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29 Ecommerce Tips from Experts to Unlock Holiday Shopping Success

Updated on December 8, 2021

18 Min Read
ecommerce-tips

This year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) Season is right around the corner.

In just a couple of days, all ecommerce stores will be competing to woo customers for their holiday campaigns by promoting the stores on all fronts. Experts predict that mobile and voice will play crucial role in getting the most sales. With this much at stake, where do you see your ecommerce store standing?

If you haven’t still started prepping for the holiday season, now is the right time to get your foot in the door. And, if you are not sure how to capture holiday shoppers early on, we have it all worked out for you.

Here are the top ecommerce tips from 29 entrepreneurs to help you make improvements to your holiday marketing.

Want to gear up for #BFCM?

Use our preparation guide to get up to speed and maximize your sales.

1. Focus on Analytics

lauren-cookLauren Cook-McKay – Director Marketing & Content at Divorce Answers

Make sure your analytics are running like clockwork!

It’s game time for your site, and you need to know that your customers are locating and purchasing the things they desire. You want to know right away if shoppers are getting no results from their searches or abandoning their shopping carts so you can take prompt action.

2. It Is All About Timing!

Tim GrinsdaleTim Grinsdale, Owner of TOAD Diaries

We’ve found it’s all about timing when it comes to the Christmas Holiday e-marketing campaigns.

Here’s an overview of what we did last year, and what the data suggested:

  • We tested our Holiday E-marketing campaigns on different segments of our database at different times (same offer and collateral).
  • The results showed that Mid-October was too early, with a very poor uptake.
  • We had similar results in our ‘last minute’ shouts (12th Dec)
  •  Early November seemed to be the ‘sweet spot’. (We presume this is because people tend to start thinking about Christmas shopping, but have not committed to too many purchases by that point)
  • Irrespective of the reasons, that’s what our data showed, so this year’s campaign will go out to the entire database on the 4th Nov.

3. Use Shareable Content

nick-edwardsNick Edwards – Director at Snow Finders

Make things that can be shared.

Integrate social media [Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+] buttons onto sites to encourage people to share preferred products from your site across their social networks, which gives full-service site search, navigation, merchandising, and user-generated
SEO. Show other influencers’ likes, faves, and recommendations within search results, and index material from multiple social networks in a separate tab on the search page to help your clients find social mentions rapidly. Pinterest’s PinIt button is* eCommerce* gold for visual companies; adding the button can generate significant traffic directly to your product pages, increasing revenue, I believe.

4. Expand Your Store’s Delivery Options

julian-goldieJulian Goldie – CEO at Goldie Agency

The variety of delivery possibilities is the spice of life.

Christmas is a great time to expand delivery choices, especially fast shipping if you haven’t already. There’s always an uncle out shopping at the last minute who needs the stuff yesterday. Just remember to add your return policies as well!

This will not only motivate your clients to buy, but it will also strengthen their faith in your brand.

Last-Minute SEO Tips to Get Your Store Ready for Black Friday

5. Market with Limited Inventory

Nicholas KinportsNicholas Kinports, EVP Strategy at Lonelybrand

As an ecommerce store owner and a marketer by trade, I can tell you that the sooner you attack the challenge, the better.

We launched a pre-holiday sale last week in one of our stores with a limited inventory that was transparent to the customers. We then placed some strategic Facebook advertising that drove traffic with urgency. The products in the special sale sold out overnight and we woke to an early holiday!

The Best Part?

We are going to offer discounts beginning on the week of Black Friday anyway, so now my team gets to come up with a new set of products to focus on during the key buying season.

A Few Other Ecommerce Tips:

  • Send an email to your customer list offering a loyalty discount for early purchases.
  • Remind customers and visitors to your site that inventory is limited, and once a product is gone, it won’t be back in stock before the holiday.
  • Be transparent with shipping times and remind your customers – by email and on site – about the last possible date to ship before major holidays.

6. Create Pre-Holiday VIP Lists with Bots

John Max BollingJohn Max Bolling, Head of Marketing and Sales at Engine

A holiday tacit or tip for generating sales early is actually building a secondary level of communication.

What we’ve been doing this year is using messenger bots to build pre-sales and VIP lists. First of all, we tend to identify our higher-value audiences within our email list and then we craft an email for that audience pushing them to a messenger.

We will also run Facebook ads against our high-value audiences pushing them to a messenger saying: ‘Hey, if you want to get in on a VIP sale, go ahead and activate this messenger bot and we’ll push a sale to you before anyone else gets it.’

