The holiday season is upon us once again. All over the country, bargain-hungry shoppers are preparing themselves for the festive shopping season. And, as eCommerce brands well know, a large portion of them will be doing it online. In fact, over 30% of shoppers will be using a familiar online channel like Amazon for most of their festive buying. But this is both a blessing and a curse for online retailers.
While demand is abundant in the run up to the holidays, so too is the competition. And with such a plethora of choice in online retailers, cost-conscious consumers know that they can afford to shop around for the cheapest price. As such, it’s imperative that eCommerce brands (especially younger brands keen to make their mark on a target audience whose loyalty is hard won) take bold steps to stand out amidst their legions of competitors.
If you’re in the middle of establishing your eCommerce presence online, it might be hard to come up with new and exciting ways to make your brand stand out while you’re up to your elbows in the logistics of establishing yourself. But don’t worry… we’re here to help! In this article, we cover 5 ways eCommerce brands can stand out this holiday season.
1. Use holiday themes
This one’s kind of a no-brainer but it bears mentioning. Holiday themes and seasonal promotions are the bread and butter of eCommerce brands. Keeping up with seasonal trends will help to make your brand relevant to your target audience, and make your products the solution to problems your audience might be expecting at a given time of year.
If a customer is looking for something special for a loved one who has everything, you just might have a solution to this common problem! Are they looking for something to help new year’s celebrations go with a bang? You’re on hand with the perfect party hats/cocktail dress/prestige champagne.
The better you understand your product range, the more you can tailor it to your target audience’s needs and interests.
When it comes to holiday things, it’s imperative to think outside the gaudily wrapped Christmas box. There’s more to the holiday season than Christmas. Christmas shoppers aren’t the only ones looking for the opportunity to bag seasonal bargains from online retailers just like you.
December is an important month on the multicultural calendar. World AIDS day is a huge event for the LGBTQ+ community, and red is often worn in commemoration of those who have lost their lives to the disease and in support of those living with it. Pagan and Wiccan traditions often give Yule gifts and celebrate with togetherness in much the same way as Christmas is celebrated.
Likewise, while the Jewish festival of Hanukkah is not traditionally associated with lavish gift-giving, gifts are often given and received by Jewish families around this time of year. And don’t forget the pan-African holiday of Kwanzaa — this relatively recent tradition has only been around since the 1960s but it’s widely celebrated by black communities in the UK, the US and around the world.
2. Create product bundles on Amazon
If you want to reach as much of the market as you can this holiday season, you’ll need a channel agnostic approach to eCommerce. You shouldn’t simply be selling products on your own website. You should also be creating listings on Google Shopping, Facebook and Instagram Shopping (if relevant to your target audience) and you should certainly establish a presence on Amazon. As the world’s largest and most trusted eCommerce brand, your listings have the potential to reach a much broader audience.
Aside from the potential market reach, another benefit of establishing a presence on Amazon is the ability to put product bundles together. These allow you to present a greater value proposition for bargain-conscious shoppers by grouping themed items together at a discounted price. While you may take a slight hit on your eCommerce profit margins, you’ll be likely to make bigger sales. After all, research shows that shoppers spend around 24% more when discounts are offered, and 65% of shoppers are happy to spend more if it means that they can secure a promotion.
3. Get active on social media
If you’re looking for the opportunity to make yourself known to your target audience, social media platforms are the place to do it. But rather than adopting a “spray and pray” approach to social media marketing, you’ll need to be more discerning in your promotional approach. Take the time to find out which social platforms people in your target audience are using. For example, Facebook is probably not the place to target a young audience — these younger consumers are more likely to congregate on Instagram or Snapchat.
When and how are they using these platforms? Are they making purchases directly through the platforms (8% of consumers will do their Christmas shopping through Instagram and Facebook this year), or are they simply responding to marketing materials?
What’s more, if you’re trying to target younger consumers on social platforms, it’s well worth finding out which social influencers they follow and reaching out to them. Try sending them seasonal products for review consideration or even give them their own promotional codes (if you’ve ever heard Casper Mattresses plugged on a podcast, you know what we’re talking about).
Which brings us to...
4. Get creative with promotional codes
Promotional codes are a great way to entice new shoppers to your brand, and giving your promo codes a seasonal theme can make them appealing and relevant to Christmas shoppers on the lookout for the latest and greatest bargains.
You can use promo codes to entice new shoppers while also using them to reward loyal customers for referring new friends, family members and work colleagues to your brand this holiday season. Hey, if the model is good enough for Uber, it’s good enough for you.
When you invest in the software to create promotional codes, you can track the use of codes and even try A/B testing to see which codes resonate the most strongly with your target audience. After all, discounts are more meaningful when you give shoppers more of what they want rather than what you want to give.
5. Make it personal with advanced promo codes
Customisation and personalisation are increasingly important if you want to make headway with your promotions this holiday season. When promotions are personalised to reflect a customer’s previous history with your brand or the kinds of products they’ve looked at on your website, they’re far more likely to be used. As a matter of fact, a staggering 79% of consumers say that they will only engage with promotions if they’re matched to their previous interactions with the brand.
These kinds of unique, single-use codes also benefit your business because they can only ever be used once, making them immune to profit-sapping misuse. You can even gamify discounts by giving customers greater discounts for buying certain combinations of items. Or employing scarcity marketing tactics like limited-time discounts to combine gamification with scarcity marketing. You’re limited only by your imagination!
And the great thing is that with the right software, this whole process is automated. Based on a bare minimum of information gathered from customers and prospects (that’s been voluntarily given — nobody likes to feel spied on), you can generate unique promo codes just for them. Deliver personal and meaningful discounts when your customers need them the most and show them how much you care.
And that’s a holiday gift that all your customers will be happy to open up this season!
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