It’s Never Too Early: Preparing Now for the Most Wonderful Time of the Year in eCommerce Retail – Part 2

Here we are, after Labour Day, going full steam ahead to the Fall months. The kids are off the school and we feel like we can finally have a breath of relaxation. Retailers, don’t bask too long in this feeling though – there’s still a lot to get done in order to be ready for the holiday season! Last week, in Part 1 of this blog, we discussed some of the back-end and operational preparations an online store owner needs to make headway on right away. The next steps we need to get ready to tackle are the actual customer-facing promotional and merchandising strategies. In order to have a successful last quarter of the year (and if you remember from part 1, the most profitable part of the year), having the right mix of marketing approaches is essential to making your numbers. From getting the right exposure for your brand name to having the most competitive offerings, devising and executing a preset plan from as early as right now can provide peace-of-mind when you’re in the thick of it all. It can also allow for some leeway in making adjustments to the strategy; it is always far better to be able to fine-tune your plans while coasting through the rush in order to maximize the revenue generation, rather than panicking to make it till the end in mere hopes of bringing in some profits. With that in mind, let’s take a look at considerations in regards to promotions and marketing, website look and feel, website content, and special product offerings that your online store would benefit from finalizing ahead of time.

Promotions and Marketing
Don’t miss out on any marketing opportunities for the holiday season – ‘tis the time when companies have a massive chance of acquiring new customers. Websites have reported a 50% boost in ad impressions, a 100% increase in click-through-rates, growth of direct traffic by 150%, an increase in average order values by 30% and in conversion rates by 60% during these festive months (source). It is also worth noting that in 2016 promotional purchases were up 79% in November and over 200% during the first week of December compared with the same time the previous year (source). Thus, you just can’t get away from giving a little promo love to your shoppers; a discount-heavy November/December should be accounted for in your annual plan since the beginning. Develop a strategy and budget that allows you to utilize a multi-channel approach so that your offers can get in front of as many people as possible. In order to figure out the weight of different types of marketing approaches (ie: email marketing, social media, Adwords, etc.), we highly recommend analyzing data from previous campaigns and divvying up the budget according to where your site has seen the most success. Next, prepare all promotional content in advance so that it simply becomes a matter of scheduling, instead of always finding yourself in a rush to create content last minute.

christmas blog imageWebsite Look & Feel
As the months whiz by and we get closer to the holiday season, it’s a great idea to update the look and feel of your website so that shoppers feel the festive mood as they navigate through the website. Think about putting some festive “wrapping” around your store: change font colors and background images (while still following the general theme of your brand), add some “cheer” to your logo, swap regular header banners with Christmas-y ones, advertise seasonal promotions right on the home page, and more. For starters though, as we find ourselves at the end of Summer, it isn’t too early to create a “Christmas Gift Ideas” tab on your website to provide inspirations and to cater to the needs of early shoppers. Doing this will also improve your SEO so that the web store pops-up in the top results when consumers type “Christmas Gifts” in search bars; an easy opportunity for exposure not to overlook.

Getting Creative with Website Content
Now you’ve updated the look & feel and shoppers are feeling cheery when they enter your site, don’t take this positive feeling away by lacking in holiday-inspired themes and products for them to choose from! We bet many content designers just cringed at the sheer amount of work this can be. This is where Mediaclip can be your best friend: firstly, we provide a complete library of content that is ready to be used as is or be used as a base for your unique designs. The included content has themes and products relating to weddings, baby showers/announcements, birthdays, and yes…the holidays! Designers can look forward to simply and easily adapting the content with certain specifications unique to your business requirements and BAM…it’s ready to be pushed to the public. Furthermore, this professionally curated library includes Smart Design Themes that auto-adapt to fit on different formats of the same product as well as adjust the layouts according to the orientation of consumers’ photos for an optimal display. This means that designers only have to create the themes once instead of creating it over and over again so that it can be used on various formats. Yes, designers…you can let out a big sigh of relief!

Product Offering Suggestions by Mediaclip 
As mentioned before, this is a time when customers especially look for personalized products such a calendars, cards, photobooks and other gifts, so your website needs to be ready with lots of product options in these categories, as well as something unique to get that extra traction. Here are some ideas to help get your content ahead of all your competitors:

Take personalized calendars to the next levelcalendarblog

There are so many vendors out there who offer the ability to personalize calendars by putting family photos on the top while using a generic dates grid on the bottom. Here’s your chance to surpass some expectations this year…offer editable grids! By using Mediaclip’s calendars you can allow consumers to make them truly personal; shoppers now have the ability to create, edit and delete custom events, such as a family member’s birthday or other special events, for a perfectly personalized outlook on the next year.

 

christmas ballAdd a personalized twinkle to collectible ornaments

Collectable ornaments can be even more one-of-a-kind with a personal image and message on it. It’s a great way to document a family’s evolution. Tree decorating is often an important tradition among many families and by offering customers the option to add a special personal touch can turn the whole experience into a walk down memory lane every year, remembering those who may have left and welcoming those who have joined.

Wrap them up for Christmas

Not only can you offer a special Gifting product selection for Christmas, but can also provide customizable wrapping options to create those emotional connections between gift giver and recipient right from the first glance. This is an easy way to repurpose existing content from items like posters into gift wrap, or you could even add a special Packaging category for the holidays that includes customizable gift boxes and bags, as well as gift labels and tags.

For more ideas on how to prepare your online shop for the Christmas rush and to see our products and themes that your store can offer this season, drop by Booth 4543 at Print 17 (if you plan to be there); otherwise contact us for your festive demo today! Cheers to your most profitable Holiday season yet!