he holiday season is the most profitable time for retailers. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still affects how retailers do business and is changing how customers shop.
With in-store capacities limited and consumers limiting their exposure to crowds mainly because of the pandemic, in-person events such as Black Friday are unlikely to happen at full scale. That's why big and small businesses are now focusing on online sales to entice more shoppers.
In this post, we'll walk you through the nine clever ways on how to boost your online sales this holiday season:
1. Start holiday advertising early
Early preparation is key if you want to run an outstanding holiday sale. While brick and mortar stores may be putting up holiday decorations and changing their playlists, online businesses should be looking for entirely different strategies.
Fortunately, online shopping has grown its popularity over the last couple of years, and the Covid-19 pandemic has made the growth even more exponential. So, spend some time looking up the holiday strategies of your top competitors, and then determine which strategy you want to use to reach your target audience.
You should take your time looking up online strategies that work well with your e-commerce site and see how you can apply this to your plan to set up your business for online success this year.
2. Ensure mobile optimization
Trends point out that many sales take place via tablets and smartphones, particularly in the holiday season. That's why it's essential to have a mobile-friendly site for your customers to access. Otherwise, they might not have a great experience browsing from their phones.
Search engines like Google are also now preferring mobile-friendly sites. So, even if you have an aesthetically pleasing site, your rankings may decline if your site doesn't work well with mobile devices.
This pandemic is an excellent time for businesses to educate themselves on the versatile role that mobile shopping will play in the future of e-commerce. It's better to invest in developing a future-proof mobile strategy now than to risk becoming obsolete in the future.
3. Embrace the "Buy Now, Pay Later" option
The Buy Now, Pay Later feature is one of the latest additions to many e-commerce payment methods. Buy Now, Pay Later, allows shoppers to shop on credit, and pay for the items they purchased at a later time.
This consumer credit system helps boost conversions and allows the buyer to make purchases without the immediate pressure of having to pay for them. With up to 54% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, this added flexibility can make a huge difference in your store's conversion rate.
This method is quite the same with credit card payments, provided that the seller doesn't immediately receive the payment. Outstanding bills are settled on a much later date, which you should keep in mind when managing your store's cash flow.
4. Give loyal customers early access deals
Customers want to feel that they're special and that they're your priority. Therefore, giving them exclusive offers or early access to sales can be a powerful method of building that rapport. You can provide your existing customers with early bird deals and exclusive discounts, often without any added expenses on your part.
The excitement of exclusive deals can encourage purchases that might not have otherwise occurred. In the same way, it can also lead to repeat purchases. This is a powerful sales technique and can be implemented as easily as changing your advertising copy.
5. Provide quality customer service
Since delays are more likely to happen on holiday season shopping, you need to compensate by providing your customers with a high-value customer service experience. If need be, consider the possibility of outsourcing customer support to a call center to ensure that your customers receive timely assistance and support.
Your service team members should know detailed information about the person behind every service request, by accessing your customer database. Your customer information database should include recent purchases, lifetime value, loyalty membership details, demographics, contact history, broad interests, and so on.
With these insights, it's easier for you and your team to prioritize requests from high-value customers, review previous conversations with various agents for context, streamline identity verification, and send in personalized responses through any channel. Implementing these factors correctly should play a visible role in decreasing your business's returns and chargebacks.
6. Spread the word on social media
Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are powerful tools that can be invaluable in your arsenal. So, don't neglect the importance of connecting with your customers through social media. Doing so allows you to interact and build relationships with your existing customers while also targeting prospective ones.
One of the best ways to engage in social media is to post interesting, sharable content. If that photo gets shared, it reaches prospective customers visually and memorably, for free.
It would help if you also considered how you use your call-to-action (CTA) or engage in conversation. Your CTA should encourage a dialogue with your customers, which will eventually lead to a relationship and hopefully a sale.
7. Send out personalized emails
Emails are one of the most popular, if not the most commonly used, marketing tools out there. It has existed as a communication channel for years to market both products and services. With the holiday season fast approaching, emails are one of the most crucial tools to optimize for boosting your e-commerce sales.
That's why an excellent email campaign is vital. The emails you should be sending out should not focus on selling your products and services but on connecting your audience with them. That's why your emails should be engaging and helpful at the same time.
You can also personalize emails according to the sales history of your customer base. Maybe they've been your customers for over a year, or they always place a monthly order.
Email segmentation should be based on your customers' history and other details, such as their birthdates (if you know them). Adopting this approach will remind your customers that you appreciate their loyalty.
8. Design seasonal landing pages
Campaign-specific landing pages are essential. It's also helpful if you can customize your landing pages with a particular holiday theme to make it clear that you're offering something unique to them at a particular time.
You can also provide your customers with a clear picture of your special offers. This way, you'll likely increase your conversions because your customers will have the details and a CTA on a single page.
9. Come up with a post-holiday campaign
The thing is, not everyone is free to shop on Black Friday. Factors such as funding, work schedule, or other responsibilities can occupy customers during your sale time. However, that doesn't mean that they don't want to purchase from you. They might be busy at work, or they might have missed out on your offer at that time.
To capture these shoppers, you might want to consider extending your deals and offers to accommodate people who don't buy on impulse and may need more time warming up to your brand.
Over to You
So, there you have it. The holiday shopping season this year might be different from last year. So, make sure that you're ready to take on an increase in online sales. Good luck!
This article was a guest post by Andi Croft