With the brisk chill in the air comes the busiest season for ecommerce sellers: The Holidays. A time when things can either go swimmingly well, or horribly wrong. As kids are making their holiday wish lists for Santa, ecommerce sellers should be making their lists and checking them twice too. A holiday checklist comprised of strategies and to-dos in order to have the best holiday selling season.
According to NRF, holiday sales grew 8.3% in 2020 to $789.4 billion. That’s more than double the average increase over the past 5 years of 3.5%. Ecommerce holiday sales were up 23.9% at $209 billion. Even as vaccines are administered, and countries are easing Covid restrictions, online sales aren’t expected to decrease this holiday season. In a survey conducted by Qubit, 8-in-10 shoppers plan on shopping online. This suggests the growth in online holiday sales will outpace the growth from 2020.
So, what should ecommerce sellers be putting on their holiday checklists? Below we’ve outlined 9 holiday selling ecommerce tips.
1.) Forecast Based on Previous Years’ Sales
Some people say the past is the past, so look to the future. Well, in this case, the past could predict your future. What were your top selling products in previous years? Do certain products follow the same trends? Historical sales data allows you to:
- Predict which SKUs you should stock up on
- Minimize product overhead costs
- Save on 3PL storage fees by only maintaining inventory levels of products that fly off the shelves
2.) Prepare Your Website
Ecommerce sellers’ websites act as their store fronts. If your website isn’t a well-oiled machine, your holiday season will turn into a sales slump. Here are some things you should ask yourself:
- Is your menu navigation understandable and easy to use?
- Are all of your integrations working correctly?
- Are images loading correctly and quickly?
- Do I have broken links that need to be fixed?
- Is the checkout process smooth?
Once you’ve looked into the above, there are still other ways to optimize website experiences. Do you have good reviews on other sites? Add them to your own website to influence purchase decisions. There are many ways this can be done. If you’re tech savvy, use html. If you aren’t, find a plugin that works with your shopping cart and/or website.
Are there specific items that are more profitable? Or are there items you simply need to go? Put them front and center on your homepage. You can achieve this with rotating image banners, pop-ups, or slide-ins.
3.) Create Holiday Themed Content Using Jingles, Puns, and Popular Phrases
Have you ever heard of the mere-exposure effect? It’s a psychological phenomenon where people tend to develop a preference for things because they’re familiar with them. Is this why people are so drawn to plays on words? Whatever the reason may be, apply this psychology to your marketing efforts to increase purchases.
Here are a few puns to get your creative juices flowing:
- Your presents is requested
- You’re sleigh-in’ it
- Time to spruce things up
- Treat yo’elf
- A mistle-toast to the holiday season
Need more inspiration? Take a look at the remaining 70 puns from this list. The writers claim they’re “tree-mendously hilarious.”
4.) Step Up Your Social Media and Influencer Game
Don’t sell on social platforms or not ready to try social commerce? That’s okay. Upping your “presents” (see what we did there…) on social media can still have a huge effect. There are a plethora of studies citing the impact social media has on purchase decisions. So, start working on Tip #3 and spread that punny cheer through your social media platforms of choice.
Influencer marketing goes hand-in-hand with social media. In 2020, influencer marketing had a market size of $9.7 billion. If you’re not sure of how to get started, check out this infographic. It details how to find and hire influencers based on your marketing goals.
Don’t have the budget for influencer marketing? No need to fret, just remember, “numbers don’t matter, influence does.” Take a look at your own social media followers. Are they posting about your products? Search your company name as a hashtag. What can you find? Reach out to the people who are engaging with your brand. Offer them free merch in exchange for more social media love.
5.) Manage Your Google Shopping Feed
If you aren’t currently running Google Shopping Campaigns, you should reconsider. Shopping Ads will always appear before Search Ads and Organic Search results. Plus, they include rich product information, such as images, pricing, and vendor name which provides more visibility.
76% of retail search ad spend is driven by Shopping Ads. What’s more, they generate 85% of all clicks across all Google Ads. That’s a big piece of the consumer pie. Need help getting started? We have a series of blog posts outlining the steps you should take:
- Get to Know Google Shopping: Learn the Basics & Start Selling
- How to Optimize Your Google Shopping Product Feed
- A Guide to Google Shopping Ads: What They Are & How to Make the Most of Them
- Let Google Smart Shopping Optimize Your Ad Campaigns
Once you’re up and running (or if you already were), make sure all of your product listings follow Google’s guidelines, so your ads are showing. Add promotions such as discounts, free gifts, or free shipping. Then, set a daily task to check your product feed every day so it’s up to date. And finally, go back to Tip #2. If users don’t have a satisfactory experience on your website, you’ve just wasted precious advertising dollars.
6.) Over-Communicate With Your Customers
Communication is definitely the name of the game. Especially with so much disruption in the industry:
- Ecommerce shipping surcharges keep being implemented
- There aren’t enough cargo containers to keep up with consumer demand
- Ports can’t handle the volume of ships coming in
- There’s a shortage of workers
- Shipping carriers eliminated guaranteed delivery dates
The list goes on. Therefore, being fully transparent with customers is a must. Setting expectations in the beginning of their purchase path will lead to less frustration and hopefully repeat buyers.
7.) Outsource Order Fulfillment to a 3PL
Order fulfillment companies are built to scale. They have the warehouse space and labor to fulfill thousands of orders a day. Other advantages of outsourcing order fulfillment include:
- Discounted shipping costs
- Same-day fulfillment so customers receive packages faster
- Ability to sell through other channels like marketplaces and drop shipping
- The resources to handle multiple ecommerce integrations
- The footprint to store larger amounts of inventory which can help combat the disruption in our supply chain
- Value-added services such as kitting, custom packaging, and gift wrap or messaging
- Returns processing
How do you choose the right 3PL? Make a list of must-haves and nice to haves. Then, make a list of your top 3PLs that satisfy your criteria. Schedule phone calls with their sales team to learn about their full offer sets. Look (or ask) for customer reviews to get honest feedback. And don’t always go for the cheapest, because you know the phrase, “you get what you pay for.”
8.) Get Shoppers to Come Back After the Holidays
Sales usually dip right after the holidays, but there are ways to continue the momentum. Begin by planning promotions that follow the holidays. You’ve likely gathered quite a few email addresses from all those holiday shoppers. So, use them! Emails can be as simple as coupon codes, or more sophisticated based on actions a customer has taken.
Remarketing and/or retargeting! In its simplest form, remarketing is when ads are shown to users who have visited a particular website. Like email marketing, retargeting ads can be kept simple or really intricate. According to Wishpond, the average click-through-rate for retargeting ads is 10 times higher than regular display ads. Therefore, no matter the level of complexity, ecommerce sellers should be remarketing in some way. What’s even better? Combining your remarketing strategy with your email marketing strategy.
Use clever hashtags on social media. Tip #3 suggested using popular phrases tied to the holidays. Why not do that throughout the entire year? Trending hashtags not only help people find your brand but can boost engagement as well.
Now back to Tip #7. When it comes to ecommerce, the order fulfillment process needs to be as smooth as possible. How did your 3PL perform during the holiday season? If it wasn’t up to snuff, it might be time to search for a new partner.
9.) Ask Your Ecommerce Peers Their Best Holiday Selling Ecommerce Tips
Sometimes the best advice comes from the people we know. Belong to a group of other ecommerce sellers? Pose the question to them and get insights into what their best holiday selling ecommerce tips are.
We hope these insights will help you “sleigh all day” through the holiday season. Looking for more holiday selling ecommerce tips? Then reach out to sales (at) owd (dot) com. Cheers to a prosperous ecommerce holiday selling season.