It’s a way to push exclusivity as well as create a unique experience for users. It allows you to pre-sale and build momentum going into Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

7. Allow Product Personalization

william-cannonWilliam Cannon – CEO at Signaturely

Allow your customers to personalize your products.

Customizing Christmas gifts with a name, an inside joke, or a particular photo is very popular. You can enable the Customizer function
for your clients to allow them to personalize their goods through SPOD. When you allow customization, be sure to experiment with prices. Don’t be scared to charge appropriately because this is a tool that can set you apart from the competition, I believe.

8. Take Care of Technical Optimizations

Gerrid-SmithGerrid Smith – Chief Marketing Officer at Joy Organics

Optimize your listings.

To begin with, there are technical optimizations. When it comes to product data, each channel has its own set of criteria. Every channel you sell on has its own set of standards for titles, descriptions, and photos. They should also mention relevant qualities such as product dimensions, material, color, and size, among others. This precise information will aid in the optimization of search results. Furthermore, precise and well-written product descriptions boost consumer trust in your items.

Second, you must optimize your content to appeal to browsers and search engines. This necessitates a more in-depth, nuanced understanding of your clients’ needs. Include content that will appeal to and resonate with those buyers individually. It may be a how-to video or a link to a soft marketing piece that features other customers who have used your items.

9. Manage Your Inventory Effectively

Robert-StevensRobert Stevens – Founder & Chief Editor at WhichMountsSubwoofer

Before the holidays, pay special attention to managing inventory.

You will miss out on holiday sales as well as possible future sales from new clients if your website runs out of merchandise. Not only do you need a strong projection of what things will sell, but you also need to make absolutely sure you’ve given yourself enough lead time and factored in vendor delays. Late-arriving items place additional strain on your back-end operations, perhaps causing shipment delays.

Nothing is worse than being on the tail end of your designer’s timetable or having to pay to have your project accelerated because you didn’t plan ahead. The modern holiday shopper expects to be able to get what they need quickly and with minimal friction. That implies your website must offer solutions tailored to their individual demands as well as a smooth path to checkout. Is your e-commerce site up to the task?

10. Take the Omni-Channel Approach

alex-williamsAlex Williams – CFO at FindThisBestLLC

The best tip and example of ecommerce for holiday season success is to Upgrade
To An Omni-Channel Approach

Omni-channel marketing is trending for all the right reasons nowadays. The holiday season is vital for retailers as customers have high expectations. The need for seamless shopping experiences and effortless transactions has grown beyond luxury this year. Omni-channel marketing provides retailers with the option to make their inventory completely visible for customers to browse and navigate through. Customers can also order directly through vendors, which makes holiday shopping extremely convenient. Utilizing a solid social presence is important as more consumers are now shifting to mobile shopping.

Example:

Incorporating Omni-channels can be difficult due to customers having set tastes in brands. As a retail store, we used in-app shopping to increase the flow of traffic and eventually buyers for this holiday season.

11. Multiply Old Campaigns using Abandoned Cart Products

austin-larocheAustin LaRoche – CEO at ATAK Interactive

The Black Friday deals are the best time to make the dropped cart campaigns
more robust.

For decreasing the rates of shopping cart abandonment, it is not required to build and develop new campaigns. You can accomplish the goal of decreasing abandoned carts by multiplying the old campaigns. While planning the offers or discounts, consider the products which are dropped in the abandoned carts. As the people who have added those articles to their cart are most likely to buy the product, creating a personalized campaign can make that purchase with little hassle.

12. Prioritize Your SEO

courtney-buhlerCourtney Buhler – Founder & CEO at Lash Pro Academy

If you want to be as prepared as possible for the holiday shopping season, prioritize your site’s SEO.

Improving SEO takes time, so you need to start early. Start with a carefully crafted keyword research strategy. Look for trending, high-ranking keywords for holiday shopping to use in your webpages and product descriptions. You can also boost organic traffic by creating a landing page specifically for important sale events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday that can help convert more leads into sales.

13. Create Hooks for Returning Customers

Amy KilvingtonAmy Kilvington, Content Marketing Manager at Blinds Direct

Holiday shopping is no longer just about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead, the extended period of November until the middle of December should be considered for a differentiated marketing strategy.

Here are my other top ecommerce tips for capturing holiday shoppers early:

  1. We recommend that prior to the holiday shopping period, make sure your product descriptions are up to date. Aim for unique, clear and accurate descriptions of around 350 words.
  2. Another thing to remember is that while your traffic may tail off following Cyber Monday, ecommerce sites need to think about return customers as well as new consumers who are still looking for bargains. Rather than bringing your pre-Christmas sales activity to a halt, consider extending it into the working week.

