*Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal, financial or tax advice. Please always consult a knowledgeable professional advisor. *
Many retailers transform their storefronts for the holiday shopping season. Magical wonderland settings help customers get in the mood for gift-giving, but COVID-19 could affect businesses’ ability to open.
To adapt, business owners need to rethink how they can develop unique, omnichannel holiday online shopping experiences for their customers.
While the customer experience is an essential consideration year-round, during the holidays, great customer experience is crucial. (Gartner defines the term as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations, leading to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.”)
If you can create a shopping experience through omnichannel marketing that exceeds customers’ expectations, you’ll become a memorable part of their season. And it will pay off—84 percent of companies that prioritise customer experience report an increase in revenue, according to HubSpot.
Here are seven holiday marketing tips that will help you improve your site’s online experience in time for the holidays.
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1. Update your design
The first step is to customise your design for the holidays. Take advantage of templates that make this quick and easy. Choose a template that complements your brand, so loyal customers will still recognise the business they know and trust. As customers do their holiday online shopping, they may be browsing several store websites, so you want to grab their attention immediately. You’ve got 15 seconds, which is the average amount of time someone spends on a website before they click elsewhere, according to CrazyEgg.
Successful holiday marketing strategies use bold, easy-to-read fonts and eye-catching images. To further engage visitors, consider multimedia elements, such as video or interactive features. Another consideration is your use of colour.
Red is a classic holiday colour, but it’s also useful in sales. Colour can impact purchases, and red has been shown to create energy and urgency. That’s why it’s often used on sale signs or for calls to action on websites. If it works with your logo and branding, consider using it on your homepage and banners during your holiday marketing campaigns.
2. Personalise your customer experience
Customers want to feel valued, and one way you can do that is with personalisation. Nearly three-quarters of customers are frustrated by website content that’s not personalised. Personalisation pays off, with 80 percent of consumers saying they are more likely to make a purchase when brands use personalised marketing.
When you personalise an experience for your customers, you increase brand affinity. An easy way to do this is through your email messaging, using the information you gather during sign-ups to address your customer by name. Engaging customers by email is an important part of good eCommerce holiday marketing. Remember when contacting customers to make sure you always adhere to the relevant rules around data protection, GDPR and ePrivacy.
You can customise promotions and discounts using purchase history data, but email marketing is just the start. Your website can drive sales by using custom content gleaned from customer information, browsing history, and past purchases. A consumer trends report from Kibo found that personalised homepage promotions influence 85 percent of consumers to buy, while per
3. Rethink your online catalog
In addition to your regular product categories, consider adding gift sections to your online catalogue during your holiday marketing campaigns to help shoppers search for the perfect present. These are also opportunities to take advantage of holiday online shopping trends. For example, you can break down items by recipient or price range.
If a shopper needs to purchase a gift within a specific budget, having a page devoted to products you offer that fall within a range can be helpful. And all of us have at least one hard-to-shop-for person on our list. Creating pages that suggest gifts for people who have specific hobbies or preferences or are within certain demographics can make it easy to find the perfect gift.
4. Add details to product pages
An informative site is a vital piece of successful omnichannel marketing. Be sure to give customers as much product information as possible. If they’re unsure about an item, they’ll likely click away and find something else instead of trying to get answers. Ensure each product has a thorough description that includes dimensions, weight, material, and colour options. If possible, add photos that provide a 360-degree view of the item.
5. Highlight gift cards
If you aren’t already selling gift cards on your website, you’re ignoring one of the most lucrative holiday marketing tips and an essential stream of revenue. Gift cards have been the most popular items on wish lists for more than a dozen years, and this trend is expected to boost the growth of the global gift card market, according to Business Wire. And shoppers who purchase gift cards buy at least three each holiday season.
Gift cards are perfect for last-minute shoppers, and they can solve the problem of shopping for the hard-to-please person on shoppers’ lists.
6. Provide clear shipping information
Speedy and reliable shipping is extra important during the holiday online shopping season. This is especially true this year, when more shoppers might have to send gifts to loved ones, rather than deliver them in person.
Create a holiday shipping schedule that is posted in a prominent place on your website. For example, set purchase dates that guarantee delivery if sent by standard shipping, two-day shipping, and overnight shipping. Today’s customers expect to receive their purchases fast.
But fast does not mean a more expensive delivery option will do. A recent UPS survey found that holiday shoppers want to find a balance between shipping costs and speed, with cost being the primary concern. In fact, 51 percent of surveyed shoppers said they would consider a cheaper but slower shipping alternative, while another 38 percent would want incentives for making that choice.
7. Offer great customer service
People make mistakes with online orders, and packages can get lost. Customers will want a way to reach you with their questions. Make sure they have a way to contact you by phone, online chat, or email. Then offer prompt attention. According to a HubSpot Research survey, 90 percent of consumers want immediate responses from customer support, and 72 percent define immediate as being within 30 minutes.
By following these seven holiday marketing tips, you can better prepare for the holidays and help set up positive holiday online shopping experiences for customers. When you make a person’s holiday a little brighter, they’ll remember you. A happy customer is more likely to become a loyal customer, and a loyal customer can become an ambassador for your brand, bringing you business during the holidays and beyond.