The holidays bring fierce competition but also plenty of opportunity to capture new customers. In 2017, the winter holiday sales brought in $138.4 billion of revenue online, with in-store sales adding up to $691.9 billion.
To help you have your most successful holiday sales season yet, follow these 10 tips.
1. Determine the type of discounts you want to offer.
2018 consumers are savvy shoppers. They know that businesses are competing for customers, and they are on the lookout for discounts and sales. Now is an ideal time to strategize ways to take advantage of the hunter instinct. You could offer a single, valuable discount to draw in bargain hunters or plan a series of short-term promotions that change each week, giving shoppers an incentive to return.
2. Provide gift suggestions.
It's only going to get more hectic from now until the holidays. Make things easy for your customers. Prepare your email campaign with your best gift ideas and include Shop Now buttons in the email that click straight through to the product page.
It's even better if you can offer unique gift suggestions or show ways to bundle more than one product into the perfect gift. Consider offering a discount on your gift bundles too.
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3. Say thank you ahead of time.
Stand out from the crowd by sending thank-you cards to your loyal customers at Thanksgiving instead of waiting until the traditional Christmas and Hanukkah card-giving season. It makes your customers feel that they are truly appreciated, and they will keep you in mind as they are shopping for family and friends.
4. Tap into nostalgia.
The holidays are surrounded by a glow of memories of childhood and magic, times when the snow was thicker and Santa Claus was real. Why not design your holiday marketing campaign to tap into holiday nostalgia?
Consider using black-and-white pictures, old-style fonts and nostalgic photos from times gone by. Whether you're planning an in-store display or an online landing page, nostalgia can guide your campaigns this year.
5. Focus on customer loyalty.
Although you're eager to attract new customers, don't neglect your loyal shoppers. Repeat customers are responsible for at least 40 percent of your sales, so it's worth it to keep them connected.
Take the opportunity to offer a special gift to your best customers, like a valuable discount. You could also send handwritten holiday cards to your loyal customers through the mail, the old-fashioned way. This strategy will garner your customers' attention and show that you care.
6. Make the most of mobile.
Mobile marketing has become increasingly important for e-commerce in the last couple of years. Over $17 billion of sales were made by mobile in the 2016 holiday season and over $35 billion in the 2017 season. In 2018, mobile sales are predicted to surpass desktop sales for the first time. It's vital, therefore, that your marketing campaigns are mobile friendly and that your online store is optimized for mobile devices.
7. Offer free shipping.
If you sell online, free shipping is the best special offer you can possibly present year-round, but it's especially important if you want strong sales this holiday season. Offer free shipping for all holiday purchases and make sure your customers know about it. Feature it in your marketing emails and make sure it's prominently visible throughout your online store.
8. Go large on holiday spirit.
Consumers aren't just shopping for gifts, they also want plenty of holiday spirit as well. Give them what they want. Update your window display, homepage and landing pages with warm holiday scenes and plenty of sparkle.
You could also offer a holiday gift-wrapping service, both in-store and online, or market a special limited edition product that's only available during the holiday season.
9. Tap into niche social media channels.
You're probably already using social media marketing on Instagram and Facebook, but have you considered other channels? Social media networks like Quora, Reddit and Pinterest don't get as much attention as Instagram, but they each hold millions of loyal users waiting for your content. Choose one that fits your product and reach out in a different way.
10. Turn to video marketing.
Video marketing is on the rise, allowing you to market your brand, not just your products. Consumers love behind-the-scenes videos relating to their favorite brands. This holiday season show the human face of your company by asking employees to share their favorite holiday memories or giving customers a peek into what's involved in preparing your business for the holidays. Further, a cute or funny holiday marketing video is a great opportunity for non-product-related businesses to tap into the holiday season. Even insurance companies, plumbers and construction companies can record a holiday video or message to share with customers.