The air outside is cooler, department stores are filling up with artificial firs and wreaths, and the smell of cinnamon and clove is everywhere you go, which means… the 2018 holiday retail season is here! Whether you are ready or not (if you’re not, you can catch up here), you should be looking forward to another record-breaking year for online sales!
This year’s holiday retail sales are projected to reach $691.9 billion, nearly 4.0% increase over last year’s total. What’s more, online retailers can expect their best sales season to date, with ecommerce claiming 16.7% of total revenues.
While we know it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday chaos, it’s important to remember the following three holiday ecommerce tips during the rush of it all:
1. There will be two types of retailers and you must decide which you will be
While there is no right or wrong approach to the strategy your business takes on during the holidays, make sure it’s a conscious, strategic decision. The holidays bring these two types of retailers:
- Retailers who focus on increasing revenues by acquiring more customers during the holidays with flashy deals (quantity).
- Retailers who focus on increasing profits by leveraging a quality, personalized customer experience to promote loyal customers (quality).
The first retailer may see a higher short-term payoff but is likely to see a greater fallout. Depending on your customer acquisition cost and the nature of your product, you may not be concerned with repeat purchases. It’s possible your product is a low-cost item, where investing in personalized customer service is unjustified or maybe your product is a one-time purchase item by nature. While it is always in your best interest to provide great customer service, it may not be a critical component of your holiday eCommerce strategy.
The second retailer is likely to see efforts pay off to a greater degree in the long-term. Creating loyal customers is an investment—more resources are needed to create a personalized experience and increase the level of customer service provided. However, loyal customers are more likely to recommend your brand to a friend, decreasing your acquisition cost and are more likely to accept recommendations from your brand, increasing total spend. If your brand sells repeat purchase items or you are constantly introducing new items, you’ll want to develop relationships with these customers as part of your holiday strategy.
2.Your marketing efforts must evolve throughout the season and adapt to timely events
If you’re hoping to really resonate with customers during their holiday shopping, your messaging and tactics must evolve to remain relevant and top of mind. A well thought-out holiday marketing campaign complete with display advertising, SEO, email drip campaigns, and influencer marketing is a great start, however, adapting your marketing approach to timely events is crucial.
An easy way to do so is through social media, because you can execute quickly and easily adapt to trending topics. A relevant current event and good use of trending hashtags can get your brand in front of an audience with little resources involved. Additionally, social media allows you to take advantage of user generated content as it becomes available to provide a continuous stream of fresh marketing content.
3. Most importantly, don’t let increased holiday demands get the best of you
You should always aim for your best-selling season to date, year after year, but don’t let the chaos of the holidays get the best of you! There’s only so much planning you can do and preventative measures you can take. No matter the resources invested, there will inevitably be hiccups and obstacles to overcome.
Remain calm if something does not go as planned, stay true to your brand, transparent with your customers, and fair to yourself. It’s a critical period for your business, but it’s not the only determinant of success. Whether this is your brand’s first holiday season or you’re a seasoned pro—be prepared, be flexible, and be sure to enjoy your holidays with these holiday ecommerce tips.