7 Ways to Boost Your Holiday Sales in 2021
Can you believe it’s crunch time already?
If last year tells us anything, it’s that most store owners will still be wrapping up their holiday promotions just days (or even hours) before launching the sale. The good news is, whether your sales event is tomorrow or weeks ahead, you can always make some tweaks to boost your online sales.
In this post, I’m going to give you some practical tips that will help drive traffic to your website and convert customers.
First, let’s take a quick look at the most important dates in the 2021 holiday calendar so you know what to prepare for in November and December.
Key ecommerce marketing dates in Q4
The weeks ahead are packed with shopping holidays that present plenty of opportunities. What used to be Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, has now turned into weeks filled with discounts and deals.
|25 November||Thanksgiving (US)|
|26 November||Black Friday|
|27 November||Small Business Saturday|
|28 November–6 December||Hanukkah|
|29 November||Cyber Monday|
|13 December||Green Monday|
|14 December||Free Shipping Day|
|24 December||Christmas Eve|
|25 December||Christmas Day|
|26 December||Boxing Day (UK, Canada, Australia)|
|26 December–1 January||Kwanzaa|
|31 December||New Year’s Eve|
Some of these dates don’t ring a bell? Check out our ecommerce marketing calendar to learn more about each of these holidays.
To help you get ready for the most wonderful time of the year, I’ve broken down the preparation process into digestible pieces. You’ll also find actionable tips for each step. Choose what works best for your store depending on your goals and how much time you have before the sales event you’re preparing for.
Let’s jump right into it!
1. Create a compelling offer
The overall success of the holiday season boils down to how good your offer is. Keep in mind that most Black Friday Cyber Monday shoppers will be looking for at least 20% off, so you want your deal to be competitive.
Read also: 5 Black Friday Cyber Monday Predictions
Before deciding on discounts and deals, you have to choose the products you’re going to promote. The products you display don’t have to be set in stone—the beauty of dropshipping is you can add new products at the drop of a hat. Learn more about dropshipping in this post.
- Start a storewide sale and add discounts. Bold Discounts – Instant Sales App lets you change prices across all store in seconds.
- Embellish your website with banners where you mention discounts, free shipping, or shipping deadlines in big, bold letters. If you run a Shopify store, you can create a site-wide banner by just copying a few lines of code into your theme.
- Introduce a doorbuster deal for one product. A discount of 80% may just bring a tear of joy to your customer’s eye and is a great way to drive traffic. Think of a product that’s been getting less attention than you’d like—this could be a good candidate for a doorbuster sale.
Make sure your customers find what they need as soon as they can. Create a landing page with all your offers (e.g., yourwebsite.com/blackfriday).
Depending on the platform you’re using, you can create a separate landing page with all your offers that your ads and emails will direct back to. The layout of this landing page should be intuitive and attractive. The less friction your potential customer encounters, the better the chance of converting them.
- Add pop-up windows with coupon codes. Research shows that coupons make people happier. Try welcoming your visitors with a discount for their first purchase or add a holiday coupon code to exit intent pop-ups. One of the apps that let you do this is Better Coupon Box.
- Offer free shipping or conditional free shipping for orders over a specific value. Make sure to protect your profit margins though—include the shipping cost in your retail price.
- Add a gift card your customers can redeem with the next purchase.
2) Optimize your product photos and descriptions
When someone clicks on your product it doesn’t guarantee they’ll add it to cart—but they’re on their way! Your task now is to convince your visitors to make a purchase, and your product photos and descriptions are the key to closing the deal.
- Update your product descriptions, mentioning that they make the perfect gift. Include the keywords Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the descriptions so the shoppers could find your offer with ease.
- Do a winter-themed product shoot. If you don’t have products on hand for a photoshoot, create mockups for new designs using our Design Maker.
- Add product videos. Customers are up to 85% more likely to buy after watching a product video, and the vast majority of consumers prefer videos that are under 60 seconds.
Remember that for Facebook and Instagram, the users need to tap on your video to hear the audio, so your intro needs to be engaging even without the sound. Consider adding “how it’s made” type of content if you make your products or some behind-the-scenes video of the design process.
