Watch Out !! The 2015 Holiday Shopping Season is Right Around the Corner

Summertime is winding down and you think you can take a breath from pushing and fulfilling your summer time eCommerce orders.  Guess again. With the end of summer near, it’s time to ramp up your on-line store to get it ready for the expected increase in traffic from those must have holiday shoppers.  It is a fact that this year’s holiday shoppers will be using the most powerful device available to them to get the best deals on in-stock items, there smartphones. It is estimated that over 92% of holiday shoppers will go online to either research or purchase gifts this holiday season.  ECommerce sales have constantly risen over the last 6 years. With eCommerce sales in the 4th quarter of 2014 up 14.7% or over 95 Billion dollars in sales.

It might not be the time to draft your first seasonal promotional marketing piece just yet, but it’s important to make sure your site is ready for the increased traffic flow so that you can capture that sale.  Below are a few recommendations we have put together, to help you not only get a jump on the extra traffic, but more importantly to have that traffic turn into sales with increased order value.

Website Strategy: Take a good long look at your eCommerce store.  When was the last time you changed it up a bit?  A website is the “opposite of the rule” If it ain`t broke don’t fix it!  Today’s web visitors are looking for subtle visuals when they come to your store. If you have promotional banners on the site, you want to make sure they are being designed or adjusted to match the up-coming holiday seasons.  Remember, people shop with their eyes and a change-up to the visual display of the store will make an impression.

Make sure your content pages are optimized so that you are getting the best results from the search engines.  Your keywords should be tailored to your branding and sales goals.

Focus on top category and product pages that have the potential to drive holiday traffic.

Since Google instituted requirements for making sure Ecommerce stores have a mobile presence. Google’s mobile-friendly test site is a great place to start. Here is a link to make sure your site displays and functions well on mobile:  https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/   If for some reason things don’t look quite right, give us a call here at Black Arrow Marketing and we will be happy to look at your mobile site and make the necessary modifications.  You can contact us at 1-888-225-4780

Social Posts: Blogs, Facebook Twitter:  Keep in mind the 90/10 rule, 90% of your content should be engaging and only 10% promotional.  Now is the time to start thinking of implementing a creative campaign that will generate interest in the products designed to engage, excite and expand your audience.

Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Decide the main anchor element for your campaign (e.g. Facebook Contest)

Identify potential influencers (e.g. athletes, film/tv stars and recording artists) who may promote your campaigns

Develop creative pieces for social promotions to expand your reach

Have budgets in place to fund (Facebook) your posts

September Planning: Most brands launch their first holiday campaigns before Halloween.  To keep on track you need to make sure your campaigns are lined up to work with your marketing/promotion strategies.

Stats from the National Retail Federation have shown that 20-40% of yearly sales for small to mid-sized Ecommerce stores happen within the last 2 months of the year.  So this means that your web-store needs to be ready and cranking on all cylinders right after Halloween.

Below are a few dates which we feel will help you stay on track for those holiday shoppers.

November 1st.  Halloween is passed it’s now Christmas shopping season! 49% of e-retailers will have already launched a holiday campaign before Halloween. Don’t be one of the 51%

November 16th.  Your blog-(You Do have a blog right??) your 1st holiday blog post should be up and running with Christmas coming up fast on the horizon.

November 26-29th.  Thanksgiving right through Cyber Monday (and the day after Cyber Monday). This period has become the hot-spot for e-retailers. Make sure your “Hot” promotions are in place and there is enough product in your inventory to meet those extra sales demands.  Remember, you don’t want to promote a product, get the traffic and then show an “Out of Stock” in your store. Also now is the time to promote any sales incentives such as Free Shipping or “Guaranteed to have your item before December 24th”. promotions.

December 1stNow is the time to launch that promotional contest we spoke of earlier, to get the interest and activity levels up about your brand.

December 18thFree Shipping Day.  You can participate if you can offer free shipping and be able to commit to delivery by Christmas Eve.  This has grown in popularity over the years.

December 26thThat’s right, the day after Christmas. Now is NOT the time to sit back and listen to Christmas carols and eat the leftover turkey.  Make sure you have your “Post” holiday promotions set in place, ready for those special people that are always looking for the best post-holiday deals.

If this all sounds a little daunting to you, let the professionals from Black Arrow Marketing develop a holiday strategy based around your store and promotional brands.  Give us a call at 1-888-225-4780 or you can email us at info@blackarrowmarketing.com Let Black Arrow Marketing make this one of the most successful and profitable holiday shopping seasons to date.