A New Year’s resolution all online retailers should consider keeping is a plan to increase sales post-holiday. With Deloitte predicting a 4.5-5% increase in holiday retail sales and a 14-18% year-over-year increase in ecommerce sales this year, merchants want to ride holiday sales spikes as long as possible.
Instead of reacting to a post-holiday sales dip, let’s get proactive with strategies and actions that can keep sales up after the holiday season.
Plan ahead to get customers back, soon
You’re probably a retailer who relies on the holiday season to hit projected sales numbers, and it makes sense with peak traffic. An often-overlooked holiday priority is maximizing the opportunity to drive repeat revenue early in the New Year, especially for replenishable products.
One tactic to lure customers back is through bounce-back offers. You know those never-ending CVS receipts? They work because they’re relevant to your purchases.
Step one is to get with your digital marketing team and look at the return rate of customers. You want to ensure that the time window for any bounce-back is appropriate and that you’re increasing the likelihood customers will come back to make a second purchase.
Secondly, ensure the offer is designed for maximum redemption. Deliver the offer immediately post-purchase and then be sure to remind customers before and during the bounce-back period. Try reminding customers via a singular offer to all or dynamic offers based on spend or product category. At this stage, plan the cadence of automation.
Thirdly, consider sending direct mail to customers to have another channel to reinforce the bounce-back opportunity, which can create incremental value.
One thing that bears repeating: make sure your bounce-back is good enough to bring customers back. If you’re only giving 5% off, there could be low attrition. Don’t be afraid to make bounce-backs very personal as you’re rewarding people who made a purchase. It’s an exclusive offer, make it feel exclusive and personal for them.
As for the redemption process, make all bounce-backs easily redeemable through any sales channel and add a “good by” date such as ‘Offer expires January 31’ in these limited-time offers.
Market best-selling products
Depending on if you’re a brand or a retailer, the strategy to promote hero products will vary. Retailers will probably have a wide selection of hero products from a mix of brands that drive sales. Brands will have one or two hero products at most. Therefore, brands and manufacturers face greater risks in debuting a new item.
If you’re a brand with plans to debut a new product at holiday, set expectations around immediate impact of revenue versus being a long-term play. In some categories, Q1 launches are anticipated. It’s fine to launch a new product, just be realistic about the investment and return in Q1 if it’s not a product believed to fly off the shelf.
For an instant sales lift, energy is often best spent pushing existing popular products. There’s another area where you can go bigger with sales expectations, and that’s a newer version or upgrade of a best-selling product.
When a hero product is chosen, examine your media mix. Nail down what creative type is performing best and know how your audience consumes content. If your target enjoys video and your budget allows for it, shoot product videos since they’re compelling and video usually delivers more information than a static image. Additionally, create ads from the video footage in support of static or carousel ads that typically display more text. Lastly, if you haven’t yet, learn if customers prefer lo-fi or high-quality video clips and adapt.
Holiday giveaways bring January shoppers
You likely have a mission to collect as many names, emails, and phone numbers as possible with so many shoppers browsing. Consider running a giveaway during peak holiday season in order for you to be able to remarket to shoppers in 2020.
These campaigns benefit retailers in two ways. The first is an uptick in upfront sales. The second is when customers redeem their prize, hopefully they purchase an additional item. Of course not every shopper buys something, but you want to keep as many of these potential customers engaged as possible, with relevant communication.
One suggestion: Every purchaser receives an instant win via a scratcher. In order to collect their prize, they must return to your website or store by a specific date. And just like that, you’ve gotten a return visitor. Consider a desirable grand prize that gives away every product (golden ticket) to 40% off coupons or less.
Whatever giveaway combinations you create, make sure they’re only redeemable in January 2020. Contact your legal team to adhere to federal and state laws around prize giveaways and scratch games.
Maximize your CRM
All year, your digital marketing team has been collecting customer behavior and data to better target buyers, inform cross-selling and upselling moves, and create clearer customer segments. Your goal for CRM data at the holidays is to leverage recent shopper behavior around popular product types. From there, you develop an automation process and suggest relatable products to specific customer segments since you already know what product combinations work. If you haven’t already, decide what you’re going to do so you’re actively tracking customer behavior that you could lead to the most profits.
Start by identifying key products and categories that will enable the highest volume of customers to be marketed to via email. Do this by tracking what product pages are being looked at and which are converting.
Secondly, look at existing versus new customers to see how you can vary communications to them. By Q4, your digital team should know what offers buyers are reacting positively to. Thirdly, use recent customer behavior to recommend products that ‘sell well with others’. As an example, if you’re selling footwear, find socks that are complementary so you can do product mixes and matches of product combinations.
This holiday season, take a more proactive approach to extending sales boosts with these strategies and steps. With the right touchpoints, good timing, encouragement and smart tactics, you can turn one-off seasonal buyers into new January customers.
Digital Operative is a digital marketing agency that specializes in serving direct-to-consumer brands.