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.
- Engage & Maintain Flexibility
- It is all about timing!
- Don’t Disregard Your Present Clients
- Expand Your Store’s Delivery Options
- Create a Plan to Help You Succeed
- Create Pre-Holiday VIP Lists with Bots
- Allow Product Personalization
- Take Care of Technical Optimizations
- Maintain a Degree of Adaptability
- Make Holiday Gift Lists
- Multiply Old Campaigns using Abandoned Cart Products
- Prioritize Your SEO
- Upgrade Your Store’s Presentation
- Run Ads Early
- Examining the Results
- Dedicated Holiday Product Pages
- Promote Through Local Events
- Trigger An Alert On Sales
- Advocacy Marketing Is Useful
- Provide ‘Delivery is Free’
- Utilize Customer Service Methods
- Create Limited Time Deals
- Mobile Optimization, Focus on CRO and Stock Planning
- Promote User-Generated Content
- Run Early Sales
- Strengthen Your Website’s Infrastructure
- Automate Your Site’s Customer Service
- Website Security Protocols
- Ready Your Supply Chain
Want to gear up for #BFCM?
Use our preparation guide to get up to speed and maximize your sales.
1. Engage & Maintain Flexibility
Alex Uriarte – Personal Injury Attorney at 1-800 Injured
The holidays are not the time to set advertisements and forget about them until after the holiday season.
During a potentially volatile shopping season, I believe that firms must remain involved for the duration. The holidays are not the time to set advertisements and forget about them until after the holiday season. Instead, be willing to adjust your advertising budget when something is not performing as expected or to double down on a successful tactic. If you find yourself falling short of your goals, you may need to boost your advertising budget. Being adaptable over the Christmas season entails paying close attention to your advertising accounts, assessing your progress towards your objectives, and making potentially difficult decisions when necessary. By remaining active and adaptable, you will have the highest opportunity of achieving success.
2. It Is All About Timing!
Tim 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. Don’t Disregard Your Present Clients
Kavin Patel – Founder and CEO of Convrrt
Your present consumers will be the greatest source of revenue during peak shopping seasons.
I feel that to improve your holiday planning: In most circumstances, your present consumers will be the greatest source of revenue during peak shopping seasons, as well as a fertile field for finding new customers. Both Google and Facebook enable firms to launch campaigns aimed at past customers. Facebook also provides tools for creating lookalike audiences based on existing customer lists. Consider this as a potential alternative for engaging your present clients in the fourth quarter.
4. Expand Your Store’s Delivery Options
Julian 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.
5. Create a Plan to Help You Succeed
Robert Smith – Head of Marketing at Psychometric Success
I recommend prioritizing your spending in accordance with your goals.
Instead of spreading your limited advertising budget thin across all available channels, I recommend prioritizing your spending in accordance with your goals, which should include reaching out to three distinct groups of people: existing customers, people who are actively looking for the products you sell, and people who are completely unfamiliar with your brand. When you rank your target demographics in proportion to your objectives, you may see where your advertising budget is best put to use. To put it another way, this will help you allocate your advertising dollars where they will do the most good for your company. In order to boost seasonal sales, one strategy could be to shift emphasis toward capturing existing demand via Microsoft and Google’s advertising networks and to focus on existing consumers via email marketing or loyalty programs. If you want to expand your customer base, though, you may want to put more resources into social media awareness campaigns and snatching up existing search traffic. Realizing that various forms of advertising can reach consumers at various stages of the buying process allows you to fine-tune your approach for optimal outcomes.
6. Create Pre-Holiday VIP Lists with Bots
John 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 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 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. Maintain a Degree of Adaptability
Andrew Priobrazhenskyi – CEO of DiscountReactor
Don’t let yourself get bored; maintain some degree of adaptability.
Despite the potential for turbulence throughout the holiday shopping season, I believe it is crucial for retailers to maintain customer engagement throughout the entire period. Ads shouldn’t be scheduled and left to run on autopilot until after the holidays. Instead, be adaptable and ready to switch your advertising budget when something isn’t working, or to increase your spending on what is. The advertising budget may need to be increased if progress is slower than expected. Being adaptable over the holiday season requires keeping an eye on advertising accounts, keeping track of how well you’re doing against your targets, and being prepared to make some tough calls. You can increase your odds of success by actively participating and remaining adaptable.
