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How to Boost Your eCommerce Sales During the Holiday Season

Holidays are around the corner! This time of the year is often the best regarding sales, and it's vital to capitalize on the customers searching for great deals and gifts.

Online shoppers are smart and choosy - before reaching for their wallets, they often search and compare. You’ll be facing fierce competition with other stores so get ready for the big days.

Victoria's secret

A holiday image from Victoria's secret online store


1. Lead customers into the right holiday-shopping mood by decorating your online store

Get people excited about the holidays and the time of giving by changing the look and feel of your store. A dose of the holiday spirit will encourage your visitors to start shopping at your site.

You can use small, simple festive elements inspiring the feeling of Christmas, warmth, family, and childhood. For example, apply a falling snow effect (try this HTML code or this one) or add a Santa hat or a gift box to your logo.

An example from Canon store

Canon store

Alternatively, you can do a complete overhaul of your page adopting festive themes, colors, and design or even create a dedicated Christmas landing page.

Tip. Traditional elements like animals, bells, and lights are cute but consider something more original, like Origins does by incorporating two opposites - snowflakes and flowers within the same holiday theme.

origins

Tip. You may create a holiday theme that resonates with your products as Tiffany did.

Tiffany

2. Supplement your site with engaging content

Set your store apart from competitors by providing valuable holiday tips around the products you’re selling.

This can be done in the form of:

  • Holiday gift-guides are making it easier to find the right gift for a particular type of recipient (for example – gifts for parents, friends, colleagues, children, techies, etc.).
  • How-to-guides with practical tips on how to use a chosen product
  • A Top 10 list of gifts in a particular category
  • Best gifts under $50, etc.
  • Stocking stuffers

An example from Amazon

holiday

A lot of e-commerce stores run their blogs - you can incorporate helpful and inspirational content there, too.

Another trend is video content. Consider creating a catchy and exciting holiday-focused or gift-related video to boost customer engagement.

Tip. Search engines rank regularly updated websites higher so refresh your product descriptions and visuals often. Add Christmas keywords to your meta tags, content, images, and product descriptions so search engines index your holiday content.


Woostroid

3. Offer free shipping

Did you know that shipping costs are among top reasons for shopping cart abandonment? Free shipping is gradually becoming a norm, and customers expect it already.

So, if you don’t offer free delivery while your competitors do, your sales are at risk! Consider paying the shipping at least for the holiday season. It will cost you a bit more, but it’s necessary policy at this time of the year.

You can provide it unconditionally as Origins does

Origins does

or set a minimum threshold as Missguided does.

Missguided does

According to a study by ComScore study, about 58% of shoppers are ready to add more items to their cart to get free delivery.

You kill two birds with one stone - satisfy customers with free shipping and incentivize them to buy more!


4. Capitalize on fast shipping

Have you ever bought gifts at the last moment? I guess it happened to all of us. Hectic lifestyles make people postpone holiday shopping until the final days.

Many of us don’t hurry because fast delivery is already seen as standard. That’s why quick shipping is not any less important than free shipping, and it gets increasingly critical as the holidays get closer.

Considering this, try to ship orders out the same day or within 24-48 hours - this will give you a substantial competitive advantage and boost your last-minute sales.

For example, Sephora provides a 1-day shipping option

Sephora


5. Make use of upsells, cross-sells and bundles

Amazon once reported that 35% of their revenue comes from upselling and cross-selling deals.

The holiday season is the time to make the most of these selling techniques. Analyze the data you collect about your customers to predict what other products might be of interest to them and create multiple bundle items or upselling offers.

Upselling. Means suggesting a customer a higher-quality, higher-priced item. If done with customers’ best interests in mind, it can delight them (when they can get an excellent bargain for a better-quality product that will serve them better).

Cross-selling. When customers buy a product, they are likely to need complementary items or accessories so suggest what might be of use to them.

Bundle offers. Determine what products would pair well together and create bundle deals. Many businesses pair up slow-moving items with complementary products and repackage them as a bundle.


multifly

6. Install a live chat to talk to your customers and lead them to a purchase

No matter how clear everything is on your site, people will have questions.

You’ll need a fast and reliable way to communicate with them. Consider installing a live chat to talk to your customers in real time and offer personalized help.

Don't waste money on expensive chats that offer a lot of complicated functionalities - you don’t have time for that during the holiday season. It's better to install an affordable and easy-to-use live chat, like HelpCrunch.

You will be able to instantly answer questions, help in choosing the best gift, and quickly resolve queries or returns on the spot.

But just reacting to your visitors’ requests is not enough for high sales. Engage people with proactive live chat messages automatically triggered when a visitor performs a particular action in your store.

Thanks to the visitor monitoring features integrated into HelpCrunch, you can:

  • greet a visitor upon entering your shop
  • offer help if a person hits your store repeatedly
  • help those who are stuck on a particular page for a longer time than usual - they are likely to have questions
  • offer discounts and promotions
  • target specific customers with upselling and cross-selling offers

For example,

selling

Another great power of HelpCrunch proactive live chat lies in preventing cart abandonment on the spot. People often leave without buying when they have doubts about the products, shipping costs, or are experiencing a difficulty with the payment procedure.

