Retail sales in the United States jumped positively during the 2021 holiday season, with sales growing by 16.1%, the fastest growth rate in more than 20 years.
Will 2022 see a similar trend? With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday on the horizon, e-commerce sales during the period are expected to grow by 15.5% to $235.86 billion.
So, how can you maximize your returns during the busy period? Follow this guide for increasing your holiday sales in 2022.
1. Optimize your online checkout process
It all starts with your website. If you want to make more sales, you need to make it easy to purchase.
To increase conversions, focus on cutting friction during the checkout process. They’ve already agreed to buy, you don’t want to make things difficult for your customers now, as you may lose them forever.
You shouldn’t overload your customers with requirements and boxes they have to fill out when they’re checking out. Instead, stagger the process so customers can move from one section to the next. You should also give your customers full visibility of what’s in their basket at all stages of the checkout process.
You should also consider how fast your site loads during checkout. People are stressed during the holidays and having a slow site will only add to their headaches. 70% of digital shoppers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer.
Website conversion rates also drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time. You want to get your site to load around 2.2 seconds or less.
For WebSell merchants, Next Gen E-commerce represents the best way for retailers to increase their site speed and checkout process. Our new site themes ensure your site loads quickly and customers can fly through checkout, with our completely re-imagined process.
Learn more about Next Gen E-commerce or contact us via the usual channels to find out more.
2. Create holiday-specific landing pages
Create landing pages that are specifically designed to entice site visitors to make a purchase from your website. If you are running any kind of paid ads to bring traffic to your store (and you should be), then you need to create landing pages that are contextually aligned to the reason that customers found your site: the keyword.
During the holiday season, you may be driving extra traffic due to a special holiday season sale you are promoting or a similar seasonal offer. Your landing page should tell your customers about the offer and how they can avail of it.
Your key messaging should also highlight the time-sensitive nature of the offer and feature a clear path to making a purchase with a clearly labeled Call-to-Action (CTA).
Instead of using just your product pages as a destination, you could create multi-product landing pages which do tend to convert more than single-product ones.
3. Publish (and promote) a holiday gift guide
Everyone searches for gift ideas during the holiday shopping season. A digital holiday gift guide can be one of the most effective tools in your holiday marketing tool box. A gift guide lets you talk about your products and industry, while also capturing search traffic with high buying intent.
However, a gift guide is more than just a list of products in a catalog though, it has to be carefully crafted and promoted.
Your holiday gift guide should be as data-driven as possible, with your top sellers featuring in a specific section dedicated to your most popular products. Consumer and market trends should also inspire your gift guide, so make yourself aware of what activities or styles are trending with your target audience and try to capitalize on them.
Gift guides are also SEO goldmines as it will be a lengthy piece of content containing all of the keywords your website will want to rank for this holiday season. Google loves this type of content.
A fully SEO-optimized gift guide will bring new search traffic to your store and help you take customers from the competition.
4. Create competitions on social media to engage customers
Running competitions on social media is always a great way to keep your customers engaged around the holiday season and can help to convert both online and offline traffic.
Simple ideas like running a small-item giveaway where the winner has to collect in-store can be a great way to win a customer and get them into your store. This can also be used as an online to offline conversion, which is very important during the holiday season.
People are busy during the holidays, so they might browse online and then pop into your brick-and-mortar when they’re out doing their shopping.
5. Run Paid Search ads targeting holiday season traffic
Impulse buys and product searches peak during the holiday season. Giving your PPC campaigns some extra attention during this time can have a big impact on your website traffic. Incorporating holiday season language and keywords into your campaigns can increase traffic and sales when done right.
The key trend to recognize around this time of year is the increase in the value of traffic as people searching during the holiday season have real purchase intent behind their browsing and searches, so it’s traffic worth paying for.
Paying for search ads isn’t just for big businesses either. Small businesses with niche products can find real success bidding on key searches in their local area.
PPC can give you a much-needed boost to your e-commerce sales during the holiday season. Whether it’s via Google or Microsoft, WebSell’s PPC team can run your PPC campaigns for you. Our team regularly averages an ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) of over 1600%. Find out more or talk to us via the usual channels about PPC today.
6. Promote your unique selling points to your online store visitors
We take it for granted sometimes, but visitors to your site may have landed on a specific product or category page in their search. The means you need to let them know exactly what makes your business unique and why they should buy from you.
On every page of your e-commerce site you should be highlighting your Unique Selling Points. This could be your free shipping over XX amount offer, or your wide selection of products. Whatever sets you apart from the competition, you need to tell your visitors.
Here’s an example of Unique Selling Point promotion on the website from WebSell customer Boards Direct:
Customers also might not always be aware of any seasonal offers or special discounts you are advertising right now, so make sure every page is advertising it.
7. Optimize your website for mobile
Over the busy holiday season, customers are shopping online through a variety of devices. Mobile currently accounts for over half of the world’s web traffic, so if your site doesn’t function well on mobile devices, you’re effectively fighting with one hand tied behind your back.
Not having a mobile-friendly website will also hurt your organic search performance as Google now ranks sites with good mobile optimization higher than those with a poor mobile experience.
8. Make your most popular items easy to find
It almost goes without saying, but you need to make sure your most popular items are always easy to find on your site. During the holiday season you will attract a lot of new traffic who have never been on your website before.
