buyers into loyal customers.
Plan And Execute Ahead Of Time
The holiday shopping period changes every year, often it starts the week after Halloween, sometimes a week before Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday. More so, we’re also seeing festive decor go up earlier and earlier each year as businesses are eager to capture larger consumer audiences well before their competitors.
While it doesn’t completely make sense to start offering Christmas deals and savings in October already, as many consumers are still holding out for other important holiday events, it’s best to start planning a marketing strategy that could already be put to the test.
Start by researching current seasonal trends in terms of the keywords you want to include in your content, and also what consumers are engaging with more online this year. Start building a strategy that focuses on consumer behavior, by using data and information available through digital marketing platforms and social media.
Once you have some idea of what to expect, you can plan, compile and execute your strategy accordingly to see how well it performs. If you notice that there are gaps, or you might have miss calculated, you at least have enough time to set things right before the holiday period kicks off.
Social commerce is the act of selling goods and services through social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. These days it’s possible to have a fully operational business and online store on social media, without requiring a website.
Although much of the marketing noise will be happening behind the scenes, your social media presence is the most important part of garnering the support of existing customers and finding new clients to convert.
If you don’t have a big social media presence, start by looking at how you can increase your visibility through paid ads, or influencer marketing. You can also increase your visibility on platforms such as Facebook or Google My Business by keeping your feed updated and customers informed with holiday-related campaigns.
Social commerce is big money, as a Salesforce report found that around 4% of global online sales took place on smartphones through social media apps. More so, 10% of the mobile traffic that websites receive originates from social media - so be sure to leverage this opportunity to your best advantage.
Create Relevant Messaging
If you know who your target audience is, and you know how to find them online, then ensure your holiday persona and festive campaigns align with their online experience. For online businesses it’s important to create messaging and ads that are relevant to what consumers are looking for, and also what is currently trending.
The vast chasm of online shopping and the digital ecosystem has made uniqueness and personalization much harder to come by, and yet, this is one of the best ways to boost online web traffic.
Consumers are more likely to engage with your business, whether it be by liking a post, following you on social media, or better yet, visiting your website if the message you created is tailored towards their needs.
A recent Accenture survey found that a whopping 91% of consumers will likely shop with brands and businesses that can provide them with relevant recommendations and online messages. Imagine boosting website traffic by 91% during the festive period.
Utilize Web Pop-Ups
If you’ve ever visited any website, especially during the holidays, you’ll notice simple pop-up ads that jump at you on the screen. These pop-ups, which are also known as lightboxes help to convert the first-time buyer into a returning customer.
Typically pop-ups will display information related to a specific discount or promotion the business is running. Often these promotions are only valid for a given period, and may only be available to first-time shoppers.
SumoMe - an app that helps businesses grow their online traffic - reported that pop-ups can help convert visitors by up to 9% or higher. The reason why pop-ups work so well is that it takes little effort to design and incorporate them, and it can easily be changed or adjusted at any given time.
These ads directly display information to the shopper and will help create a more personalized experience. In essence, lightboxes will make it feel as if your business is directly addressing the customer, providing them with an incentive if they purchase anything from your business.
See What The Competition Is Doing
In some way, the holiday season may seem like a big copy-and-paste exercise. Every business tries as hard as possible to create a unique experience, but at the end of the day, it’s simply all of the same messaging over and over.
Though it is possible to stand out from the crowd by targeting the right customers and shoppers and drawing them to your website, it won’t necessarily help if all your competitors are doing the same thing.
Being unique in a highly digital and tech-savvy consumer market is no easy task, so it’s important that when you start to plan your marketing strategy, you take a good and hard look at what other contenders are doing.
Maybe you notice something that they did that didn’t get the engagement they expected. Think how you can use this to your advantage, or better yet, completely move in the opposite direction to help convert their clients.
Tailor your methods in such a way that it will help look different, even if there is not much difference between you and a competitor. Don’t try and replicate what other businesses are doing, stick to who your target audience is, what their needs are, and how your marketing strategies can address them.
By now you’re well aware of how important on-page and off-page SEO is for any website, as this helps to boost page ranking on search engines. During this time of the year, many people often forget how important internal and external links are, leaving some to underestimate their value in the bigger scheme of things.
Though these links may not boost website traffic by the thousands percentile, it still offers to bring traffic to your website, increase the page and domain authority, and help deliver the most accurate web pages to user search queries online.
Make sure to include relevant and festive-specific anchor texts during your campaigns. If you’re running deals for Black Friday, do proper keyword research on both short and long-tail keywords. Once you start moving towards Christmas, change the keywords and anchor text again to fit new shopping trends.
Test The Website
If your digital marketing efforts are successful, and you’re able to boost traffic to your website, whether it’s through social media or affiliate links, it’s important to know whether your website will be able to handle the increased traffic.
Seeing an influx of users visit your site, day in and day out, adding items to their carts, checking out, and buying up promotional goods could place a lot of pressure on your website and domain.
Throughout all of this, you must measure the “health” and performance of your website. It will help nothing if your website ceases days before the festive peak, or if the loading time jumps due to the increased number of site visitors.
Seeing that your website can easily become overwhelmed, it’s advised to make use of performance monitoring tools such as Lighthouse and Page Speed Insights, both programs that are offered and operated by Google.
Make sure to get rid of all the kinks as the holiday period starts, and don’t forget to do regular checkups or maintenance. It’s also advised to conduct a thorough checkup of the website beforehand to ensure that everything is working properly.
To Finish Off
This holiday season will be somewhat different than the years before, but for online businesses, it remains a crucial time to boost their sales and convert new clientele into loyal long standing customers.
With so much competition in the marketplace, it can be hard for businesses to stand out in the crowd, especially with big-box commercial retailers now also dominating the online retail space.
If you have a great product or service, you know who your target audience is, and you want them to support you this holiday season, you should start researching and planning well before the peak hits. The more accurate and personalized you make your messaging, the easier it will be to convert customers. Offer an experience, be unique, but more importantly, think outside the box, and look for innovative ways to bring festive cheer to your customers this year.