3) Provide clear info on shipping policies and deadlines
Many of your website visitors will be looking for products to be delivered before Christmas Eve, so be very upfront about your shipping cut-off dates.
- Run a site-wide banner with your shipping deadlines. It will be easy for customers to see, no matter where they are in their shopping journey.
- Promote expedited shipping options. Many last-minute shoppers will be willing to pay a little more to get their gifts on time, so make the most of this opportunity.
4) Create a sense of urgency
I don’t know about you, but I can’t get anything done without a deadline. There’s so much going on at the end of the year, and with so many deals around, it’s easy to get sidetracked.
Help those last-minute shoppers make decisions by giving them clear deadlines, rather than launching a never-ending sale.
- Add a countdown timer to build excitement. Countdown Timer by POWr lets you add one in the blink of an eye.
5) Connect with your email subscribers
If you already have an email list filled with previous buyers and leads, start communicating with them asap.
- Send out a teaser email a couple of days in advance, reminding that Black Friday is almost here, and promote your offers.
If you don’t have an email list, start building it now and add on to it next year, so that you could retarget your customers with your 2022 promotions and cross-sell to them.
6) Boost your social media presence
If you don’t have your social media marketing strategy locked in for the holiday season, now’s the time to change that.
- Use social proof to show customers enjoying your products. 66% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product if the website includes social media posts with pictures and videos from other people.
- Pin your deals at the top of your Facebook page so it’s the first post that people see when they visit your page.
- Make your Instagram and Pinterest shoppable. Instagram has made commerce possible directly on-platform. Shoppable posts redirect the visitor to your site or allow shopping within Instagram.
Pinterest’s Shop feature now includes prices, in-store/out-of-stock information, and takes the visitor to the store website to make a purchase there.
- Collaborate with micro-influencers. Niche audiences are likely to convert at a high rate when advised by a trusted influencer. Microinfluencers are a great fit for smaller niche brands looking to grow their audience. Since microinfluencers have smaller audiences too, their followers are very loyal and highly engaged.
7) Ensure a seamless shopping experience
I certainly belong to those 90% of shoppers who leave an ecommerce site that fails to load within a couple of seconds. Bargain-hunters have short attention spans and a low tolerance for errors, so make sure the shopping process in your store is frictionless.
- Test the payment gateway to make sure the payment process works smoothly. A customer leaving your site because of a checkout glitch is what’s going hurt the most.
- Reduce cart abandonment by adding a countdown timer to the shopping cart. Use the Countdown cart app or a similar tool.
- Did you know the 404 Error page (Page Not Found) is an untapped revenue source? It’s a cunning way of turning lost visitors into customers. Create a personalized design for your 404 error page and include your product categories so visitors can easily go back to shopping if they happen to land here.
- While a creative 404 page is a cool marketing strategy, you should make sure your customers get to your actual website. You can track 404 errors using Google Search Console.
On the day before the launch
Double-check everything on your store on desktop and mobile. You should prepare your online store for increased holiday traffic, so test everything, from the essentials to bells and whistles: CTA buttons, shopping carts, shipping settings, pop-ups, and banners.
Some things you’ll have to do the day of or on the fly. One of the most important things before and on the launch day is to do a competitor analysis. You don’t want to find out that your competitor is selling a similar product for way less.
- Check out Amazon’s bestsellers on your launch day. Be ready to make some changes after you’ve scanned the market, like adjusting prices or adding new hashtags.
Customer service above all
Most importantly, be ready to provide customer service and answer people’s questions. Your goal this holiday season should not only be to generate sales, but also build brand awareness.
If you’re there for your visitors and do your best to help them out, they’ll remember you next time they’re in the mood for shopping.
Your store doesn’t need to be perfect to make a good impression; it just needs a little bit of care and preparation. Put some of these tips to use and I’m sure you’ll have one more thing to be thankful for when you look back at this very unusual year.
I can’t wait to see your store shine this holiday season! Let me know in the comments which tips you’ll try out for your business!
This article was originally published in November 2019; it has since been updated.