December is as good a time as any for brands to evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and fine-tune their digital holiday campaigns accordingly. Here are three quick and timely tips retail brands can apply during the final stretch of marketing this year.

Ashley Deibert, senior vice president of marketing, Taplytics

Ashley Deibert, senior vice president of marketing, Taplytics

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, which might make it seem as though the holiday season is nearly over. But from a marketing perspective, that couldn’t be further from the truth: It’s just beginning.

From now until the end of the year, ecommerce brands and retailers can expect to do a disproportionately more sales and customer acquisition than they do the rest of the year. And there’s no rule that they can’t continue optimizing their shoppers’ experiences every step of the way.

The No. 1 obstacle brands are likely to discover this holiday season is a checkout flow that’s lengthy, complicated, or fraught with repetitive information.

December is as good a time as any for brands to evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and fine-tune their digital holiday campaigns accordingly. Here are three quick and timely tips retail brands can apply during the final stretch of marketing this year.

1. Become aware of common barriers that new visitors—unfamiliar with a brand—will encounter within the first few seconds on their site.

With surges in traffic and an increase in competition for shoppers’ attention, the holiday season usually only amplifies leaks and holes along the customer funnel. When this happens, it presents an opportunity to make next-to-real-time improvements in areas where they’re seeing interruptions to normal activity, like customers getting stuck at an unpersuasive or irrelevant call to action (CTA) before they even have a chance to explore.

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Take, for instance, an apparel company that’s trying to position itself as a lifestyle brand, rather than just another place to shop. Every other month of the year this brand might use a call to action like “Join the Adventure,” which it deems more in keeping with its  larger brand vision. But this  seemingly insider language would  likely confuse new holiday shoppers, who are often just meeting the brand for the first time and looking to shop, rather than join an adventure on their first visit.

With those shoppers in mind, the brand should consider sticking with a basic “Shop Now” CTA during the holidays to convert significantly more visitors into new customers.

2. Eliminate convoluted moments along the path to purchase and within the checkout flow. 

Once shoppers make it through initial barriers and enter the checkout process, there are bound to be other hurdles. It’s common for brands to only discover convoluted moments in the checkout flow when there are higher than usual traffic numbers, as new and undeniable patterns appear with clarity.

The No. 1 obstacle brands are likely to discover this holiday season is a checkout flow that’s lengthy, complicated, or fraught with repetitive information–and thus results in higher-than-average cart abandonment rates.

If a brand notices shoppers getting stuck along its process, it should adjust two common problem areas: 1) Introduce a single page where customers input all relevant details, rather than spreading out this process across two or more different pages. This will get them through checkout more quickly. 2) Only ask shoppers to provide the most relevant information (e.g., delivery address and payment details) when placing an order. This approach greatly minimizes checkout abandonment.

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And both of these things can be done while holidays are in full swing, though ideally they’d be addressed beforehand.

3. Make new holiday customers the basis of a real-time lookalike campaign to find other high-value holiday shoppers just like them.

Knowing that most brands will be attracting more new customers this month than any other, there’s no time like the present to understand who those new customers are and to attract more like them.

Every other time of the year lookalike campaigns are based on a brand’s power users—or, those who buy the most, spend the most time on a website or app, and have the highest customer lifetime value.

During the holidays, however, brands often encounter a new type of customer that they might not see every other month of the year. Because this holiday shopper profile is rare, it’s also valuable from a customer acquisition perspective.

In December, while holiday shopping is in full gear, consider creating a lookalike campaign based on new holiday customers, rather than–or in addition to–your regular high-value customers. A good chunk of your marketing budget should be spent to try to acquire these customers over the holidays and retain them into the New Year.

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Study areas where shoppers leave your site

The crucial action across the board is to continue monitoring shopper drop-off and other signs that customers are getting stuck to identify weak spots and optimize the experience as the holidays continue.

Chances are, a majority of problem areas can be resolved right here and now, rather than after the holidays when it’s too late to capture the new seasonal shopper you might only encounter once a year otherwise.

Taplytics provides customer lifecycle marketing technology.

 

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