14. Run Ads Early

Nate MastersonNate Masterson, CMO of Maple Holistics

With the more importance of ads today, you should start running them as early as you can.

In the case of Christmas you want to start running your carefully planned ads the day after the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales are over. That means that you should start working on the ads in mid-to-late August.

i. Grab Attention with Giveaways

Social Media Giveaways are a great way for retailers to take advantage of the increased spending during the holiday season. Contests and Giveaways naturally drive more traffic to your pages and products, ultimately boosting your brand recognition. In addition to acting as a friendly nudge to previous buyers, you can expect to see a rise in the number of new customers.

ii. Email Automation Works Best

MailChimp may be known as a newsletter service, but the marketing automation powerhouse can do much more. In fact, many companies rely on this software to send postcards, create landing pages, and form targeted ads, all of which are crucial for the holiday season.

As retailers across the world prepare for the holiday rush, MailChimp can give your team a much-need advantage by promoting your brand and products with captivating content. Likewise, MailChimp takes marketing automation to the next level for ecommerce companies by enabling to go beyond their traditional digital marketing channels with printed postcards.

15. Run Stress-Tests on Your Website

Ian-HaynesIan Haynes – Marketing Director at PlumbingLab

Make sure your website, server and teams are ready to handle the extra traffic.

Troubleshoot a few times. Add extra pictures and videos of products and make sure all the deals and discounts are boldly visible on the site. Start an email and messaging marketing campaign either on your own or with the help of a professional. Personalize your marketing campaign to create a homely feel to stand out from big corporate websites. Target past customers in particular as they are much more likely to respond to marketing efforts. You can do this by offering special deals to them.

16. Dedicated Holiday Product Pages

reese-spykermanReese Spykerman – CEO at Design by Reese

Create holiday-only bundles and deals that have their own dedicated product pages.

Create holiday-only bundles and deals that have their own dedicated product pages. Link directly to these product pages from your promotional emails, your website home page, and even from your main website navigation. On these product pages, make it clear in the product description and possibly in product photos that the bundle or deal is a limited-time, holiday-only offer, which gives customers a compelling reason to purchase now. As your inventory on the bundles or deals declines, put a “limited inventory” counter on the product page to nudge customers who might be on the fence to buy before items are sold out.

17. Promote Through Local Events

David AmbrogioDavid Ambrogio, SEO & content strategist at Online Optimism

Focus on smaller local events for less competition and a better chance to stand out.

Here are my other top ecommerce tips to attract holiday shoppers early:

  1. From small local events to even Small Business Saturday, these lesser-known days give you a chance to celebrate and offer something unique to your customers without the stiff competition that comes with well-known discount days like Black Friday.
  2. Offer sales before Thanksgiving. Recent trends have most people doing the bulk of their shopping before Thanksgiving, so stay ahead of the competition by offering sales and discounts even before Black Friday. You’re actually more likely to find good deals on Thanksgiving rather than Black Friday — and there are even great deals to be found on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving.
  3. Participate in Cyber Monday, even if you’re a small local business. The majority of shoppers are done with their shopping by Cyber Monday, and this is also the biggest retail ecommerce day of the year. Shoppers have come to expect deals on this day, so small businesses should take advantage of this by having products listed online and offering sales around this time.
  4. Encourage early holiday shopping by adding a call to action reminding customers to shop for the holidays in their receipt for online and in store purchases. Be sure to offer an incentive such as a discount code or free shipping to encourage them to purchase your products.

18. Get Featured by Online Media Outlets

Stephanie Wiggins, Django Brand

I fully appreciate the importance of getting ahead of the holiday season. One tip for capturing holiday shoppers early is to get featured by online media outlets and blogs.

Before you say easier said than done, consider this. Almost every media outlet these days publishes endless product recommendation lists. I’m talking about lists like The Top 10 Best Hair Dryers and The 50 Best Cat Gifts for This Holiday Season. These simple yet powerful articles are an incredible opportunity for any e-retailer to get free press and traffic. They will also contribute to your website’s search engine optimization and ranking.

An example: DJANGO recently nailed down ahead of Labor Day Weekend. To find these press opportunities, simply start Googling. If you design and sell salt and pepper shakers, for instance, research popular kitchen, recipe, and food related blogs. Google best kitchen gifts and see what holiday guides from the prior year pop up. Reach out to these media sites and blogs, warmly introduce yourself and your product, and kindly ask to be considered for any upcoming holiday guide features. You’ll be surprised at how many blogs agree to feature you!

