The holiday season is one that is make or break for many online e-commerce businesses. With holiday internet shopping growing at a rapid rate, it is of the utmost importance that you are able to effectively prepare for the holiday season and ensure that you deliver an experience that keeps your customers coming back. Depending upon the type of products that you offer, you may or may not see a large increase in interest during the holiday season. According to eMarketer, the total Retail holiday seasonal sales online grew a total of 16.8% in 2011, 15.2% in 2012, and is expected to grow an additional 15.1% in 2013.
Unlike in previous years, these sales will be coming through a number of different channels, with a much larger percentage of sales coming through mobile devices. In order to provide an excellent experience for all customers, you have to take into account not only the fulfillment needs your company will have during this holiday season, but also ensure that your web technology is up to date – with a proper mobile checkout processes that are simple and straight forward.
Identify Products for the Holidays
Start by identifying which products are going to be most likely to be your ‘hot selling items’ during the holiday season. Which of your products would make excellent girts? If you have data from a previous holiday season, look into which products saw the biggest jump in overall interest and sales to ensure that you cater to them during the upcoming holiday season.
Identifying which products are most likely to perform well allows you to focus on them when establishing holiday marketing campaigns, whether on your homepage, through email, or one of your other advertising channels that your company typically utilizes. The 15.1% growth estimated by eMarketer applies across the board to all e-Commerce sales. Individually companies may see higher or lower jumps in sales over previous holiday seasons.
Plan a Newsletter Marketing Campaign
The rapid growth in the number of devices and platforms that individuals can use to access their email has grown rapidly. Many users keep their email at all times via their smartphone or tablet device. This means that companies should place a greater importance on connecting with customers and potential customers through email. In years past, it wouldn’t be wrong for a business owner to expect their marketing emails to be read during the evening on weekdays, after returning home from work. This is not the case anymore.
According to Email Monday, you can expect up to 65% of your email opens to come from mobile devices depending upon the audience that you are connecting with, the products that you offer, and the title of the email. Additionally, during a recent ExactTarget survey, the company found that 90% of smartphone users are able to access the same email accounts from their phone that they would access on a desktop. According to Litmus, 44% of all email is opened on a mobile device.
These statistics show a recurring trend that is especially useful during the holiday season when consumers will be making stops on their way home to secure gifts and purchases during the holiday season. Planning an in-depth series of newsletters (not just one-off sales letters) allows you to ensure that you are able to stay in contact with previous customers and make the most of your email marketing efforts during the holiday months.
As an e-commerce business, a good portion of your traffic likely comes from search engines and search engine searches. Did you know that according to Kissmetrics, only about 30% of searches are ‘one-term’ searches? For instance, searches such as “coffee,” or “bicycles,” would be included in that 30%, while longer searches such as “Colombian grown discount coffee,” or “Cheap BMX bicycles for kids,” make up the other 70% of searches performed through Google.
Ensuring that you cater to longtail keywords may require some additional thought put into the content on the page and other on-page tactics such as interlinking. Identifying longtail keywords that match your products can help you to expand your reach on the search engines during this holiday season, and bring in customers that are looking for very specific purchases.
The growth of mobile has been widely documented. Targeting users on these platforms has never been more important. Mobile eCommerce has seen growth for a total of 15 consecutive quarters, and this streak is not expected to stop any time soon as more users make the switch from Desktop PCs to tablets and smartphones for casual browsing. According to eMarketer, mobile commerce will make up more than 16% of all e-commerce in 2013. This means that businesses that are not accepting mobile orders may potentially lose 16% of all orders they would otherwise receive.
Ensure that your website has a sleek mobile design that is compatible with as many different devices as possible. Take the time to hire a consulting agency is you have to that will help you to optimize your site for mobile across iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices for the upcoming holiday season.
Consider Going International
The barriers to entering new markets are not what they once were, especially online. Christmas and the holiday season in particular are celebrated by countries around the world and the gift giving ceremony is one that is consistently seen through many different holidays around the world. Take language barriers into consideration as well. For instance, if your website is in English, you may want to limit your marketing efforts to only English speaking countries.
The holiday season presents an interesting opportunity for e-commerce businesses. Identifying the products that will see increased attention, determine how to effectively market those products, and working with your fulfillment company to provide a seamless process for your customers – from checkout to shipping arrival – helps you to stand out from the competition and will keep those customers coming back to your business.