How to Boost Holiday Season Sales
If there were one time of the year where you’re allowed to pull out all the stops and go all in on getting to the customers and every single cent they plan to spend, it’s the holiday season. Yes, this time of the year which no one can say for sure when it begins but everyone kind of agrees on when it ends is the main event in any retailer’s, marketer’s, or salesperson’s calendar.
One of the consequences of having so much activity in a period that’s measured in weeks is that every single business will try to do its best to boost holiday sales as much as it can. With the nature of retail slowly shifting to accommodate increasingly sophisticated customers who want a mix of online and offline experience, much of that effort will go towards making digital channels as effective as possible.
So, if you have a store and you’re either looking for new sales-boosting methods, or you just want to check your blind spots and make sure you haven’t forgotten a plan, a tool, or a whole strategy, you’re in the right place.
Here’s what we recommend:
Your marketing and sales strategy has to recognize that the holiday season is a sales event like no other. It has its own iconography, it has its own flow with peaks and lows, and there are also consumer behaviors that are specific to it. Any strategy you develop should take these factors into account.
It might also be a good idea to save your best offers and best deals for that time of the year. The holiday season is different from a summer sale. The special quality of it must be reflected in what you’re offering. You can’t just do what you did the last time you had an unrelated sales event and expect people to feel special and excited about it.
Finally, the holiday season is something that happens every year. There are absolutely no excuses to find yourself without any kind of strategy and with only days left to start implementing it. Your budgets, your copy, your visuals, the schedule, even media buys should be prepared well before the thing kicks off. There’s no winging a holiday season sales and marketing strategy.
One of the easiest ways to reach a lot of potential customers would be to do something on social media. That something should ideally be an activity that’s almost guaranteed to attract people’s attention. And if there’s something that people love more than holiday shopping, it’s getting things for free.
If you do a giveaway or a similar type of activity, and you use your social media to publish it, you can quickly attract a lot of attention to your store and give your holiday sales a nice starting boost. Just remember to communicate with interested participants to keep the engagement rates high.
Another thing you should be doing the whole year round that comes in especially handy come holiday season is building ye olde email list. Email marketing is as viable and inexpensive as ever, and it packs just enough versatility to make it an unavoidable channel come holiday season.
Not sure what to do with the all-powerful-but-lowkey email? Here are a couple of ideas:
Welcome people in. When someone leaves their email with your website for the first time, send them a welcome email with a small bit of promotional content in it.
Give a special offer in the newsletter. Reward the people who are the most loyal to your store with a special offer or two.
Build up the tension with newsletters. Email is a great channel for content distribution because you can use it to serve any type of content, a fact you should exploit mercilessly in your newsletter.
Remind people of the empty cart they’ve left. Cart abandonment is a serious issue in e-commerce, and having emails sent out is one of the more effective ways of tackling it.
Best of it all is that, with email, you can automate the whole process with transactional mail and mail programs. Then again, you can also personalize the emails to the degree you want. It’s the versatility we mentioned before – you can send an email blast with generic copy to thousands of recipients automatically, or you can create a video and send it to only one newsletter subscriber. There’s also everything in between.
Everything about a winning holiday season sale starts well before the actual holiday season and building a loyal customer base is no different. When visitors turn into leads, leads into prospects, and prospects into customers, that next step of turning them into repeat customers is crucial.
Why? Because loyal customers tend to spend the most come holiday season. Everybody tends to spend more, but the customers whom you’ve retained from previous purchases will spend more than regular customers. Thanks to the email and CRM systems – which you can easily add to a WordPress website using a CRM plugin – you can target loyal customers with special messages and special offerings. You just need to have the awareness that loyalty matters the whole year round, just so you can play on it when it matters the most.
How much do you think trust matters to people when shopping online? An awful lot is the answer, not in the least because you’ll ask them for personal information as well as their credit card number, all to buy a product they won’t be able to see until it arrives at their doorstep. As far as situations where high trust is a prerequisite go, this one is for the textbooks.
There are several ways your online store can signal trust to prospective buyers, including:
Provide customer reviews, which is something you might consider doing throughout the whole year.
Posting customer testimonials, relying on social proof to have your store appear more trustworthy, and possibly even highlight some products.
Use the badges, whether to highlight which security certificates you use, which professional organization you belong to, or which brands you associate with.
The idea is to show people that you are running a legitimate store where other people have shopped without having their credit card numbers stolen. If it just so happens that you’re partnered with a bigger brand, all the better. Either way, you’ll want to mix social and trust signals.
You should do your best to ensure that every sale during the holiday season goes without a hitch, of course. But you know that it’s next to impossible to not have at least one call to customer service representatives. In truth, customer service will experience a workload that’s much heavier than usual during the holidays, and you should do whatever you can to get them ready.
Apart from making sure that everything else works so that they don’t have to work as much, you can also apply several solutions to lighten their load. You can, for example, produce a well-written FAQ that’s easy to navigate and holds most of the information people would ask.
You can also use a chatbot to handle some of the common questions. Then again, you can employ live chat to provide critical support in situations when bots simply can’t cut it and your customers need to be able to quickly get a hold of someone from your business. So remember, automate when you can, but leave nothing to chance when it’s crucial to provide support.
You might consider at least a minimal modification in your website’s design to make it more festive. At the very least, you should use the prime real estate of your home or landing page to ensure that people know they’ve come to a place where holiday sales are about to happen. The visuals and the copy should denote it.
You should also make sure your website is well-maintained going into the holiday season. You don’t want to go through all that trouble of attracting loads of customers only to have your website down when they finally come.
You’ll be aiming at several targets at once. You want the website to be stable but quick. You want it to be easy to navigate but also ideally keep the navigation to the minimum. This means that you should ensure that your bestsellers are front and center on your website.
If there’s a channel you can use or an asset you can put into play to work for you, there’s no better time in the year to do it.
Some example of the channels you might employ and how you can use them include:
Affiliate networks – if you have one, you should be sending out signals to your affiliates that it would be well worth their effort to do a bit more to promote your products.
Social media – whatever you’re doing on social media, if it works, do more of it.
Push notifications – they are great for engagement, and they require people to opt-in to them which sort of pre-qualifies them.
Coupons and discounts websites – these can be great for attracting traffic and getting people through the proverbial door, where your website design and copy do the rest.
The holiday season isn’t the time you should hold back on your promotional activities. It’s all hands on deck!
Let’s Wrap It Up!
To countless families and individuals around the globe, every year presents numerous challenges and difficulties that need to be traversed and dealt with. Some years are more kind to us. Other years – not as much. 2020 has proven to be particularly ruthless.
But even the harshest years come to an end. That’s what we celebrate during the holiday season. We might disagree on religious meanings and contexts, but we all know that holiday seasons are about fresh starts. And while the holidays won’t stop the bad things from the last year following us into the new one, they will give us a much-needed breather, and maybe some hope.
If you, as an online store owner, play your cards right, you can be a part of it and help others enjoy the holiday season to the fullest. You can use all these methods to boost your holiday sales, but you can also make sure that you offer your customers good deals. Everyone deserves a little boost to their spirits during the holidays.