Whether you like to plan ahead or rush at the last minute like we do, boosting holiday sales is essential for ecommerce sellers of all kinds.
Total retail sales worldwide are expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels this holiday season, surpassing $25 trillion.
E-commerce will build on its explosive growth of 25.7% of total sales in 2020 with further expected gains of 16.8% this chapter.
How do you carve out a bigger piece of that $4.9 trillion pie?
In this column, you’ll find nine of my favorite tips for increasing ecommerce sales during the holidays. These are proven tactics I use for brands I invest my own money in, as well as client companies.
Find out what you can take away from these top marketing tips to boost your ecommerce site’s holiday sales this year.
1. Share the last day to ship
There are multiple ways to do this.
You could put a sitewide banner across the header and have a text link say, “Click here to see last day of shipping,” and show a grid with the dates for each holiday, for example.
The goal is to let your potential customer know that if they shop with you and buy today, the product will arrive just in time.
You can try to do a deal of the day with a higher item for the specific holiday they are looking for. This adds incentive to shop now instead of waiting until the actual last day to ship.
Bonus tip: If you offer free shipping, have the message on eligible products say, “This item is available for free shipping and will arrive in time for XY holiday or by date XY.” You can even do this sitewide while there is time. Try: “Last day for free shipping and guaranteed arrival is XY holiday” or “Shop now for free shipping and guaranteed arrival for XY holiday.”
2. Add Upsells and Discount to your Mini Shopping Cart
A mini shopping cart is a segment on e-commerce websites that shows you what’s in your cart versus just adding the product to your cart without any visuals or interaction.
One of my favorite tips is to offer a bigger discount to increase the Average Order Value (AOV) in your mini cart.
Knowing that the average November shopper spends $75 per order, I would recommend customers look at their database and identify the products purchased together.
Once you add one of these items to your cart, we offer an additional discount, free product, or nice feature if the person adds another product or complementary product to their cart to bring the order value above the $75 mark.
Try offering a free holiday card or gift bag if they add the product. You’ll get your brand on the bag and an increased AOV for a double win.
Bonus tip: Ensure that you are still profitable by recommending products with higher margins. If it’s a subscription or something of long-term value (LTV), you may choose to take the loss. Customer acquisition is more difficult during the holidays and you’ll make money on your next purchase.
3. Make your last-day shipping copy more relevant
Instead of just saying “last day to ship” and sharing the date, say “this arrives by Hanukkah, Christmas, solstice, etc…” depending on the product.
If you know the product is for Christmas because it’s a game and Hanukkah has passed, use Christmas.
The same goes if it’s a Hanukkah sweater or anything related to this holiday. By being relevant, you add further assurance that the person is in the right place to shop.
4. Don’t forget Diwali and other holidays
There are many other religions that celebrate holidays at this time of the year, but theirs are not held as highly.
Diwali, for example, is a holiday that gives gifts to those on the ultimate end 1% of American Indians (4 million).
Creating promotions for this audience opens your store to over 4 million people shopping for or receiving gifts. By acknowledging their faith and holidays, you are showing respect and can win new and loyal customers.
5. Inform affiliates of upcoming sales well in advance
If you have value-add affiliates in your program (partners that do more than just show up in Google for your brand with coupons or intercept your traffic with a browser extension), provide them with details of your holiday deals at least 3 weeks in advance.
When you do, you stand a better chance of being featured on their Black Friday Deals rounds, in their subscribers’ newsletters, and on their social media accounts.
6. Create a VIP-List Opt-In
If your average customer shops twice a year on your site, pull up a database of people who have purchased 4 or more times during the year.
Now create a private login or tag their account in your database so they can only access custom offers at checkout. Note: Their email and billing address must match the account in your database in order to claim the transaction.
Now, email those VIPs and ask them to sign up for a special area or email list where you’ll be releasing all of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and specials meant just for them.
In the email, be sure to tell them because they are one of your favorite customers and will continue to get these personalized deals throughout the year as a way of saying thank you.
You can also tell them that the deal is not available to anyone else. Some might try to get their friends to shop, but because the email address and billing address don’t match, the deals won’t apply and the VIPs will know it’s an exclusive offer.
7. Tap into age, ceremonies, and special occasions
A commonly overlooked tactic in holiday marketing is celebrating the events of people’s lives. If you’re like me and your birthday is also a major holiday, you’re used to people forgetting about you and paying attention to the holiday instead.
Be the brand that remembers life’s forgotten events and you will stand out.
Bonus tip: If you know the person celebrated their 16th birthday because they were shopping for their candy, or they told you in a survey, email them 3 or 4 weeks in advance. Name their 17th day and then dynamically insert products related to what they bought in the past.
Or throw them a special gift in honor of their birthday. Same goes for anniversaries, pet birthdays, friend events, etc.
8. Enable customers to customize and customize products
Another persuasive tactic is to be more inclusive. For example, you can stop selling couples products as a group.
Instead of ordering the groom and bride as a group in the wedding space, let the customer choose how many grooms and how many brides. Then let them choose skin tones.
The same goes for holiday gifts for husbands. By doing this, you make your product lines inclusive of LGBTQ, biracial, and other types of customers in a non-invasive manner. It’s just a good job.
9. Treat your employees and customer service team like gold
This is very important. Your customer service team will be just as stressed as you are because of the holiday rush, if not more.
But unlike you, your support team is constantly bombarded by customers who are in a hurry, worried about the holidays, and sometimes even abusive.
Bring your support team cake, coffee and fun surprises. You could even hire a comedian to do shows during your lunch breaks, or host contests for the most positive customer experiences. Give out gift cards and cash as prizes and let customer feedback on chat windows or surveys decide who gets it.
As a business leader, you can and should learn as many people’s names as possible, especially in the customer support area. Thank them individually for a great job during the middle and end of the season.
Host a Customer Service Team Celebration once the last day of shipping is over to celebrate your support team making your customers happy.
Your customer support team is the face of your company – not influencers or spokespeople.
Customer Support interacts directly with the people who fill out your cash registers and process your payment. When they are happy and love their job, they exceed customer expectations and generate more sales, goodwill for the brand, and valuable online reviews.
These are some sales boosting techniques that work for my clients, and I hope they help you too!
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Featured image: Shutterstock / yuda chen