Slated to pull in approximately $965 billion between November and January, this season’s holiday sales will see a four percent bump versus last year.
But, online retailers looking to unlock the season’s full potential need to make holiday shopping trends part of their sales strategy.
How can you prepare your business for this year's holiday sales storm?
We’ve laid out a few quick online sales tips to help make this season your merriest yet:
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Tip #1: Get the Timing Right
Just because you’re early to the holiday game doesn’t mean you’ll win. Revving up the holiday marketing machine too early can turn off consumers and, potentially, put you on the sidelines during the real holiday rush.
In their latest holiday content study, Outbrain found that marketers typically circulate holiday messaging during the first half of November. But, unlike retailers, many shoppers don’t get into the holiday spirit until late November or early December. Add to that the increasing significance of Cyber Monday—a 26 percent increase in clicks versus the previous Sunday—and you may want to reassess that holiday sales plan.
So, how can you take advantage of these trends? Instead of bombarding your consumers with content well before the holidays, take extra time to set up a messaging strategy that specifically targets key audiences. This approach to seasonal selling is far more likely to benefit your bottom line in the end.
Many shoppers make gift purchases last minute, so consider rolling out special sales or shipping promotions the week before Christmas to accommodate. This will win you points over competitors not offering similar opportunities.
Tip #2: Keep Mobile in Mind
Mobile is essential—especially during the holiday shopping rush.
More consumers are moving to mobile, which means you’re already behind if you haven’t. Synchrony Financial found that 45 percent of all respondents said they’ve used a mobile device to research, share, purchase or review an item in 2015. Similarly, mobile-only shoppers are increasing, with 13 percent of Internet users cutting out computers and accessing digital retail destinations via mobile devices only. The lesson? If you’re not mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on potential purchases.
With this move to mobile, online retailers must be sure their site is optimized. An easy way to guarantee this is by establishing mobile redirects to send visitors to the mobile-friendly version of your site. Once they’re in the right place, simplify the interaction so visitors won’t have to click through too many pages to access the information they need. Utilizing a responsive email marketing template can also help guarantee your content looks impeccable on mobile.
Tip #3: Revamp Your App
App insights, such as Crittercism and Crashlytics, can ensure your app is ready to perform at a high level during the holidays. These kinds of solutions allow you to track trends and behaviors and can help you better understand your app users to streamline your sales strategy before the busy season.
The last thing you want is for your app to crash while shoppers are making a purchase. If this happens, they may just move on to make a purchase elsewhere. Resolving system compatibility issues and other problems before the holiday push will ensure your app is a benefit rather than an obstacle.
And with people swiping their credit cards more than any other time of year, the holidays are the perfect time for hackers to test their abilities. That’s why it’s also an ideal time to boost your app’s security capabilities to keep your customers’ personal and financial data safe and sound. Employing authentication codes, encrypting files and updating coding practices are a few easy ways to ramp up data security.
Related Article: How to Create an Amazing Direct Mail Piece to Generate Holiday Sales
Tip #4: Make Buying Simple
Finally, it should come as no surprise that many shoppers are stressed out from the hustle and bustle of the season. Lessen the holiday hassle by making it super simple to buy.
This could be as easy as online promotions and email coupons delivered through your app. And personalization is always a plus. Make sure you’re sending recommendations and coupons for items customers would actually buy instead of blasting out the same promos to everyone. It has become increasingly easy to identify customer needs and target them accordingly, so take advantage to keep your shoppers full of good cheer this season.