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Omnichannel commerce | Marketing

9 More Holiday Tactics to Implement Right Now

Murad promotional screengrab
These tips for stores and websites will help ensure this really is the most wonderful time of the year

The holiday season is upon us, and so are white papers filled with advice on how to optimise sales. Because you're too busy prepping to read them all, we've done it for you, culling the most important tips and suggestions. You can read those below, as well as our holiday suggestions from previous years: "6 Holiday Tactics You Can Implement Right Now" and "Get Ready for Holiday."



Immerse consumers in your holiday offers.

Engaging, interactive, and shoppable content is key to what consultancy Fit for Commerce calls immersive commerce in its white paper "How Immersive Retail Experiences Ring Up Sales Throughout the Holidays." Examples cited include an online Advent calendar with a different deal each day, quizzes that present gift-givers with the perfect presents for friends and family based on their responses, and shoppable email gift guides. The 2016 Holiday Skincare Gift Guide from skincare brand Murad, is singled out for praise. The experience began with sponsored Facebook and Instagram posts touting the guide. These ads linked to a rich-media gift guide on Murad's website. The guide was organised by gift recipients ("For the Beauty-Savvy," "For Mom"), and visitors could shop directly from it. This made it easy for the consumer and reduced the risk of Murad losing the sale. If you have physical stores, you can extend the immersive experience there with curated collections consistent with those of your digital guide.



image: Murad's gift guide screengrab

image: Murad's shoppable 2016 gift guide reduced friction for shoppers, in turn reducing Murad's risk of losing sales.



Target holiday-only shoppers with gift-specific campaigns.

Let's face it: There are consumers who will purchase a tie from your store, a food basket from your catalogue, or a jigsaw puzzle from your website only once a year, during the holiday season. And that's fine, according to Retail Systems Research. "Those highly infrequent shoppers represent an opportunity, especially around the holidays," it explains in its white paper "The Two Things Retailers Must Do to Win Holiday 2017." "One easy way to engage with these shoppers is to tailor a message to them based on their yearly behavior and encouraging such behavior, rather than trying to market to those shoppers as if they were supposed to be highly engaged but just aren't." You can identify them not only by the infrequency and seasonality of their purchases but also by whether they use an alternate shipping address and if they're outside your typical demographics or psychographics. Appeal to these shoppers with gift guides such as the Murad example above and the ability to maintain virtual shopping lists.



Upsell in your transactional emails.

The open rates of order confirmations and other transactional emails are at least twice as high as those of nontransactional emails. Email services provider Movable Ink, in its white paper "Steal These 2017 Holiday Email Ideas," suggests including links to relevant products on receipt emails. The recipient is clearly already in shopping mode, and the ability to click directly through to an item is a convenience sure to be appreciated.



Minimise the number of redirects, plug-ins, and scripts on your website.

Apps, plug-ins, and scripts "slow your site, create a larger security footprint, and often cause crashes and other technical difficulties," ecommerce platform Shopify notes in its "Black Friday-Cyber Monday Health Check." Redirects also slow down site performance. Given that site and page load times are measured in milliseconds and that slower load times result in page abandonment and fewer sales, you want to ensure that your site is as deft as possible, especially during the critical (and high traffic) holiday period. Shopify also links to a free online broken-link checker so that you can eliminate those dead ends from your site as well.



Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

In its white paper "Tips to Help You Jingle All the Way to the Bank," point-of-sale solutions provider Lightspeed includes a link to Google's free Mobile-Friendly Test. It also advises checking your site on various tablets and TV screens.



Promote your best-sellers.

Social proof, which can include best-seller lists and testimonials, is a significant sales driver. So let shoppers know which items other consumers are snapping up or that are in danger of selling out. Movable Ink suggests sending an email focused exclusively on best-sellers. In-store, you could list on a chalkboard or a whiteboard the day's or the week's top-selling items.



Use social media to communicate flash sales and inventory alerts.

Does your shop or website have very limited inventory of a hot item? Do you anticipate selling out of something within the next 24 hours? Are you running a four-hour or one-day flash sale of specific items in hopes of rapidly moving inventory? Is a previously sold-out item now back in stock? "Social media is a wonderful tool for quickly alerting followers about last-chance items and restocked merchandise," notes customer experience solutions provider TeleTech in its "2017 Holiday Retail Survival Guide." Not only is social media agile, but it's also cheap. For maximum impact, make notification of inventory alerts "an event by live-tweeting inventory availability or counting down to a major sale. Using social media as a source of real-time information is also a good way to attract followers and build brand awareness."



If you feel the need to compete on price, consider doing so via price matching.

Chances are you can't afford to get in a price war with the likes of Amazon—or perhaps even with the shop one town over. Instead of lowering prices across the board, Alliance Data, in its "2017 Holiday Shopper Report," suggests offering to match competitors' prices. Depending on how heavily you promote price matching, you don't risk losing as much margin from shoppers who would buy from you at your usual prices, but you may gain sales from consumers—in particular, in-store shoppers who are comparing prices via mobile. To minimise the effect on your bottom line, consider promoting price matching only or most heavily via mobile to reach those showroomers. And of course, be sure you can afford to take this risk.



View live chat as an acquisition tool.

Live chat—on-site pop-ups from a customer service rep during a customer's website visit—has gained in popularity among online merchants and customers. In its "2017 Holiday Look Book," digital marketing solutions provider Listrak cites reports that 38% of shoppers made a purchase as a direct result of a live-chat session and that 44% of online consumers consider live chat one of the most important features of a website. That's why, "after the chat session, send an email follow-up asking about the satisfaction of the service to customers that didn't complete the purchase or ones that did purchase but didn't subscribe during checkout and give them the chance to subscribe to both your email and SMS campaigns," Listrak advises.



author: Sherry Chiger

Sherry Chiger

The editorial director of Your Commerce, Sherry Chiger is an award-winning writer and editor. She was formerly editorial director of Multichannel Merchant and Catalogue e-business magazines.


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