Ecommerce is big business—especially around the holiday season. Some analysts predict that online shopping will yield revenues of $107 billion this Christmas—an unprecedented amount. But the Web isn’t only a money-maker for those who have ecommerce shops. Even for brick and mortar businesses that do not directly sell from their websites, an online presence can improve brand visibility and consumer trust—helping to increase in-store foot traffic during the most significant shopping season of the year.
In other words, virtually all businesses need to look to the holidays as an important season with distinct marketing objectives—and the time to start implementing holiday-specific marketing strategies is now, when shoppers are beginning to make their lists, do some research, and even make some early purchases.
The question is, what can your company do to prepare its online marketing efforts for this crucial time of the year? In this post, we’ll share some best practices and some rules of thumb.
Shorten Your Forms
Whether you’re selling products or simply seeking email signups, you need online forms to capture the necessary information—and at times, the temptation may be to make these forms too complicated, soliciting demographic information that you want but don’t actually need. Remember, though, that long forms are commonly cited as a reason for shopping cart abandonment—meaning you could actually be scaring off potential customers with those long forms. Keep them as short as you can, especially during the no-room-for-error holiday shopping season.
Implement Type-Ahead Address Verification
Anything you can do to make search, shopping, and checkout easier will ultimately improve your customer experience—and that’s helpful for referrals as well as retention. One practical step you can take is to implement type-ahead address verification, which simply makes it less cumbersome for shoppers to input their contact information. Additionally, it ensures accurate addresses, which can bring efficiency to your operations and delivery.
Provide the Right Keyboard
Mobile shoppers want keyboards that are tailored to the data input they’re being asked for—again, making it easier for them to provide you with their information. Be sure to always select the keyboard that makes the most sense for the forms and fields in question. This, too, enhances the user experience and minimizes shopping cart abandonment.
Be Mindful of International Addresses
If you’re offering international shipping, it’s important to understand the nuances of non-U.S. addresses. The best approach here is to get adaptive checkout fields, which mimic country-specific formatting and allow your buyers to check out without any obstacles. An alternative is the single-line address form, which not only takes up less space on your checkout page but also lets your customer input information without any formatting worries.
Make Wise Choices for Shipping & Tracking
To ensure happy customers, you’ll want to make sure to choose the best courier—and that’s something that’s largely dependent on your location. It’s certainly smart to research different options, to take user reviews seriously, and to be open-minded about regional partners, who may offer better rates than their nationally-known counterparts.
Make sure that your courier partner offers good options for order tracking, which is a necessity during the holiday season. With orders being plentiful and delays inevitable, you’ll need to make sure you have an easy way to stay on top of each and every order.
Use Seasonal Verbiage in Your PPC Ads
The holiday shopping season gives you a chance to broaden your keyword focus a bit, not just using product- or brand-centered language but also seeking some terms that are tied to the shopping season itself. Using a term like “stocking stuffer” or “best kids’ Christmas toy” can help you show up in searches that would otherwise be off-limits to you.
And don’t forget: If you’re using AdWords or Facebook ads to promote holiday-specific deals or discounts, make sure your ads link back to specific landing pages!
Fine-Tune Your Website
There’s no time like the present to give your website a quick review and make any slight holiday-season amendments that are called for. If your site doesn’t already boast about your free shipping options or your prompt handing of orders, make sure you add some brief copy to get these points across. You might also go ahead and post holiday hours and information about any upcoming holiday events that your customers will want to know about.
Fire Up Your Email List
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas shopping season in general may still feel like they’re far off—but they’re not! The time to finalize your yearly sales or seasonal offers is now—and after you do so, it’s smart to send a note to the customers on your email list, letting them know what they can expect in the coming days. Make it easy for them to include your business in their holiday shopping plans.
Prepare Your Website & Your Business for the Holidays
The holiday shopping season can be a boom for your business—but to capitalize on it, you have to be proactive. Even some simple tweaks to your marketing strategy can make the holidays more fruitful. And if you need help, we’re here for you; reach out to the enCOMPASS team today to learn about what you can do to make the holiday season count.
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