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Another Black Friday has come and gone, but if you are already feeling behind, don’t get discouraged. It isn’t too late to put some lucrative marketing tactics into play if you get to work.

Online shopping continues to increase year over year. According to projections from Forbes, online sales for the holidays this year are expected to reach $94.71 billion. This equates to over 10% of the projected holiday retail dollars spent for the first time in history. Small, niche e-commerce retailers stand to make a significant difference to their bottom line if they do a good job of reaching their new and existing customers.

Here is a quick reminder list about some old and new strategies you should consider to make the most of the opportunity.

  • Shipping is a critical buying decision influence! If you haven’t, look at ways to offer free or reduced rate shipping options, even if you have to increase your prices slightly to help make up the margin. Free shipping is worth considering, particularly if your competitors are using that strategy.  
  • Ramp up  your social media presence – If you have already made connections with your customers, they are telling you they want to hear from you, and you should take advantage of it. Posting to various social media channels which are relevant to you, can help influence shoppers when they are ready to buy. Try to keep the content lighthearted, and not too heavy on the sales message; people want to feel good during the holiday season.
  • Email marketing is still crucial: Sending email marketing campaigns will be a key driver for you, if they are done strategically. See the Key Dates section below for some more consideration.
  • Take advantage of the increased customer base to make a better 2017! You have a golden opportunity to make long-term customers of people who may be shopping with you for the first time. Getting them to sign up for your mailing list, and other marketing channels will pay well beyond the 2016 holiday season.
  • If you haven’t implemented email remarketing, you should consider the investment. There are a number of solutions which can integrate nicely and automate some additional marketing channels you haven’t been able to capitalize on until recent years. A lot of your competitors haven’t boarded that train yet, and you can gain a foothold here.
Key Dates you haven’t missed yet:
  • December 12: “Green Monday” – This is historically the biggest online sales day in December, and running holiday-themed promotions (coupon codes?) can yield great results. Post your specials prominently on the website, and ideally support it with an email/social media campaign
  • December 14: Generally the last day to order online with standard shipping. Remind your customers!
  • December 18: Free Shipping Day – Retailers frequently offer free shipping options with delivery in time for Christmas Eve. You should make sure if possible to be clear with customers which regions are eligible to get the items in time, to avoid a bad customer experience.

Final notes: Most importantly, don’t forget to track your results! Analyzing your web traffic, sales and conversion rates year-over-year will be critical to evaluating your success and planning for next year. If you use Google Analytics, make sure that campaign codes are properly applied to links to make for easy tracking and segmentation. Happy holidays, and a merry selling season to you!

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