The final quarter of the retail calendar is well-underway, with key dates including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas fast-approaching. While the majority of holiday season strategies will have been finalized months in advance, as we reach this critical period in the annual shopping calendar brands cannot afford to become complacent and must be constantly optimizing their campaigns if they want to capitalize on these opportunities.
Over last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers enjoyed a 122% increase in website traffic, leading to a 352% increase in sales on Black Friday alone, compared to an average day. This, combined with results from Deloitte’s annual holiday economic forecast which predicts online sales will rise 17-22% during the holiday season, means brands will undoubtedly be hoping for the same success in 2018.
However, despite carefully devised strategies, success is not always guaranteed. The retail environment is anything but predictable and brands must be prepared to be flexible throughout the holiday season to respond to consumer behavior, external events and market changes.
It may already be November, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to optimize your digital and personalization strategy for the holiday season. But what can you do to increase your chances of achieving a profitable end of 2018? Here’s an exclusive preview of our latest ebook which contains some last-minute holiday season tips (you can download the full eBook here):
- Do you understand your customers?
20% of shoppers will do their Christmas shopping over this period and you are likely to see a lot more one-time shoppers and bargain hunters. These are visitors who are browsing your site for a one time need or to grab themselves a good deal. As a result, your audience may vary from usual. To truly know who you’re targeting over the holiday season, you need to understand your audience all-year-round.
Use shopping modes to analyze the behavior of your visitors at different stages of their journey, for example those who are browsing or researching. Identify the types of behavior customers in each shopping mode display in the lead up to the events, then use these insights to power more relevant and personalized experiences during the remainder of the holiday season.
- Are you optimizing your advertising spend?
Acquisition isn’t just getting more expensive, it’s also getting harder, with over 90% of digital ads seen but not clicked on. Over Black Friday 2018, 48% of retailers plan to increase their ad spend compared to last year, with 30% wanting to see higher returns on their investment from ad spend over this period.
However, achieving greater returns from advertising takes more than just increasing budgets and reaching more people. There are multiple ways to increase the efficiency of your advertising campaigns and achieve greater returns on your advertising spend this holiday season. One of these involves focusing on the 90%. Instead of relying on clicks alone to drive returns, connect ads to onsite experiences so that you can deliver more relevant onsite experiences for users, aligned with ads they viewed, helping them to quickly find the products that sparked their interest and brought them to your website in the first place.
- Are your onsite experiences personalized and relevant?
How often does your homepage feature in your plans for this holiday season? If the answer is a lot, and you aren’t delivering homepage personalization, you may want to think again. Brands that drive too many people to a generic homepage can expect high bounce rates. Already 68% of paid traffic bounces without engaging with the paying brand, and with more traffic from browsers and bargain-hunters over Black Friday, get your onsite experience wrong and you can expect this to increase.
This holiday season you need to be delivering at least a basic level of personalization from the moment a visitor lands, wherever they land. Personalize their experience from the get-go, using seamless and intelligent onsite overlays, such as Digital Assistant. Digital Assistant alters the onsite experience to create unique campaigns for every visitor in real-time, helping them to find the products, information or sales offers they are looking for, without the need for you to amend your homepage or create multiple landing pages.
To discover our remaining three tips, and for more in-depth insights into how you can make improvements to your holiday campaigns in this critical sales quarter, download our latest ebook ‘6 last-minute holiday season tips for ecommerce marketers’.