E-commerce Link: Holiday Countdown
Technological solutions can help, too. Online gift retailer RedEnvelope features a “Shop Now, Ship Later” tool that lets shoppers select a future delivery date. This allows its customers to shop at their leisure before the holiday season becomes too busy. It also helps ensure gifts will be in stock, and eliminates the need to try to buy at the right moment so delivery occurs at the right time.
Encourage early purchasing by emphasizing any areas where you have a particular breadth or depth of product offerings, such as unusual sizes or hard-to-find merchandise. Remind customers that stocks are limited! Temper this tone of urgency with discounts such as free shipping for those who sign up for e-mail updates, or offer free gift wrap once shoppers meet a certain price threshold.
Thanksgiving through Dec. 10: Market and merchandise to drive sales.
After Thanksgiving, holiday shoppers really start to get into the swing of things. They are looking for a reason to buy from you; trigger purchasing with supportive messaging, promotions and marketing tactics throughout your site. Keep the “worry-free” tactics outlined above in place, but take some additional measures.
If you have a special gifts category, promote it throughout the site. If you don’t, create new product categories based on recipient, price, personality, age or theme—whatever best matches your target customer segments.
Increase your use of paid search. Focus on niche and seasonal keywords so your clickthroughs are more likely to come from shoppers who know what they want. Make sure they land on the most relevant page so they don’t have to go hunting around once they are on your site. The more closely the landing page content matches the description in the paid search listing, the higher the conversion rate.
This also is a great time to launch aggressive holiday e-mail campaigns. Segment these campaigns to offer compelling personalized gift recommendations and special offers to loyal customers. Consider a “gift of the day” e-mail campaign. In 2006, Sears conducted a “Pick of the Day” campaign that put ideas at shoppers’ fingertips. Even without deep personalization, a campaign like this can be very successful if you remind buyers who they may be shopping for: “For Mom,” “For the Kids” or even “For the Boss.”