We’ve entered the holiday season, and this time of the year usually presents an opportunity to meet your sales goal for the year if you’ve lagging behind. Research shows that the holiday season accounts for 20 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales, and in some cases up to 30 percent of individual retailers’ total sales for the year. Holiday sales is projected to be higher this year, with Forrester predicting a 12.2 percent growth in e-commerce sales compared to last year to about $129 billion.
Early preparation is one of the most effective things you can do to increase holiday sales—in fact, 62 percent of retailers identify it as the most helpful thing for increasing their holiday sales. However, what can you do for optimum gain within such a short period of time? Below are some early-preparation ideas to help you cash in on the 2017 holiday sales:
Tweak Your Mobile Website With a Focus on Conversions: When it comes to e-commerce, two key things that can significantly improve sales and conversions are speed and usability. In fact, speed is so important that several studies have shown that we can reliably predict an increase in sales and conversions anytime the speed of a website is improved.
Unfortunately, while many e-commerce businesses obsess over making their website faster and more usable, less attention is paid to their mobile website. In fact, even in 2017, mobile website optimization is an afterthought for a lot of retailers. This is a mistake. Research shows that mobile visits are responsible for about half of all holiday shopping visits, and that the percentage of mobile shopper is increasing every year.
You might want to perform an extensive audit of your mobile site for the holiday season. The following tips will help:
- Keep your mobile design simple. Most mobile devices do not have the resources to open graphic-heavy designs. And no matter how appealing your mobile website, once users’ mobile browsers start to hang whenever they visit it, you’ve lost them.
- Serve mobile-optimized images for mobile users. Images can considerably increase the size of your website, making things overall slower. By optimizing images in a way that they are mobile-friendly, you will create a faster and more useful mobile experience which will result in a conversions boost for you.
- Strip the unnecessary add-ons and widgets. They are most likely unnecessary for a quality mobile experience. Focus on usability instead.
- Ensure your contact information is easily found on your mobile site. Most e-commerce businesses ignore this, but it can be a deal-breaker. Realize that a lot of “mobile shopping” is done by people looking for information about a physical store they can go to carry out their purchases—and this can be as much as 75 percent of mobile shoppers in some cases.
Understand and Leverage The Rule of Seven: There’s a marketing axiom called “the rule of seven,” also known in psychology as the “mere-exposure effect” or the “familiarity principle.” This axiom, in essence, states that people have to be exposed to your offer and marketing message at least seven times before they start to take notice of it. This makes sense, considering that research shows we’re suffering from seriously declining attention spans.
Ensuring more exposure to your offer will significantly boost your conversions. Now is the time, more than any other time of the year, to make sure that people are aware of your offer. You can effectively leverage the internet to achieve this by doing the following:
- Increase your mailing frequency. If you’ve been emailing every other week in the past, it might be a good idea to start emailing twice or more a week now.
- Don’t simply “announce” an offer. If your approach has been to announce an offer and leave it at that, it might be a good idea to revise your approach. Regularly inform people of your offer on all channels you use—social media, email, etc.
- Repurpose your content and ads and have them promoted in different formats; using a single format makes it easy to tune your message out, but when you use a blend of text and multimedia across various channels you can ensure maximum impact.
Use Urgency-Based Marketing: There’s a reason why Black Friday and Cyber Monday often drive the biggest sales during the holiday season, and it goes beyond them being highly hyped and publicized. One of the major reasons why Black Friday and Cyber Monday capture a lot of sales is due to the urgency factor around them; during these holidays, you have just a day, or a few days at most, to get the hottest discounts of the year—if you postpone your purchase, the offer’s gone. That’s the allure of these sale days.
Don’t assume that people will automatically start purchasing everything you put out because they are in “buying mode” and because it’s the holiday season. Instead, inject urgency and scarcity, both powerful psychological triggers, into your offers and ensure that the urgency and scarcity of your products, especially during the holiday season, is clearly communicated to consumers. Any offer that will be available for too long will probably drive very little sales, so time all of your holiday offers.
Sync Your Offline and Online Marketing Efforts: Perhaps the biggest move you can make to cash in on the holiday season is to sync your online and offline marketing efforts. Research shows that most e-commerce-related online searches and mobile visits end up in an in-store visit and consequently purchase—in some cases, three out of four of all searches result in an in-store visit. If you’ve been mostly operating offline and do not have a website, it is not too late to create one. If you have a website that has been abandoned, it is not too late to revive it. Most importantly, ensure that your mobile website and social media presence is properly synced with your offline marketing efforts.
Here are some tips:
- Use giveaways and contests to get offline users to engage with your brand.
- Offer special discounts for users who use your mobile app or who carry out transactions on your website during the holiday season.
- When people finally get to transact with you online, ensure a fast and great user experience. We have shorter attention spans now, and the better you make the experience for them the better it is for you.
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