Use analytics to determine the average time the visitor spends on the cart page and trigger a proactive message earlier.

selling

You can guide the customer through the payment procedure if he/she is experiencing a difficulty.

selling

You can convince your visitor to checkout by triggering a message with a discount offer.

selling

A Forrester research study has revealed that reactive chat gives a return on investment (ROI) of 15% while proactive chat increases this value to 105%.

Be ready to stay online in the chat for as long as you can and reply quickly (ideally within 5-10 seconds). Great support leads to an emotional connection with your brand and people will come back to you when they need to buy more. Because you were fast, friendly and helpful.



7. Improve your site stability and improve load time

Make sure you’re prepared to deal with the onslaught of holiday shoppers and handle an increase in traffic. It’s not only the total crash of your site but any slowdowns that can damage customer engagement and sales levels.

People just don’t want to wait.

According to a Kissmetrics report, 47% of people expect a website to load in no more than 2 seconds.

Do stress testing with your developers before the holiday season. Also, make other necessary evaluations to ensure your site is working correctly:

  • make sure both channels - web and mobile - are running smoothly
  • upgrade security software
  • test checkout and payment processes
  • check the usability of search functions
  • make sure your website is easy to navigate

8. Provide holiday discounts and promotions

According to a Deloitte survey, bargains and discounts are the most significant motivators for shoppers visiting new online stores.

These may be gift cards for select purchases, a discount on every second purchase, discounts on bundled deals, volume discounts, refer-a-friend discounts and many others.

Also, you can do a good thing and boost sales at the same time by donating a part of the money to charity or a particular cause for every online purchase.

An example of Everything Happy

happy

To make your promotional offers super efficient, incorporate urgency and scarcity. Some techniques are:

  • limit the time of your discount offer
  • place a live countdown clock
  • create scarcity by showing the product is low in stock
  • display how many people have viewed and bought a given item
  • indicate when a particular item has just been purchased

An example from Boohoo

Boohoo

These tactics evoke a feeling that it’s best to act quickly and grab what they need now, or they will miss it.

Another way to increase sales is extending your holiday sales promotions after the deadline has passed, keeping the momentum of the holiday season well into the new year.

This is an opportunity to engage shoppers, build loyalty and get rid of excess stock.


9. Use action-based email campaigns to drive sales

Email continues to be a powerful conversion tool for e-commerce so don’t overlook this channel.

Generic mass emails are not very useful - you need to organize marketing campaigns with personalized action-based emails depending on customers’ browsing histories, their actions in your online store, and their previous purchases.

Send personalized follow-up emails offering exclusive discounts and promotions. Include holiday greetings, relevant product updates, announcements of new collections, etc.

You can use specific email automation tools like MailChimp, Aweber, SendGrid or opt for an all-in-one customer communication tool combining email automation and live chat in one software, like HelpCrunch.

How to encourage people to leave their email address:

  • A registration form that demands only one line for the email address
  • Offer a discount for signing up for an email list
  • Promise to send alerts on upcoming sales and best deals
  • Activate a pre-chat form where users must provide their email before asking a question via live chat

An example from Aveda

AVEDA

And Canon entices shoppers to leave their email by treating them like VIPs.

VIP


10. Get social

Use all social media channels to stir up buzz around your brand, generate lots of visits to your store and boost engagement and sales.

  • Announce your special prices, discounts or product combination promotions on social networks
  • Refresh your social media pages with a holiday look and feel
  • Share photos of your products in festive wrapping
  • Ask your followers questions to generate engagement. For example, place two items next to each other and ask users which one they would pick for holidays: “The red dress or the black dress?”
  • Ask customers to share their carts on Facebook or Twitter accounts to get your promotional deals with a single click
  • Share photos of your most popular gift products
  • Create holiday contests that encourage registration, product recommendations, and purchases. For example, when a customer recommends someone who also buys from you, give a discount to both. Or organize a holiday-themed photo-contest with a prize or a discount as a reward
  • Share your gift tips such as “last minute gift ideas” or “10 items under than $30 on social channels.
  • Allow cross-platform logins through social media to make checkout process smooth and easy.

11. Offer gift wrapping options

This is a small but pleasant add-on, right? The gift doesn’t look as festive without cool wrapping paper. With this, there is no need to run around and search for wrapping services. Show this possibility alongside the product and give several options to choose from.

An example from ThingsRemembered

ThingsRemembered

You’re making people’s shopping experience smooth and worry free, and this will give you an edge over your competitors.

We hope these ideas will help provide a better shopping experience for your customers and bring a great sales season to your online store. What other techniques do you use to maximize profits during the holidays? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.


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MonsterPost Editorial

Posting contributed articles about the major web design highlights and novelties. Come across a handful of useful tutorials and guides shared by experts in the web design and online marketing fields.

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