Use these tips to boost sales this holiday season (and beyond).
Snagging a portion of holiday spending can have a big impact on your business.
In 2016, total holiday spending in November and December was up 11 percent over the previous year. Forty percent of retailers experienced a 48 percent jump in revenue, on average, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday according to Adobe's annual holiday spending study.
What about the other 60 percent of retailers? They likely didn't capture many holiday spending dollars because they didn't properly tap into the holiday marketing conversations. The six suggestions below will help business owners implement the most effective, ROI-positive holiday marketing strategies based on the latest research on what is most impactful for today's consumers.
1. Provide additional holiday staff and superior customer service.
In your marketing message, promote that you’ll have extra, knowledgeable staff on hand to assist customers with their holiday purchases. Consumers favor brands offering superior customer service and timely fulfillment over discount pricing and flexible return policies. Trustpilot's 2017 holiday season report found that 48.2 percent of shoppers said they were most likely to rely on customer reviews than price tools.
Your additional staff promotional strategy can also specifically call out that you'll offer shorter hold times for callers and faster service for those looking to quickly pop in and pick up an online or phoned-in order.
An additional, lasting added benefit of providing great customer service is that it drives positive online reviews. According to the same report from Trustpilot, variations on “customer service” appeared across the top five most commonly used two-word phrases in five-star reviews.
2. Offer simplified online checkouts.
The cost of implementing an updated online checkout will deliver a strong return on investment this holiday season (and beyond). Baynard Institute reports that the average cart abandonment rate is 69 percent. Often this is because the online checkout process is too cumbersome for customers.
The average mobile checkout process is over three pages long, frequently causing shopping cart abandonment. Just 14 percent of top consumer brands offer single-page checkout, so small businesses that implement an easier checkout process will have a competitive advantage over these larger, traditional retail brands.
3. Ramp up your holiday email marketing efforts.
Email marketing is a low cost, high-impact way to drive holiday shopping from your customers. Every dollar spent on email marketing can earn businesses up to $44 in revenue. Send a note wishing customers a merry holiday season and offer them as discount as a "holiday gift" from your business.
From your initial email send, any customer who clicks through to your website (your warmest leads) should be retargeted throughout the holiday shopping period to close the deal via additional discounts, reminders of key "last ship" dates for online ordering, or with store details, such as extended holiday shopping hours.
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4. Make sure your social media posts are filled with photos.
Show off your inventory to inspire customers to gift your items or add them to their own holiday wish lists. Meltwater shares that 77 percent of B2C companies have acquired a customer through Facebook, and Pinterest drives 25 percent of all website referral traffic. Another recent study found Instagram influences 75 percent of users' purchasing decisions.Sure,
Make your items look especially desirable to customers by taking high-quality and polished photos. Photograph your items on models, in holiday scenes and incorporate them into a variety of different styles to increase the potential appeal amongst customers.
Don't forget about video! Videos typically achieve higher organic reach on Facebook, and more than half of marketers say that video content drives the best ROI for their business.
5. Be ready for mobile shoppers.
Simplified mobile websites are superior for driving mobile purchases from holiday shoppers. Both Amazon and Walmart said more customers shopped Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals via their mobile devices than in-store visits. Any investment in a mobile website refresh will be earned back via an increased conversion rate and the number of sales your business captures from mobile shoppers.
To provide a convenient, hassle-free mobile shopping experience for customers, businesses should simplify their mobile website to a single column with limited, easy-to-navigate menus. Ensure that all videos and photos are responsive and optimized for mobile viewing. Capture in-store shopper conversions by including info on your store's location, ideally automatically suggesting the closest store. But be sure to include contact details (enable click-to-call functionality) and the departments or offerings available at that specific location, if you have numerous stores.
6. Increase customer reviews of your store.
Customer reviews and your business's review rating score are significant drivers of customers choosing to shop at your store. Most businesses see an average increase of 10 percent in their review counts in November and December. An increased number of reviews, an improved score and recent reviews all drive holiday shoppers to your store. Trustpilot reported that there was a significant increase in review-viewing and searching from September through the end of November in 2016 as holiday shoppers planned their gifts.
To increase reviews for your store during this time, have staff ask customers who express their delight in their shopping experience to leave a review to help other holiday shoppers select the best store. After an online purchase, send customers an email asking them to review the product or their online shopping experience.