Last-Minute Tips for Boosting Ecommerce Sales This Holiday Season
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 (even hours) before launch. The good news is, whether your sales event is tomorrow or still weeks ahead, there are always some tweaks you can make 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 2019 holiday calendar.
Key ecommerce marketing dates in Q4
The weeks ahead are packed with shopping holidays that present plenty of opportunities. What used to be Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas shopping, has now extended into Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, and every shopping day in between:
|29 November||Black Friday|
|30 November||Small Business Saturday|
|2 December||Cyber Monday|
|9 December||Green Monday|
|14 December||Free Shipping Day|
|21 December||Super Saturday a.k.a. Panic Saturday|
|24 December||Christmas Eve|
|25 December||Christmas Day|
|26 December||Boxing Day|
|26 December–1 January||Kwanzaa|
|31 December||New Year’s Eve|
To help you get ready for the most wonderful time of the year, I’ve broken down the preparation process into digestible bites:
- Create a compelling offer
- Optimize your product photos and descriptions
- Create a sense of urgency
- Connect with your email subscribers
- Boost your social media presence
- Provide clear info on shipping policies and deadlines
- Ensure a seamless shopping experience.
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.
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.
Tip #1: Start a storewide sale and add discounts. Bold Discounts – Instant Sales App lets you do this in seconds.
Tip #2: 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.
Tip #3: 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.
To make this deal easier on you as the store owner, look into upselling and cross-selling techniques.
Tip #4: Create a landing page with all your offers (e.g., yourwebsite.com/cybermonday).
Make sure your customers find what they need as soon as they can. Depending on the marketplace 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.
Tip #5: 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 lets you do this is Better Coupon Box.
Tip #6: Offer free shipping or conditional free shipping for orders of a specific value. Make sure to protect your profit margins though—include the shipping cost in your retail price.
Tip #7: Add a gift card your customers can redeem with the next purchase.
Tip #8: Add an opt-in wheel. There’s just something magical about wheels of fortune. They’re one of many irresistible gamification tools that make the shopping experience more memorable, and it’s a great way to build your email list. Take a look at plugins like WP Optin Wheel.
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 almost there! Your task now is to convince your visitors to make a purchase, so your product photos and descriptions play a key role here.
Tip #9: Order product samples and do a winter-themed product shoot.
Tip #10: If you don’t have product samples on hand for a photoshoot, create mockups for new designs using our mockup generator—this year alone we’ve added more than 100 new product mockups for our bestselling products!
Tip #11: Add special mentions to Black Friday & Cyber Monday in the product descriptions.
Tip #12: Add product videos. Customers are up to 85% more likely to buy after watching a product video. Placeit (affiliate link, read more here) offers marketers a step-by-step, easy-to-use process for creating brand mockups and demo videos with no Photoshop skills required.
To make your store look even more professional and trust-worthy, consider adding “how it’s made” type of content. Printful offers mockups for all products as well as footage of the production process that you can use for your promotions.
3. 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.
4. Connect with your email subscribers
Email marketing generated 24% of holiday sales in 2018, so if you already have an email list filled with previous buyers and leads, start communicating with them asap.
Tip #14: 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 2020 promotions and cross-sell to them.
5. Boost your social media presence
Tip #15: Use social proof to show real people 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 customers.
Tip #16: Pin your deals at the top of your Facebook page so it’s the first post that people see when they visit your page.
Tip #18: Collaborate with micro-influencers. Niche audiences are likely to convert at a high rate when advised by a trusted influencer.
Micro-influencers (social media personalities with 10,000–100,000 followers) are more accessible, relatable, and less costly than people with millions of followers. You may need to reach out to several influencers to find someone interested in working with you. However, finding the right fit can do wonders for your brand.
Once you’ve made an agreement, ask the influencer to buy the product off your store and reimburse them for their purchase. This way the influencer will be able to fully experience your brand and promote your products in a more organic way. Plus, they’ll give you valuable feedback about their shopping experience.
Make sure to provide a unique discount code that the influencer can share with their audience. This will help you keep track of how many sales this collaboration has generated.
6. 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.
Tip #19: 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.
Tip #20: Promote expedited shipping options. Many last-minute shoppers will be willing to pay a little more to get their gifts on time, so make sure to take advantage of this opportunity.
7. Ensure a seamless shopping experience
I certainly belong to those 90% of shoppers who leave an ecommerce site that fails to load fast enough. Bargain-hunters have short attention spans and a low tolerance for errors, so make sure the shopping process in your store is as frictionless as possible.
Tip #21: 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 gonna hurt the most.
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.
Tip #23: 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, so track 404 errors using Google Search Console.
Tip #24: 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 cart, 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.
Be ready to make some changes after you’ve scanned the market, like adjust prices or add new hashtags.
Tip #25: Check out Amazon’s bestsellers on your launch day.
A thought to ponder
Above all, 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 2019.
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!