2021’s biggest shopping season is coming yet again. How will your startup brand maximize the rewards of a growing ecommerce market during the most lucrative time of year? Read our top tips for prepping and pruning your online store for the holiday season.
How to Prepare Your Ecommerce Brand for Holidays in 2021
Can you believe the gift-giving season arrives in five short months? Last year, we were prepping for unprecedented times. Many were spending the holidays apart from their loved ones, avoiding in-store shopping and sending gifts through the mail. To no surprise, the ecommerce industry grew exponentially and, according to Adobe Analytics, online shoppers spent $188.2 billion between November and December 2020 alone!
Overall, Digital Commerce 360 estimates consumers spent $861.12 billion online to U.S. merchants in 2020, which is a whopping 44.0% year over year, compared to just a 15.1% YOY sales jump in 2019! With seemingly no end to the global pandemic in sight, it’s possible that online retailing can help meet your end-of-year sales goal and even grow your brand.
If you want to take part in exciting future sales prospects, begin planning your brand’s ecommerce efforts for the holidays with these top five tips.
1. Align marketing schedules with production logistics.
Start prepping for the 2021 holiday season by first forecasting your brand’s sales goals. Figuring out how much product you’re trying to sell will inform how much product you need to order. It’s crucial to confirm the capabilities of your product suppliers, manufacturers and distributors match your quantity, material and labor needs. To snag a production spot before their schedules fill up, communicate with your development partners sooner rather than later.
2. Stand out with holiday sales or incentive offers.
It’s a good idea to figure out any sales or incentive offers that will make you stand out from the crowded holiday market. Before you start strategizing the best way to access your target market’s “buyer brain” during the holidays, first do the math and see if you have healthy enough margins to discount your products for an extended time.
Small offers can make a big difference to buyers.
As it’s important to stay out of the red, the maximum amount you’re able to discount doesn’t have to cost a lot to be attractive to buyers. Offer shopping incentives, like free shipping, giftc ards and personalization, if customers purchase over a certain amount. Upselling your product line for inexpensive add-ons could factor out for better profit margins.
Incentivize with risk-free purchases.
Even generous exchange and return policies are some of the biggest drivers for purchase. Consider revising your brand’s warranty and guidelines that make the buying process more attractive with money-back, risk-free product experiences.
Guaranteed Christmas delivery can attract last-minute shoppers.
If you have very little wiggle room in your end-of-year sales goals, guaranteed delivery-by-Christmas could be all you need, especially if your brand has an established following. Just make sure to plan ahead with fulfillment partners and stay transparent with customers about COVID-related obstacles and delays.
Promote after-the-holidays sales.
If you feel it’s too late to plan your brand’s holiday marketing strategy properly, consider offering incentives for those who wait after the holidays to shop. New-year-new-me or self-care promotions are becoming more popular, particularly if your product is typically purchased as a personal item and not a gift.
3. Strategize marketing channels and create materials.
Now’s the time to start thinking about what marketing channels and materials will best sell your brand during the upcoming crowded digital shopping season.
Start gathering emails as future leads.
Leading up to the holidays, begin lead-generating tactics to find new customers. A well-in-advance email-capturing campaign that offers insider incentives will boost brand awareness and build your audience for when your sales go live. As the holiday season comes around, your refined subscriber list will be easy to tap into once the launch of your end-of-year promotion.
Culminate your marketing materials.
If your brand already has a strong following, start collecting user-generated content like social media photos and product reviews for future marketing use. And whether you’re a startup or not, it’s better to start creating branded holiday marketing materials early, like product images, sales graphics, tutorial videos. Make sure all your assets and content are cohesive across email, amazon listings, SEO website traffic, landing pages, social media and other channels.
Utilize paid marketing tactics.
As many holiday sponsorship deadlines are approaching quickly, begin researching and reaching out to publications, influencers, and other cross-promotional opportunities to win worthwhile contracts over competitors.
It’s also important to begin advertising efforts as soon as possible to be more memorable with your target market. Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook ads will help your brand generate new buzz as well as brand recall especially during this time of year. If you want to be seen by people shopping for products like yours, it pays to increase your ad spend budget.
4. Invest in enhanced website capabilities and widgets.
Investing in your website’s plugins, widgets and capabilities can be an effective and cheap way to increase sales without discounting prices. That’s why we recommend including upsell opportunities on your online store, especially the checkout page. This can consist of “people also bought” carousels, instant add-to-cart buttons or one-click purchases.
It’s also a good idea to embed categories, like bestsellers, or pin fresh arrivals to the top of the shop pages. Also consider, including trust signals, like custom badges and positive testimonials to product pages. These features help nudge customers on the buying process and reduce your website’s overall shopping cart abandonment rate.
5. Get customer service support in place.
Quicken the buying process with chatbots.
To help turn leads into customers, chatbots, a software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to engage with shoppers, can provide substantial assistance by answering questions, offering information and guiding consumers along their purchasing journey. Consider using one for your brand’s ecommerce website or even Facebook Messenger, particularly if you receive the same questions all the time.
Manage consumers with service representatives.
Once holiday purchasing starts rolling in, you’ll need to manage orders, returns, exchanges and replacements. Get a customer service support team hired as soon as possible so they are trained on the product and fulfillment process, especially if you’re selling long-term subscription-based models. It’s also a good idea to hire reputation management services if you wish to solicit and answer back reviews after the holidays are over.
Prepare for the Holidays with Enventys Partners
If you want to maximize your ecommerce efforts during the holidays, there’s a lot to plan and execute. From manufacturing to marketing, Enventys Partners can help your brand’s end-of-year sales goals. Reach out today.
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