10. Make Holiday Gift Lists
Travis Lindemoen – Managing Director of Nexus IT Group
Starting holiday gift guides is one of the best ways to optimize and prepare your e-commerce store.
In my opinion, starting holiday gift guides is one of the best ways to optimize and prepare your e-commerce store for the next holiday season. This is a tried and true strategy, but it still bears consideration. Inspiring your customers and keeping them on your website for longer is easy with the help of gift recommendations. Spend some time thinking about the types of people who are likely to be on the holiday buying lists of your target audience and adjust accordingly. To ensure you’re using the best images or photos for your gift guide, it’s often helpful to contact the business directly. This guarantees that you receive the most up-to-date digital materials, which were painstakingly crafted to showcase the product in its best possible light.
11. Multiply Old Campaigns using Abandoned Cart Products
Austin LaRoche – CEO at ATAK Interactive
The Black Friday deals are the best time to make the dropped cart campaigns
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 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. Upgrade Your Store’s Presentation
Robert Warner – Head of Marketing at VirtualValley
When decorating your online store for the holidays, remember to think about the customer’s journey from start to finish.
Modifying your store’s layout and window dressing is, in my opinion, the single most effective thing you can do to optimize and ready your online shop for the holidays. Your shop, like most others, probably looks better decked out in holiday decor. When decorating your online store for the holidays, remember to think about the customer’s journey from start to finish. Changing your banner adverts to something more holiday-themed is only the beginning of good visual merchandising. Make sure you’re highlighting your best-selling items or the stock you’re trying to move on the category pages of your online store. You can also evaluate the customization of the design, with the goal of creating a system that changes to meet the specific needs and preferences of your customers.
14. Run Ads Early
Nate 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. Examining the Results
Gary Hunter – Founder at CompareGolfPrices
Performance testing is the first step in getting ready for the holiday traffic.
Performance testing is the first step in getting ready for the holiday traffic, therefore I think it would be beneficial if you took initiative in this area. Check out the purchasing experience, simplicity of navigation and browsing, and the simple checkout and shopping cart procedures. Reviewing site analytics is essential to confirming crucial engagement metrics like bounce rate, time on site, time on page, and other insightful consumer data. Try to spot bottlenecks. I believe it is important to review your data from the previous holiday season as well as the data from the rest of the year in order to gain a better understanding of what leads to a great conversion in terms of the customer experience and the performance of your eCommerce shop. Make sure to run load tests and adequately set up your store’s infrastructure for the impending traffic rush. Examine any snags that may exist. Performance tests can highlight flaws with what sometimes appears to be straightforward work but can lead to unforeseen problems during the actual run.
16. Dedicated Holiday Product Pages
Reese 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 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Trigger An Alert On Sales
Shad Elia – CEO of New England Home Buyers
An excellent strategy to boost your ecommerce sales is to send out timely reminders.
Due to their hectic schedules, people anxiously await the holiday season’s bargains on their favorite products. You might forget about it and become enraged as all get out, but that’s where you as a company can step in and simplify things for both your company and the consumer. An excellent strategy to promote yourself and boost your e-commerce sales is to send out timely reminders about the products and the discount being offered.
19. Advocacy Marketing Is Useful
Tiffany Payne – Head of Marketing at Replace Your Docs
Advocacy marketing can help your brand stand out from the holiday crowds!
Advocacy marketing can help your brand stand out from the holiday crowds due to the abundance of advertisements over the holiday season. While there are a number of ways to use advocacy marketing to boost e-commerce sales, I advise using the tried-and-true advocacy marketing program to boost sales over the Christmas season. In an advocate marketing program, you invite your devoted followers and clients to participate in your content marketing initiatives. Customers sign up for your program using their social media accounts. By sharing your material with their friends, family, and followers once they sign up, they can earn points and prizes.
20. Provide ‘Delivery is Free’
Alex Constantinou – MD at The Fitness Circle
Free delivery is the best promotional offer!
Free delivery is the best promotional offer you can offer all year long if you sell anything online. Free delivery is essential, though, if you want to see significant holiday sales. When making holiday marketing plans think about providing free shipping, and let your consumers know. Include a strong reminder of your free shipping offer throughout your online store and in your marketing emails.
21. Utilize Customer Service Methods
Dean Lee – Head of eCommerce at 88Vape
One of the finest times of the year for businesses to rise swiftly on the rating scale is during the holiday season.
