Ah, the summer is coming to an end... It can be a challenge to get back to your normal pace when your head is still full of memories of palm trees, naps and granitas. But this is no time to slacken off as an e-tailer: on the contrary, it's the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the competition and plan your marketing strategy for the long succession of holidays that await us in the autumn.
The figures are there to prove it: online shopping has never been so popular. In 2020, according to a study conducted by Mastercard, online sales increased by 49% over the festive period compared to 2019. Impressive, isn't it? It would be a shame to miss out on responding to such a collective spending spree. E-commerce is popular, thanks to its obvious convenience, but also because it is safer in these times of health confusion; according to Deloitte, 65% of e-commerce shoppers during the 2020 holiday season would have chosen it out of a desire to avoid the crowds.
For these reasons, it's a good idea to start thinking about your holiday marketing strategy as early as September, or even August; it may seem a little premature, but believe us, it's worth the effort. So come on, follow us to the land of elves, roast turkeys and discounts galore, you won't regret it.
Choose the dates that best suit your targets
From October onwards, as you can see from our carefully designed calendar just for you, there are many different holidays. As you know, it is necessary to know who you want to address when you are developing your brand. This information is also relevant when choosing the holidays you want to honor: not all of these dates are celebrated by the same audience.
The most "neutral" events are probably Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which will bring together savings and bargain seekers of all nationalities and beliefs. At the same time, holidays such as Thanksgiving, for example, will not be accessible to everyone; only Canadians (for October 11) and Americans (November 25). Even if you are addressing an audience of one of these two nationalities, the event can be tricky to cover because of its political connotations.
Similarly, Christmas is far from being a holiday celebrated by everyone: it will be by Christians as well as by Westerners, especially in countries where the date is a public holiday. Halloween will also have a particular target group: rather young and Western. It's up to you to decide which of these events are relevant to your audience. You are far from being forced to be present on as many dates as possible, don't forget our credo: quality prevails over quantity.
Adapting your catalogue to better appeal
Each holiday has its own lexicon, customs and palette of colors . Take inspiration from this and hit the nail on the head by offering products specially designed for the holiday in question, particularly as this will give your products an exclusive appearance with real marketing power. A customer will be more likely to take the plunge if the limited offer gives them a sense of urgency. If you don't have a seasonal design idea, you can remix your greatest hits to suit the holiday you're interested in: don't be ashamed to recycle, you can't change a winning team. Also think about offering customisable products: as we saw in a previous article, these are extremely trendy and make very popular gifts.
A little tip to better engage your audience: the famous site PlaceIt offers, among its thousands of virtual settings, mock-ups that are perfect for illustrating the atmosphere of certain seasonal events. There is nothing better to optimise your impact on your audience than to display a super-clean catalogue composed of visuals that seem to be taken straight from a photo shoot planned for the occasion. Here is a small example of how this can be done:
You can almost smell the comforting aroma of hot chocolate and cinnamon biscuits through your screen: believe us, an atmosphere as elaborate as this one is a big seller.
Another essential point is the appropriate selection of products adapted to the sales of the season. An overly extensive catalogue can confuse the consumer, so make sure you handpick your products to offer them only the best, the must-haves, the crème de la crème. T-shirts, for example, will always be a hit, as they will be worn in summer as well as in winter, under jumpers and hoodies. Mugs, whether enamel or ceramic, are natural favourites for the hot drinks season. Home décor items such as posters and cushions are also best sellers during a time when people are enjoying their cocoon more than ever. If you are wondering about the popularity of a certain product, don't hesitate to test the waters with Google Trends by putting the keywords of your choice to the test.
Bring out your best marketing assets
An attentive public, wallets ready to be drawn... The end-of-year celebrations are the perfect time to bring out the heavy artillery of marketing tools: among these, we can count for example cross-selling, thanks to which you propose to your customers products in line with those they are interested in or that they have already ordered in the past, but also the elaboration of famous gift boxes or guides, increasing your chances of making larger orders while facilitating the quest for presents on the part of your customers.
What would Black Friday and Cyber Monday be without their breathtaking promotions? A Friday and a Monday that are all too ordinary, in short. As an e-tailer, it would be a shame to miss out on these two opportunities to optimise your conversion rate: put all your chances on your side by offering discounts on the prices in your catalogue, promotional codes specially designed for the occasion or even by offering delivery to your customers. Once again, the feeling of exclusivity of an offer is a very effective marketing lever.
It would be unthinkable to develop a marketing strategy without even considering an e-mail campaign; according to CampaignMonitor, e-mail is responsible for 20% of online shop visits during the holiday season. Similarly, customers who receive a promotional e-mail are likely to spend 138% more than other consumers. Convinced? What are you saying? More than ever? We know what you mean... Don't neglect the power of e-mail and use it without hesitation to announce your exclusive offers, your cross-selling suggestions or your gift guides.
Optimising your shop for mobile
Have you noticed that online shopping, which until recently was exclusively reserved for computers, is moving to mobile devices at a simply staggering rate? The numbers don't lie: according to the WesternUnion website, during the 2018 holiday season, 48% of purchases worldwide were made on mobile. What seemed impractical a short time ago is becoming the norm: although screen sizes have not increased much, online shops have adapted to mobile devices and are becoming more and more ergonomic.
It is therefore essential to optimise your theme for use on smartphones, especially if your shop is hosted by Shopify or Woocommerce. Some themes that are not very functional will discourage consumers, which is why it is important to choose a mobile-responsive design (i.e. one that is flexible according to the width of the screen used).
If your shop is aimed at a younger target audience (millenials or generation Z), it may also be a good idea to activate the shop option on your Instagram account, as social shopping has become increasingly popular in recent years. This practice encourages a quick purchase and centralises the brand image, consumer opinions and the sale in one place, thus reinforcing the consumer's sense of trust.
Want to explore ways to make your shop more mobile-friendly? Look no further! We recently put together a comprehensive guide especially for you:
Life is so good.
... Not forgetting practical information
Selling is good, but selling AND keeping your customers is even better. Don't hesitate to be transparent with your audience and to provide them with as much useful information as possible, such as the return policy or the expected production and delivery time, taking into account the increased number of orders. This last point is important, especially in Print on Demand, as it is not only about shipping the products but also about printing them. Usually around 2 to 3 days, allow 5 days for the production and shipping of your customer's order. To save your customers the trouble of calculating, you can also provide them with a deadline before which they can order to receive their items on time.
The point of keeping your customers well informed is, first and foremost, to maximise their satisfaction; after a bad surprise, the customer will be very unlikely to come back to you, and this is particularly unfortunate as customer retention can be a major facet of a profitable e-commerce. Similarly, displaying useful information before you are asked for it en masse will allow you to avoid spending precious hours answering each of your customers individually on your technical support, so that you can instead spend that time designing your bestseller and/or enjoying your loved ones, a little like them:
The whole year is full of marketing events that your e-commerce business can take advantage of, but if there's one time when you can pull out all the stops, it's during the holiday season. Consumers are in the starting blocks, ready to rain down hundreds (or thousands, for the greediest) of bills. It's up to you to beckon them to come and spend them with YOU, thanks to good preparation, transparency and marketing tips. We hope you monetize your business about as much as we love you (that is, ad infinitum).