19. Unique Product Descriptions

Susan-SmithSusan Smith – Marketing Manager at Velden Engineering

Make your copy more effective!

Because features rarely sell, you should look for ways to accentuate the benefits. Use [unique] product descriptions to express something new and enticing if you carry things that aren’t unique to your store. This is an excellent approach to make sure you’re not just competing on price, in addition to avoiding the SEO penalty Google imposes on copied material.

Add-ons are frequently the secret to success. Stickers, for example, might be a great extra sale, whereas vouchers are a great method to convert a choosy buyer, convinced

20. Communicate Your Order Deadlines

daniel-foleyDaniel Foley – SEO Manager at Snowpads

Make sure your order deadlines are explicitly communicated!

One of your consumers’ biggest worries while shopping for holiday gifts will be delivery times. It is critical to get gifts in time for the big day. Set and communicate a clear cutoff date for Christmas orders to avoid disappointment. Make a banner for it, post about it on social media, and make it very visible. When it comes to ensuring delivery in time for Christmas, be cautious.

Unexpected delays can occur. Package discounts are also a terrific approach to make bargains without lowering the worth of your products. T-shirts with socks, mouse pads, and water bottles, or hoodies and hats are all good options, I am convinced.

21. Use the SMS Marketing Channel

Greg-ZakowiczGregory Zakowicz – Senior Marketing Expert at Omnisend

Last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined to send more SMS messages than the entire month of November in 2019. This year is on pace to send three times as many text messages as in 2020.

Businesses looking to ‘up their game’ this holiday season should look no further than the fast-growing marketing channel of SMS. Last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined to send more SMS messages than the entire month of November in 2019. This year is on pace to send three times as many text messages as in 2020. And it drives sales. Last November, SMS conversion rates increased 136% year-over-year and reached an astounding 9% on Giving Tuesday (the day after Cyber Monday). Overall, 19% of all November SMS orders came on Black Friday, which also happened to be the busiest day for email inboxes—making SMS the perfect way to cut through the noise. SMS is not slowing down and should be considered a must-have year-round marketing channel for businesses. Ecommerce store owners looking to increase their holiday sales without increasing their budgets should focus on maximizing the value of their automated marketing emails. Last November, 27% of all email marketing orders came from automated emails. This year, the number jumped to 32%.

More specifically, four messages—welcome, and cart, product and browse abandonment—accounted for 95% of all automated orders on Black Friday & 91% on Cyber Monday. By focusing on implementing and optimizing these messages, businesses can take full advantage of the consumer-preferred opt-in marketing channel this holiday season.

22. Create Limited Time Deals

Danavir-SarriaDanavir Sarria – Founder at SupplyDrop

Ultimately, the holidays are about limited time deals rather than any sort of creative wizardry..

We consult with every client on making a once a year Black Friday offer with additional derivatives for Cyber Monday and Christmas. If possible, we also try to confirm if there are any new products in the pipeline for Black Friday. Ultimately, the holidays are about limited time deals rather than any sort of creative wizardry, so we spend the majority of our time trying to come up with the irresistible offers that sell themselves. This typically means some combination of discounts bigger than 25%, free or expedited shipping, or free bonuses. In addition to this, the holidays are also the season to be the most aggressive with email marketing. So while you may normally send 1-2 emails per week, we’ll send 10-15 emails during the entire Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion.

Here’re Some Tips for Black Friday Email Campaigns to Skyrocket Your Holiday Sales

23. Invest in Marketing Automation

Jenna Erickson, Marketing Manager at Codal

To get the most out of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas, companies need to be creative!

During this time of the year, marketing campaigns are at an all-time high, for any type of store owner. This also means that consumers are being flooded with marketing messages from many different brands, and in order to stand out, you have to be creative, eye-catching, and personal. Even if you have a boring product, you can still tell your story and get your message out in a creative way.

Coca-Cola has done this very well with their “share a Coke” campaign. Although this was not a digital campaign, Coca-Cola got very creative and personalized by putting names on their coke cans. Simple, but personal and very effective. To get the most out of this busy time of the year, I would recommend investing in a ecommerce marketing automation software. This will help you plan out your holiday campaigns, automate your marketing, capture every lead that comes on your site, and gain more repeat-buyers.

24. Promote User Generated Content

Anthony CapetolaAnthony Capetola, Marketing Manager at Sales & Orders

Take advantage of the fact that 21.4% of users on mobile will be using their devices for holiday shopping by using push notifications for people who have your app on their phones.

