How to Boost Your Holiday Sales | ChecklistDecember 19, 2017 - Milen Vasilev
During the holiday sales season, a positive customer experience is central to every winning strategy. While there is a world of things you can do to optimize consumer touchpoints and boost your conversion and retention, how do you know where to start?
Competing with the big guys on bettering the customer experience can shrink your margins and leave you overwhelmed. Let’s face it, consumers are being spoiled by the super-convenience offered by the likes of Amazon, and you can’t do everything. Your goal is to find the sweet spot where your customers are happy and your revenue is still solidly in the green.
No matter what tricks you are cooking up to boost sales this holiday season, our simple eCommerce holiday sales checklist will help you keep the momentum going and engage your customers without breaking the bank.
1. List trending products
It’s never too late to spice up your selection with currently trending items. This is especially true if you run a drop shipping operation that gives you the flexibility. If you do drop ship and want to give your conversion a healthy push in the right direction, consider adding items like activity trackers, wooden sunglasses, Bluetooth speakers, and other similarly trending products.
Including them in your Last Minute Gift Guide can be particularly helpful for undecided and last-minute shoppers, who tend to need suggestions and often gravitate to trending items.
Source: Gadget Flow
2. Listen to your customers
Customers get busy around the holidays and expect prompt service from you, even if you’re already slammed. But with the increase of intensity and size of orders, things can easily slip through the cracks.
With that in mind, consider adding additional channels so your customers can reach you hassle-free. In addition to email and phone, add an on-site chat to handle simple inquiries. Invite customers to message you on social media and address their feedback via comments or private messages. Keep the conversation going to boost brand engagement.
3. Add the word “Gift” to your keyword campaigns
People aren’t the only ones engulfed by the holiday mood; their search inquiries are as well! Consider rethinking your keyword strategy for your top-selling gifts. Use your Black Friday or other data to fine-tune your PPC holiday campaign, and channel some of those gift-seekers to your store.
With that in mind, use keywords like “cool last-minute gifts,” “awesome gift suggestions,” “cool socks gift guide,” or other phrases that can complement your campaign. Make sure to use Semrush or Google Keyword Planner to build your keyword strategy. Likewise, use Adwords scripts to schedule your holiday ads up to the hour and manage bidding and your budget.
4. Promote your best-selling items
Use your data from Black Friday to see what’s selling best, and focus your advertising efforts on those products. If you have a Last Minute Gift Guide, put your top sellers up front and center.
Get your paid ads, social media posts, emails, and blog all working to promote these items so you can gain maximum traction. Put them on your homepage with direct links to their product pages or a 1-click Buying Button. Your conversion rate will thank you.
5. Enhance your product images
It is the most wonderful time of the year, and making that spirit show around your product page is always a good idea. Make your site visitors feel warm and fuzzy with some festive Christmas decoration. It could be something as simple as a holiday banner or as complex as a discount tied to decorated products.
For example, you could say all products collections with a ribbon around the image are 15% off or all product images that include a Christmas tree ornament get free shipping. Connect your store to the holiday spirit, and your visitors will be more likely to make a purchase. To seamlessly edit your product images in bulk in time for this kind of holiday promotion, try out Pixc. We get them back to you in 24 hours.
6. Make mobile a priority
Mobile sales already broke all kinds of records over the BFCM shopping week, so don’t get left behind and ignore this new eCommerce wave. Make sure your images are optimized, and keep your checkout as short as possible. Mobile buys are often impulsive, and you don’t want to get in between those emotions and the final purchase. Think “1-click buying”, and get your mobile experience as close to it as possible.
7. Autosuggest fields
People can get frustrated with filling out forms, especially on mobile. It’s aggravating to fill out dozens of tiny little boxes on a small screen, especially while standing in a line in publish somewhere as most mobile browsers often are. So offer them the smoothest ride you can! Consider removing unnecessary fields and offering 1-click buying to return customers. For the fields that are mandatory, employ an app or a plugin that auto-fills or suggests information. Autosuggestion addresses and pre-supplying that last bit of the email address (e.g @gmail.com) make for much happier shoppers.
8. Offer free shipping during the holiday sales season
Large retailers like Target have been known to offer free shipping for the entire holiday sales season.
Even if you can’t afford to offer it all month long, you can use the same strategy to get a competitive edge with those last-minute shoppers.
For the average store, the last day you can ship and deliver on time for Christmas falls around December 20th. Last minute shoppers will be more and more nervous as that day approaches and may need a little free-shipping nudge to complete their purchase. While you can’t usually change your delivery times, you can advertise free shipping to help their indecision.
9. Hire extra virtual assistants
Use Upwork or Freeeup to get extra help for the post-Christmas customer inquiries. If you’ve never hired a freelancer before, you’ll be pleased to learn the process can be super quick. You can hire an experienced hand in only a day, someone who can help keep your customers happy and coming back.
When your holiday sales are done and your customers’ deliveries have arrived, you can sigh with relief, but not for too long, because there is still more work to be done. Keep the cheer going when returns and exchanges kick in by hiring as many additional virtual assistants as you see fit to get through the post-Christmas crunch period. You’ll find that they are well worth the cash expended it takes to hire them; they make up for their costs in higher customer retention rates and long-term purchases.
10. Bulletproof returns and exchanges
Calculate your returns and exchanges cost into your margins and create a clear policy that customers have to abide by. Then, automate the process as much as possible with a combination of platforms, apps, and VAs.
Returns and exchanges are a test for your store, and although there will be the occasional abuse of your policies, use the opportunity to further engage your customers with a sense of calm and ease so you can boost your retention long-term.
11. Automate your content and promotions posting
Automation is your ultimate goal in the long run, and every aspect of your store should incorporate it in some way.
For the holiday sales period, you should automate at least your marketing campaigns so you can focus more intensely on creating a positive customer service experience. With that in mind, write your blog posts, social media posts, emails, and PPC ads in advance and have them roll out according to your content calendar.
Automate as much as possible, but keep an eye out for activity and trends on your channels and respond to them. There is always one more gift to be bought, so use your engagement data to retarget holiday shoppers right up until the last minute.
The holiday sales season is a time to sell more and to expand your consumer base. Always keep your conversion and retentions rates in mind, and think of ways how to improve them.
High volumes should never be an excuse for poor customer experience. So be wise with your store’s direction, and remember that just about every customer interaction affects your bottom line.
Adding some last minute items to your website? Make sure your images don’t look last minute! Pixc can edit your product images and have them back in 24 hours.