One of the finest times of the year for businesses to rise swiftly on the rating scale is during the holiday season. Monitoring important metrics, listening to customer feedback, and aiming for improved satisfaction rates are the keys to attaining that. Negative response and chargeback claims ought to be at the top of the list for the key indicators because they immediately assist brands in identifying operational process flaws and locating the unfavorable elements that influence customers’ purchasing decisions. One further sign to keep an eye out for is the A-to-Z Guarantee Claims on Amazon.com. It is never sufficient for brands to just monitor key indicators to make improvements. The learning curve begins with the mining procedure. Customers simply voice displeasure with the outcomes, but businesses should heed that message and look for the root of the problem.
For instance, concerns regarding the discrepancy between expectations and actual items are sometimes attributable to the marketing materials or the product listing page’s (PLP) dearth of visual examples. The direct link between a customer’s desire for a product and the anticipated satisfaction they will receive from purchasing it should be emphasized by retailers. The final stage of a buying funnel will move more quickly thanks to that link, turning wants into actual purchases.
22. Create Limited Time Deals
Danavir 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.
23. Mobile Optimization, Focus on CRO & Stock Planning
Sophia Jones – Investment Analyst at PiggyBank
Focus on CRO, mobile optimization and stock planning, altogether!
First, I tell them to make sure that their website is optimized for mobile devices. People use their phones and tablets to shop online more than they ever have before, and if their site isn’t optimized for these devices, they will lose customers. Second, I advise them to focus on performance and conversion rate optimization (CRO). The holidays are a busy time of year—people are buying gifts for lots of different people—and when there’s so much going on already, the business should not be another headache for their customers.
I always remind them to make sure that their site loads quickly so people can find what they need quickly and leave with a positive impression. Lastly, I tell them to plan out how many products will sell and how many will remain in stock after the holidays come and go. This way, they won’t be left with an overstock situation after Christmas has passed and all those gifts are unwrapped.
For instance, my client, who runs a clothing e-commerce store, found that following these three tips was extremely beneficial for her business. In particular, she was able to see an increase in customer satisfaction and engagement by making her site mobile-friendly. Furthermore, her customers found it simple to browse through her shop’s items by focusing on performance. Lastly, she avoided an overstock situation after the holiday season last year by properly planning and monitoring inventory.
24. Promote User Generated Content
Anthony 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. Run Early Sales
James Green – Owner of Cardboard Cutouts
Because of the recession, people are tighter on money than they have been the last few years.
This year, it’s important to begin offering any holiday specials you might be considering running as early as possible. Because of the recession, people are tighter on money than they have been the last few years. They’re going to need more time to make holiday purchases. You’ll ultimately make more sales by offering your holiday prices early. People will appreciate the extra time to shop at lower prices and will take advantage of earlier sales. If you wait too long, you’re going to miss the window of opportunity and will miss sales because people will have already made their holiday purchases or they’re so strapped for cash, they have to skip holiday purchases altogether.
26. Strengthen Your Website’s Infrastructure
Eric McGee – Senior Network Engineer at TRG Datacenters
Optimize your site’s speed, security, and overall reliability to maximize revenue this holiday season.
27. Automate Your Site’s Customer Service
Monte Deere – CEO of Kizik
Be upfront with the customer.
Automate your site’s customer service to respond to requests with a realistic timeline for when to expect a response. A small business can’t always afford round the clock instantaneous customer service, especially during the busy holiday season. Be upfront with the customer that they will receive a response from your team in the next 48 or 72 hours, whatever is honest. If you temper their expectations, the customer will respect the honesty and be more likely to cut your business some slack.
28. Website Security Protocols
Idan 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. Ready Your Supply Chain
Thomas Sleeth – Founder & Editor at Dropshipping Hustle
The key to preparing your online store for holiday sales is to have your entire supply chain ready.
The key to preparing your online store for holiday sales is to have your entire supply chain ready so you can scale your store with confidence. This means working closely with your supplier to prepare stock and any production requirements as well as having a reliable backup supplier as Holiday periods can be unpredictable. Communicating with your supplier ahead of time and finding out their estimated lead times, shipping times, production limits and cut-off dates for shipments to arrive before the holiday. This will allow you to plan your inventory management strategy and decide if you need to order stock as orders come in or order a bulk shipment and you should always be prepared with a cash reserve for potential large orders to support scaling if need be. Knowing all this information is important to prepare your customers for the potential shipping times and cut-off dates beforehand.
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 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.