The increase in demand combined with consumers’ high purchase intent during the holiday shopping season provide opportunities to impact your business in the short-term while establishing relationships with customers that will be beneficial to long-term success. Your business does not need to have a direct correlation to the holiday shopping season in order to leverage the increase in demand. House cleaning services for holiday parties, hair stylists, delivery or takeout food with late hours, appliance/electronic repair, auto service/repair in close proximity to shopping malls, etc. Plenty of ways to take advantage of the additional online and store foot traffic without having to allocate internal resources or spend advertising dollars inefficiently.

  • Preparation: Don’t wait until mid-November to begin thinking about what you’re going to offer and how you’re going to communicate it.
    • Marketing Calendar: Plan ahead to allocate the proper amount of budget, creative, and IT resources.
    • Budget Allocation: Determine how ad spend will be distributed among online marketing channels.
    • Setting Goals: Identify your KPIs (key performance indicators) in order to define how success will be measured. E.g. visitors, orders, revenue, conversion rate, best-selling products, coupon redemption rates, etc.) from same-time last year as well as 2014 year-to-date. Tracking performance vs. goal for these metrics enables informed decision-making for both online marketing and site optimization efforts.
    • Communicate: Everyone is working towards the same goal or at least a common path, so why not share information? Each department has experience and data that will enhance each others’ efforts. Marketing, Merchandising, Design, UX, IT, Customer Service, C-level…you get the drift.
  • Site Optimization: Minimize confusion surrounding difficult gift-buying decisions.
    • Sensible Merchandising: Nurture shoppers’ inherent curiosity and motivation to purchase by badging products of interest.
    • Customer Service: Display contact info, links to FAQs for payment methods, shipping and return info, local store info – all of these should be easy to find.
    • Consistent Marketing: Minimize customer confusion. The creative that triggered a customer’s visit should be mirrored on the landing page at minimum and potentially throughout their session or targeted to relevant pages.
    • Pricing and Promotions: If you are offering a discount or other incentive, make sure it’s clearly promoted. Consider displaying threshold messaging when customers are close to reaching the goal.
    • Secondary Goals: Not all customers will purchase during a visit so give yourself a chance to re-market to them in the future. Easy email capture, catalog signup, requests for more info, etc. should be easy to find, but not be intrusive.

It looks like a daunting list, though if you break it down, there’s a good chance you’ve tackled more intimidating grocery lists. Although we talk about these concepts in the context of the holidays, they are all part of successful, ongoing marketing campaigns and site optimization practices.

Holiday Shopping Season: Key Dates
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