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5 Tips For An Effective E-Commerce Holiday Season

August 19, 2016

The last quarter is just around the corner, the holiday season. It’s notably the most important quarter to hit yearly targets, move new products and clear out old inventory for eCommerce.

If you were expecting to create an eCommerce website and a mobile App, and expect people to flood in, sorry to burst your bubble – it’s not going to happen. Having a strong digital strategy well before the holidays is important. We’ll take you through 5 steps to help you prepare better for the 2016 Q4 holiday season.

E-commerce-holiday-season

  1. Plan: Your success starts with the plan. Since the last quarter is packed with holidays, get the lay of the land to decide the important ones for your customers and business. Apart from the customary holidays, you can also keep these non-official holidays to pay attention to – Green Monday (December 12th, 2016), Free Shipping Day (December 18th, 2016), Super Saturday (December 24th, 2016). Virtually, every week in November and December have a holiday that you can participate in.

If you are a newfangled online retailer, it’ll not be surprising if you missed most of the holidays. The best way to break this loop is to plan ahead.

  • Decide which holidays you want to participate in

For the desktop sales for November-December 2015 holiday season, here’s some data from comScore that will give you the scales.

Top 10 Desktop Spending Days in 2015 Holiday Season
Non-Travel (Retail) E-Commerce Spending
Total U.S. – Home & Work Desktop Computers
Source: comScore, Inc.
Day Desktop Spending ($ Millions)
Monday, Nov. 30 (Cyber Monday)

$2,280

Thursday, Dec. 1

$1,950

Friday, Nov. 27 (Black Friday)

$1,656

Sunday, Dec. 11

$1,477

Monday, Dec. 14 (Green Monday)

$1,408

Wednesday, Dec. 7

$1,400

Thursday, Dec. 8

$1,396

Saturday, Dec. 10

$1,244

Friday, Dec. 2

$1,243

Thursday, Dec. 15

$1,240

In US, a total of $12.7 billion was spent via smartphones and tablets in November-December 2015 period, up a staggering 59-percent versus a year ago.

  • Create your campaign calendar

The calendar doesn’t have to be a highly complicated table and sheet. Use a simple tool like Google Calendar to keep track of your banners and graphics for emailers, website and app. With Google Calendar, you can remind the respective owners for development, approval and execution. During the busy holiday season, if you methodize your plan like keeping a tab on the calendar you can avoid last minute hiccups.

  • Additional payment options

With more number mobile wallets entering the space, it might be prudent to reconsider your payment options and add a few more to the existing payment options available. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Ethereum can also be considered as this can spike conversions and revenue for users who prefer these new methods of payment.

  • Determine your campaign channel to focus on

Strategically choose your campaign channels because being scattered will compromise the campaign in the end. Here are a few you channels you can think off:

  • Blog: Content is the master Yoda of digital marketing. With the holiday season in mind, prepare the blog posts with best SEO practices to ensure that every campaign you do has a blog associated with it. This will help you to engage the buyers and help them discover the products you sell. A detailed description of the product will also add value here.
  • Email Marketing: Your existing customers list is your bargaining chip for the holiday season sales. You already have data of what categories of what products your customers purchased and their wish list. Email marketing is one of the channels through which you can remind them about your upcoming holiday sales. You can also push custom email campaigns by clubbing users who have same area of interest as in categories.
  • Social Media Marketing: With more Social Media Channels including the ‘buy button’ (facebook, pinterest and twitter), the relevance of investing in campaigns across Social Media channels is a considerate thought.
  • Retargeting: Consider targeting users who have already visited your website and checked out the products? You can run specific campaigns for them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Ads.
  1. Prepare: November – December is going to be a chaotic time. Leave November – December for execution of your plans and prepare in advance to avoid skipping vital pieces due to lack of time.

We’ve listed down a few key components which you can prepare in advance:

  • Blog Content: You will probably want to publish your blogs prior to the other marketing campaigns. You don’t want to keep this for last as things get busy. Moreover, you’re attracting organic traffic with google having plenteous time to index the content.
  • Ad Copy: Writing fascinating and smart content will drive more traffic. Formulate the campaigns in advance as all the campaigns will be positioned on this.
  • Landing Pages: Create separate landing pages for ads and emails to show corresponding information that lead the user to those pages. These pages have to be specifically made for your desktop, App and mobile site. The experience matters for your customer.
  • Quicker checkout: Enable quicker checkout to directly take the user to the payment module and confirm the order. A shopping cart checkout button constant in the layout will help the user to checkout at any moment.
  • Graphics & Design: Visual art adds to the whole nine yards. This helps you keep the campaign persistent across emailers, ads, social media, banners. Spreading the holiday mood with graphics will be intriguing. It helps the users understand your ad better and quickly recognize your campaign across multiple channels.
  • Promo offers and offer codes: With massive promotional offers offered during the holiday season, you got to stay aggressive and watch the market closely. Mention your offer codes and promotional offers in your email content, banners, push notifications and social media accounts. You can also have exclusive offers for your premium customers. Having exclusivity increases customer retention. Prepare your inventory also for the offers you provide.
  • Managing Cloud Operations: As you draw near the execution of your campaigns, or even the holiday season for that matter, you will notice a linear surge in traffic. It’s fundamental to scale the server bandwidth to ensure a very high uptime. A cluster of load-balanced servers is a start to manage the traffic better. Event day operations is a mastered technique, and it is not often you find service providers who can guarantee 99.9% uptime. If you want an uninterrupted event for your customers, you should get in touch with July’s experts who have massive expertise in handling cloud operations for NBA, NFL, ESPN, CBS, WSJ and CNN to name a few.
  1. Analyze & Track: Marketing is a contest for people’s attention. Gear up all the tools to monitor the traffic and user behavior. Define success metrics for each campaign and A/B test all marketing collaterals including landing pages, email templates, and ad banners.
  1. Execution: If the previous steps are religiously followed, this should be the easiest of all. With most of the components ready, stick to your calendar plan and see the magic.
  1. Adapt & Modify: As you are constantly tracking your campaigns with various tools, it’s important to adapt to the performance and make necessary corrections on the fly. As you see the ROI on each campaign channels, if you have the bandwidth and inventory, consider to scale up your campaigns.

Audit the traffic and the performance. Consider to follow the 80-20 rule to improve your ROI. It’s equally important to learn from the mistakes which you were not able adapt on the fly.

Mobile is not necessary, but required for survival. July has successfully designed, developed, deployed and managed forefront consumer applications. Think no further, let us know how we can support you to have a successful holiday season.

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