Best Practices for Holiday eCommerce Brands

Imagine this: Just before Cyber Monday, a famous influencer on Instagram shows some love for your brand. Then, a magazine picks up the idea and does a glowing review of your most popular product.

Would you be ready for the influx of sales? Would your eCommerce site be able to handle a huge surge of traffic?

While running an eCommerce website can be totally sweet, there are times when you have to roll up your sleeves and prepare for this high level of growth—especially when it comes to the holiday shopping season. Go ahead and grab a fork while we dive into this great list of a few best practices for holiday eCommerce websites from our CAKE team.

 

Start Building and Preparing Your Audience Early

Perhaps the biggest best practice eCommerce stores need to remember is to start building and preparing your audience as early as possible. In some cases, this can mean the late summer or early fall. Ramp up advertising and social reach during this time to help ensure you have a solid retargeting audience when you’re ready to start a holiday campaign push (and not have to shell out buku bucks to prospect to new audiences during the primetime holiday season). This includes creating cohesive ad campaigns across multiple channels to help bring brand awareness early on. And don’t forget to build up your email list along the way—it’s the easiest way to contact devoted shoppers when it’s time for Black Friday! Email list acquisition should be a core strategy in Q1-Q3 to ensure you are creating those multiple touchpoints through the customer journey in the busy season: emailing those people who have opted-in, creating custom audiences and serving ads to those that have through Google, programmatic, and paid social strategies. Remember, it takes AT LEAST seven touchpoints to get a user to take action so integration is key.

Make Sure Your Website and Fulfillment Process Are Ready to Go

There’s nothing more of a buzzkill for online holiday shoppers than not being able to navigate around a website to purchase that new must-have product of the season. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that your eCommerce website is ready to go long before the season begins. But you shouldn’t just stop there. Make sure to also review your fulfillment process and current inventory to make sure you’re totally ready for the rush.

Consider Fun and Exciting Sales Campaigns

The entire holiday season is about happiness, enjoyment, and fun. That’s why it is important to make sure the shopping experience is a great one for your customers by hosting a series of fun and exciting sales campaigns.

Need a few ideas? Consider these:

  • Run a “win your wish list” promo where one lucky customer gets to win their must-have items by simply creating a wish list and sharing it on social media;
    • The best part? In doing this, you are collecting valuable data on what your core customers want. This data can be used to retarget to them during the promotional pushes.
  • Create a graphically beautiful gift guide to help enhance the visual experience while promoting some of your most profitable products;
    • Remember, make it easy for the customer to shop for others. Consider categories such as stocking stuffers, under $50, gifts for the techie, etc..
  • Remember to incentivize purchases through special offers for abandoned carts and at exit intent.

There are dozens of different ways to accomplish this same overall goal, but a positive shopping experience that others are willing to tell friends and family about takes the cake.

Blend Your Online and Offline Marketing Efforts

Of course, not everything you do to increase your holiday sales has to be online. There is a wide range of efforts that involve brick-and-mortar marketing. A few ideas include:

  • Taking your favorite products on the road to fairs, shows, and even pop-up sales;
  • Encourage in-store reviews for your products by asking customers to login via an in-store tablet before they even leave your physical location;
  • Release seasonal or special merchandise only available during the holiday shopping season;
  • Partner with complementary retailers to create special offers, goodie bags, or kits;
  • Offer in-store pickup or same-day delivery;
  • Run in-store contests to help promote visits and increase sales.

While these are just a few ideas, the concept leads us to an overarching important point. Don’t miss out on an abundance of sales by focusing only on eCommerce. Even if you don’t have a physical location, there are plenty of ways to bring in traditional shoppers by being just a wee bit creative in your efforts.

Ensure You’re Prepared with this Checklist

The holiday shopping season—including Black Friday and Cyber Monday—is absolutely crucial for online retailers. By making sure you’re fully prepared with these tips, you can definitely reap the benefits and attract new customers who’ll remember you long into the new year.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed already? Thankfully, our team of experts here at CAKE has put together the perfect mix of holiday shopping best practices. Use our checklist below to make sure you’ve covered every angle or take a look at our free downloadable presentation for further details and insight on how to make this year's sales the best yet.

Does Your eCommerce website pass the Black Friday/Cyber Monday test? Use our checklist!

eCommerce Design Enhancements:

  1. Add gift card CTA on the homepage
  2. Top navigation:
    1. Shop Gifts, Shop By Price, Gift Cards
  3. Add bundles to the homepage (Rename Gift Sets)
  4. Cross-sell on product pages and UGC content
  5. Add reviews on product pages
  6. Add more filter options on landing pages (Shop by price, color, season)

eCommerce Digital Holiday Recommendations:

  1. Push brand video hard to new audiences early (Sept/Oct) to build up audiences
  2. Consider turning on a lead gen campaign
  3. Add coupon kit to Criteo retargeting highlighting promos

eCommerce SEO Holiday Recommendations:

  1. Optimize tags to incorporate target keywords within recommended character counts
  2. Generate blogging content that appeals to those with buyer intent
  3. Build links through holiday-centric guest posting