Digital Insights

How to Get Your Ecommerce Content Ready for The Holidays

Published: November 19, 2015

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales can account for anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of the average retailer’s annual income. Where your business falls along that continuum may have a lot to do with how prepared you are to launch compelling e-commerce content to bring the customers to you.

In this post, learn how to get your e-commerce content ready to make the most of holiday sales opportunities.

Freshen Up Your Content

You can probably think of that one retailer who totes out that same old tired ad campaign year-in and year-out. Hint: you don’t want to be this retailer! Instead, start now to freshen up last year’s designs.

3 steps to freshening up your content:

  1. Toss what didn’t work last year.
  2. Repurpose what worked well so you can build on its success.
  3. Create some all-new content and graphics for this year.

Expand Your Content Calendar

Unless your store is so specific that only a narrow known demographic shops with you, it can pay to think beyond the known in designing your holiday e-commerce calendar.

holiday marketing calendar

A holiday list to consider:

  • Thanksgiving.
  • Black Friday.
  • Cyber Monday.
  • Green Monday (the day after Cyber Monday).
  • Super Saturday (the Saturday before Christmas – also known as “Panic Saturday”).
  • Hanukkah (8 days of festivities here!).
  • Christmas.
  • Boxing Day (the day after Christmas).
  • Kwanzaa.
  • New Year’s Eve.
  • New Year’s Day.

If your merchandise might appeal to additional demographics, research their December festivities and brainstorm with your marketing team how to reach out with an appropriate e-commerce message.

Segment Your Email List Groups

Perhaps the key piece in the entire holiday marketing puzzle is simply this: send the right stuff to the right folks.

In other words, prepare as best you can to segment your email list out into different interest groups before you begin sending your holiday e-commerce out. If you haven’t done a good job collecting enough demographic information to do this for this year’s holiday season, then prepare now to make it a focus for next year by changing how much data you collect as prospects join your email list.

Label each group in such a way that it is easy to remember who gets what when in your holiday email campaign.

Connect All the Marketing Dots

Email, direct mail, social media, in-store and online store marketing should all move in step with each other. Otherwise, what results is customer confusion…and customer confusion slows sales. People are just too busy during the holidays to sort out what type of deals, promotions, coupons and freebies apply where – so make it easy.

An example of a connected holiday marketing schedule:

  • Week One. Buy a gift card, get a promo card free.
  • Week Two. Double rewards points when shopping.
  • Week Three. Buy one item, get a second item half off.
  • Week Four. Coupon for 25 off any two items.
  • Week Five. Buy one item of $50 or more, get a free stocking stuffer.

santa Discounts!Promo's!Rewards!

Here, the key is to maintain your sanity by syncing up each week’s promotion even as you work to design e-commerce materials for that promotion to appeal to different list groups.

With social media and other non-email promotional materials, you want to aim for a more generic look to your materials so you don’t exclude a potentially interested demographic.

Offer Options for a Later Date Purchase

The average holiday shopper will spend about $127 on themselves – this is in addition to what they spend buying gifts for others on their list. As well, chances are good that your customers will see other things they would like to buy that their wallets just won’t stretch to afford during the gift-giving season.

So help them remember what they had their eye on! There are a couple of ways to do this depending on your e-commerce store platform:

  1. Create a “wish list” feature. This works best for online stores (or brick-and-mortar stores with an online component) who use a e-commerce platform with wish list plugins (Shopify is a good example).
  2. Create a “buy it later” button. This can be done even if there is no plugin or app to do it for you automatically. Just create a specific email list group that customers are directed to when they click on the “buy it later” button next to the product they want. Then collect their name, email address and the product item in a list group so you can email them a reminder later.
  3. Circle back in January. January is a great time to remind customers about the new gift cards tucked away in their wallets. Pair use of a holiday gift card or promo card with another incentive (ideally towards yet another future purchase) and you may just find January to be a uniquely profitable month!

Do Some Advance Market Testing

There is an argument for sticking with what works during the holidays and an equally compelling argument for trying something new. Some customers love the shock value of the unexpected while others feel disappointed when “that thing they’ve been looking forward to all year” is suddenly unavailable.

If you are struggling to decide which route to take, why not do some market testing? Called A/B tests by the optical industry (“is lens A or B clearer?”), these tests can tell you where your customers sit on the continuum between traditional and cutting edge marketing.

By implementing these six tactics starting now, you can ensure your e-commerce content is as ready as it can be for the big shopping push in late November and throughout December. Best of all, these techniques will help you gather valuable intel about your current customers and new prospects you meet this season, which is sure to strengthen your sales in years to come!


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