A few more ways for ecommerce owners to take advantage of the holiday season and capture a targeted audience early is to:

  • You can use push notifications to build anticipation for any sales you may be offering. This is something that Abercrombie & Fitch did successfully.
  • Facilitate and promote user-generated content by making use of branded hashtags on social media. UGC not only promotes your brand to others within said user’s network, but it also doubles as a high-quality referral, as well.
  • For advertising, make sure to take advantage of retargeting campaigns which allows you to capture people who have previously shown interest in your brand. People are already in buying mode during the holiday season, and retargeting allows you to remind customers of your businesses, increasing the likelihood that they purchase from you as opposed to a competitor.

25. Create a Reputation Funnel

John PinedoJohn Pinedo, Founder of Freedom Bound Business

  • Abandon Cart Email Automation Series Setup: Have at least 3 follow up emails for visitors who abandon the cart. This is a perfect time to offer visitors holiday coupon codes and to use scarcity.
  • Create a Customer Reputation Funnel: After a certain amount of time, send out an automated email asking your holiday customers for feedback on their purchase and/or your brand. In the email, give them chances to leave positive and negative feedback. For positive feedback clicks, send customers to your review platform of choice. For negative feedback clicks, send customers to an internal form only you and your customers can see.

26. Strengthen Your Website’s Infrastructure

Eric-McGeeEric McGee – Senior Network Engineer at TRG Datacenters

Optimize your site’s speed, security, and overall reliability to maximize revenue this holiday season.

Your web infrastructure needs to be stable enough as well as adequately scalable to sustain the increased traffic characteristic of online holiday shopping. Consider moving to cloud hosting to improve your site’s uptime, or even using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to optimize the use of your servers’ resources. Other alternatives to improve your site’s uptime include compressing your images, and JavaScript code, as well as web caching. Also, assess your third-party integrations and ensure they are up to date, and can comfortably handle the spike in traffic.

27. Visitor-based Website Personalization

jay-batsJay Bats – Co-Founder & Developer at ContentBASE

Website personalization.

If you are treating all of your visitors the same, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to engage them and close a deal. Website personalization enables you to target certain groups of people with customized offers. New visitors, for example, can get one offer while returning visitors get another. You should also think about customizing based on:

  • Location
  • Type of referral (social media, email, organic, paid, etc.)
  • Time of day
  • Keywords or search query
  • On-site behavior
  • Contents of the shopping cart or the average order value

28.  Website Security Protocols

idan-cohenIdan Cohen – CEO & Co-Founder at Reflectiz

Site security is a critical part of gearing up for the holidays.

While eCommerce companies are generally focused on protecting their own code, they often neglect the potential security vulnerabilities of third-party software generating threats like web-skimming, Magecart, and insecure configurations. To fully prepare for the holidays, companies should try to localize any external scripts to keep them “clean” from outside threats. Furthermore, they need to double check their checkout page to ensure the scripts are doing exactly what they should be and aren’t sending their customers’ data to unauthorized parties. Just in case they are breached, they need to make sure their security, legal, and PR teams are ready to handle the fallout.

29. Offer Several Delivery Options

Karl RobinsonKarl Robinson, Director & Co-founder of Logicata

When preparing for the holiday season a smart thing you can do is create a variety of delivery options – with many people looking to purchase what will be surprised, it might be important for the items to come at different times: for example, a weekday or weekend, where it is easier for them to accept the delivery as well as hide the package. By adding something small like this, you could increase the likelihood of somebody purchasing due to convenience.

Something else to consider is providing feedback on item pages. Many people will be browsing lots of items and providing feedback can really help to build confidence in your business, especially if you have a smaller name that people may not have come across before.

Final Word: Effort is the Key!

These ecommerce tips may look overwhelming, but they aren’t. First of all, choose only those products or services that are the easiest to market and deliver. Once you are done with them, move to the harder ones. Dedicate a good amount of time and resources necessary to capture the interest of your customers and you will automatically outperform your competitors.

With that said, your store hosting will play a major role in keeping the store stable during the holiday craze. It is better to choose a stable ecommerce web host, probably a managed cloud that leaves you with enough time to focus on your ecommerce store’s growth and operations.

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Shoaib Israr

Shoaib is a passionate digital marketer who believes creativity is everything. His interests lie in content, digital marketing and he loves to help agency and ecommerce business owners in growing and expanding their businesses. In his free time, Shoaib loves to play football or binge-watch some interesting shows on Netflix.

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