Say "Happy Holidays" to a shopper, and they'll most likely interpret it as, "Congratulations! Here's your giant headache. You're welcome." After all, what is a holiday shopping trip mean, anyway? Christmas music looped until you can't stand it anymore, a square mile of pavement around the mall with no place to park, and a million shoppers everywhere. To most people, this corresponds with a huge amount of inconvenience and frustration, which means that, if given the choice, most people will shop at home if they can, via the internet. For your ecommerce business, this can be nothing if not advantageous, at least if you're adhering to ecommerce holiday marketing best practices. Here are some tips for maximizing your potential this holiday season.
5 Ways to Maximize Ecommerce Holiday Marketing
1. Incorporate a countdown on your website. Customers should be reminded of how close the big day is to today's date. Find a "time until holidays" counter that will show how much time is left until the day of gift-giving is upon them. You can pick out free countdown clocks from the selections offered here and here.
2. Add new shipping options for the holidays. If you already offer free shipping over a certain monetary amount, consider dropping that amount for the month of December. If you don't normally offer free shipping but can do it for the holidays, do it. If nothing else, remind customers that your shipping is quick and efficient, and clearly advertise the last day customers can order in time for the holiday they are ordering for. For example, if 5 days is the absolute maximum shipping time, remind customers that their last day to order for Christmas delivery would be December 19th.
3. Offer gift cards for the holidays. Gift cards are a solid way to bring in revenue without having to expend goods or services -- not yet, at least. If you are not already offering gift cards, you should do it at least for the holiday season. Not only will you be bringing in revenue, you will also be capitalizing on the flurry of purchases that lead up to the holidays. Plus, you might bring in new customers -- both gift givers and recipients.
4. Optimize buying guides. Most people find it easier to be told what to do. If you're the one telling them, the result is more revenue for your business. Do this in your buying guide, and make sure your buying guide gets seen by optimizing it so Google returns it in its shopping search results page. Include the term "buying guide" in all your onsite elements: headers, content, metas, titles -- as much as you can. The goal is to get it indexed in Google's product pages, which means more conversions for your company.
5. Ask for newsletter registration on the order confirmation page. The confirmation page is essential because it includes all the order information so the customer can review and confirm the information they just gave you. This increases customer confidence and allows you to include an option for the customer to receive your newsletter. Email marketing is a sure way to drive sales. You can even set the page to have this box pre-ticked when the customer lands on the order confirmation page. Including this prerequisite means the distribution of timely information, which means more returning customers, which means more business for your company.
How else can you maximize the effectiveness of your ecommerce website this holiday shopping season?
Originally published Oct 25, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017