This makes them highly likely to bounce from your site if they don’t find what they want straight away. To prevent this, make your top selling products easy to find on your homepage.
9. Always be aware of your inventory levels
When promoting a seasonal offer, you should be fully aware of the level of stock you have in-store so that you can meet customer expectations. Selling out of stock isn’t ideal during the holiday season, but there’s still ways to make the best out of the situation through clever marketing.
As WebSell merchants use a fully integrated e-commerce platform, inventory levels always stay synchronized between the website and brick-and-mortar store. That means you’ll never sell an item that you don’t have in stock.
Running systems that aren’t integrated during the holiday season can mean lots of headaches and extra busy work for your staff.
Related: How to Profit from Product Sell-Outs
10. Create a strong customer loyalty program
Most online retailers will agree that customers acquired during the holiday season have a lower lifetime value than those acquired at any other time of the year. With that in mind, it’s essential that you try and turn these one-hit customers into brand advocates.
Offering a strong customer loyalty program can help you retain customers during a time where competition is high. According to recent research, customers that redeem loyalty points for their purchase spend 2.5 times more than non-members.
Building a good loyalty rewards email marketing flow can be very effective in ensuring your customers are always aware of the benefits of their membership.
11. Deliver excellent customer service
Today’s customers expect answers to their questions immediately, and on whatever channel they prefer to communicate via. Whether it be website, email, phone, or social media, you have to be able to answer your customer questions.
Having multiple channels for customers to communicate with your customer service team is crucial around the holiday season as people want to be able to contact you no matter what channel they are using.
Ensuring that your website has a live chat feature enabled is the first step in letting your customers know that you can handle their queries in a timely manner.
12. Make sure you have reviews available for your products and business
Product reviews have a big part to play in your website’s conversion rate. Reviews help build trust and loyalty in your brand and set you apart from the competition.
Incentivizing your customers with extra reward points or special offers for submitting a review can encourage your customers to write reviews. Customer reviews are awesome because they give you real-life qualitative feedback on your product and service.
The stats show that reviews are important too. 86% of customers say they read a review before making a decision. If you find you have a lot of traffic but a poor conversion rate, then you need to consider adding more reviews for your business or products to your site.
13. Personalize the online shopping experience
You already collect a huge amount of data from your customers every time they interact with your site. Using this information to market to your audience can help to personalize the shopping experience which can lead to more sales over the holiday season. It also builds trust if you do it right, as customers will see you’re using their data effectively.
Different pages on your website can show different information depending on how a user has shopped on your site in the past. You could also send personalized emails to customers based on how they’ve shopped in the past.
By looking at past data you can also predict how your customers will shop in the future. Send targeted emails to your customers based on their shopping habits, and you’ll turn your customers into loyal shoppers.
14. Optimize your SEO for holiday-specific keywords
Holiday season keywords bring in a huge amount of traffic over this period, with customers searching for holiday deals and special offers. Optimizing your SEO to get some of this traffic doesn’t have to be a big task though.
Simply changing your pages’ meta description and URLs to feature some holiday-specific keywords can pay dividends for your traffic and conversion rates.
Don’t completely overhaul your pages either though. If you already have good organic rankings, you don’t want to endanger those by completely redoing your site content.
15. Offer Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store
Around two-thirds of purchases during the holiday season are done in brick-and-mortar stores, so it’s crucial to understand your online to offline conversions. There’s also a strong argument to be made for focusing a holiday season marketing campaign around online to offline sales.
A key tactic that many retailers are adopting is the “Buy Online & Pick Up In-Store” feature which drives conversions, but also develops in-store traffic and footfall. It’s taking an online sale and bringing the experience in-store.
Offering Buy Now, Pay Later options also helps your customers out during financially stressful times. With the global cost of living crisis, offering options can help you win customers and reduce cart abandonment.
16. Have a secure website
One of the simplest, but often overlooked holiday sales tips is to make sure your website is secure. Having an unsecure site can really impact negatively on your conversion rates. Customers expect their personal information to be stored securely and safely when checking out.
If you don’t see this padlock icon in the address bar of your browser then your site isn’t secure:
Secure your site by getting an SSL certificate. Contact your WebSell account manager to secure your site before it affects your ecommerce sales.
17. Offer free shipping
It’s a business decision and it might not be viable for everyone, but if you can offer free shipping for your products, then you should seriously consider it.
58% of online shoppers add more items to their cart to qualify for free shipping. When looking to increase the average order value and size of your holiday shoppers’ baskets, free shipping is one of the best incentives to get you there.
18. Leverage the power of user-generated content (UGC)
User-generated content, UGC for short, is the process of using content from your customers to sell your products, and it works. UGC results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or websites without it.
During the holiday season, customers are more likely to trust the opinions of other people as opposed to businesses. Use this by incorporating UGC into your marketing tactics. Place reviews from real people on your site or show feedback you’ve received on your social media profiles.
Be as transparent as you can during the holiday season as you don’t want a bad experience from one customer to impact negatively on your holiday retail sales.
The holiday season can make or break a successful year in retail. With the above tactics, you can give yourself the best chance to end the year on a high.
Note that while the above tactics are optimized for the holiday season, they remain true all year round and can be used at any time of the year to bring more traffic and online sales to your store.
We hope you found this useful and you use this guide to improve ecommerce holiday sales.
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