Preparation is critical. Online retailers should plan marketing campaigns now and keep in mind big shopping holidays outside the U.S. like China’s Singles’ Day. Be ready to cater to mobile shoppers, team up with the right marketing partners and be sure your infrastructure can handle a surge in web traffic.

Eric J. Gerritsen, senior vice president for mobile, e-commerce and Asia-Pacific, GlobalWide Media

Eric J. Gerritsen, senior vice president for mobile, e-commerce and Asia-Pacific, GlobalWide Media

For e-commerce businesses, the only thing more important than the holiday shopping season is the pre-holiday shopping season. If you don’t lay the groundwork, it is hard to capitalize on the season’s potential. And the potential is high.

Numerous studies predict that this year’s global online shopping season will surpass last year’s record-breaking performance. Research from BlackFriday.com found that 68% of consumers shopping on Black Friday will do most of it online. Only 15% of shoppers surveyed plan to get to stores early to wait on line for deals, and only 17% plan to visit bricks-and-mortar locations at all.

That is just one day of the holiday season. Data shows that online spending should be up all November long, a trend known as Black November. To maximize revenue this holiday season, online retailers should expand their strategy beyond U.S. shopping holidays. They should also act now, adopt a mobile-first approach, and ensure they have the infrastructure in place to support holiday traffic surges.

To maximize your marketing strategy, it’s critical to look at the full global calendar of international holidays and peak buying times.

Consider the new global holiday season

To maximize your marketing strategy, it’s critical to look at the full global calendar of international holidays and peak buying times. Look beyond Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday and consider holidays in Asia, including Alibaba’s 11.11 (Singles Day). Last year, shoppers spent a record-breaking $25 billion on Singles Day, a 40% increase from 2016. This is obviously a massive opportunity for retailers, and brands of all sizes are taking note. But there are other holidays worth exploring, too—days that aren’t getting the same sort of publicity in other regions just yet, such as Diwali, White Friday, SE Asia Online Shopping Festival, and Harbolnas (Indonesia).

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Plan and book your media now

It’s already late October. Waiting too close to the dates will cut down on promotion time and competition will be fierce. The weeks leading up to your holiday shopping period are what can make or break your campaign. Your pre-holiday campaign will matter more to overall sales than almost anything post-campaign.

Make the right partnerships

To make the most of your holiday campaigns, find a marketing partner that understands the full consumer sales funnel and harnesses that knowledge to deliver the right exposure to your targeted audience. The right partnership will grow, optimize, and expand your global commerce for the holiday season and beyond.

Have a mobile-first selling strategy, particularly in Asia

Tablets and smartphones have become the No. 1 screen for your customers. Use the power of these devices to your benefit. Is your website mobile-optimized? Is it easy for your customer to complete their sale via app or mobile web?

According to iPrice’s State of e-commerce Report in Southeast Asia 2017, the e-commerce market is a mobile-first economy that primarily uses apps for their purchases, leapfrogging all the Western economies when it comes to the importance of mobile commerce in the traffic generated by each e-commerce operator. Mobile will play a larger role in the states, too. Last year, mobile traffic soared during the holiday shopping season, but there was a massive gap between mobile traffic and mobile purchases. We won’t close the gap entirely this year, but brands that have created an optimal mobile shopping experience should at least make inroads.

Review readiness and infrastructure

You’ve stuck to your media plan and are expecting high website traffic on the first day of sales. What if your online store went down in the middle of this shopping frenzy? Your e-commerce infrastructure should be prepared to handle an extreme volume of traffic and orders on Day One of your launch campaign and in the following days.

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November and December drive 30% more e-commerce revenue than non-holiday months. For many online brands, these 60 days make or break their year. Don’t leave it to chance, and don’t leave it to the last minute. Start your marketing now, and make sure you have everything you need to support what should be a holiday rush.

GlobalWide Media provides digital marketing technology and services to brands and agencies.

 

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