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How to Cash in on 10 Huge Holiday Marketing Opportunites

Posted by Arianna Thayer on Nov 19, 2016

holiday marketing

Every year we hear stories of sleep-deprived Red Bull-hyped Black Friday shoppers that cause scenes trying to snag hot deals after waiting in line for (in some cases) days. The thing is, Black Friday isn’t as big of a deal as it once was. Though some companies like REI and Mall of America are bucking trend and closing their doors for Thanksgiving, the decline in Black Friday sales is due, at least in part, the increasing cannibalization of sales by opening Thanksgiving Day. With so many holiday marketing days, it can be hard for consumers and merchants alike to make heads or tails. So do you have your marketing calendar marked?

Holiday Shopping Statistics and Marketing Tips

Last year, consumers spent over $626 billion dollars on holiday purchases. With so much money out there being spent, it’s important to capitalize on this demand. Part of strategizing for these holiday sales is knowing where to focus your efforts-- not only in terms of optimizing your store and shopping experience, but what days on the calendar you should amp up your game (and coffee intake). Here’s a few things taken from a recent UPS report you should consider while preparing for this busy season:

Mobile Shopping

Approximately 44% of shoppers are making purchases from their phones. In fact, millennials are making about 63% of these purchases.

Marketing Tip

Make sure your website and purchasing processes are optimized for this, particularly if you’re target audience is millennials. If your customers have to struggle to buy from you, they’ll buy it from somewhere else.

Shipping times

Customers are only willing to wait 5.9 days for the delivery of their order. In addition, 46% of customers abandoned their shopping cart due to slow or unspecific shipping times.

social media ecommerce marketing free cheat sheet

Marketing Tip

Be mindful of your shipping estimates, but be sure you’re getting the most out of your rates too. If you’re not already using one, consider getting a shipping software like ShipWorks or ShipStation which can help you take advantage of the best shipping rate dependent on your order’s weight and ship time.

Customer Service

Consumers are demanding more out of their customer service than ever before. Approximately 40% of people think it’s important to have all or one of the following: on-site Q&A, on-site FAQs, a call center, and live chat (in descending order of importance). Customers want to know if they have a problem or a question they can talk to someone quickly, like they would at a traditional retail store.

Marketing Tip

Make sure you optimize your website for the customer’s quality shopping experience. Ensure your Q&A’s, FAQ’s, and contact information are prominently shown so they can find it if they need it. Try to alleviate any concerns and answer any questions they may have before they ask it. 

10 Holiday Marketing Opportunities

Without further ado, these are the holiday marketing days you should pay attention to, based on historical data and 2016 expert predictions:

1 | The 35 Days of Christmas

Dates: 

November 16th - December 24th

Facts:

Believe it or not, Black Friday deals have already gotten started. Amazon’s rolled out their biggest holiday marketing announcement ever: 35 days of Black Friday deals. The biggest ones will still be in the traditional stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, they’ve named the “Turkey Five”.

How to Cash In:

This is an entirely new initiative, with mixed reactions and expectations. While it’s hard to predict what this will mean for shoppers and merchants, consider this your warning. It’s time to optimize your warehouse space for maximum efficiency and prepare your website for the holiday season.

thanksgiving marketing tips2 | Thanksgiving

Date:

November 24th

Facts:

As Americans grow more hungry for deals, the retail world answers demand by starting Black Friday earlier and earlier. As we all know, this has swollen to even consume parts of Thanksgiving Day. Many companies are making decisions based on competitors, as Russel C., a JcPenny manager described, “We were hoping maybe they’d follow suit when Mall of America decided to close its doors for Thanksgiving, but when Macy’s said they’ll be open, well…”. However, in recent years, more and more companies are opting out of this trend and allowing their employees the day off to overeat alongside their families.

How to Cash In:

Regardless of your position of Thanksgiving shopping, you can look at it like this: if companies continue to scale back and return to the “normalcy” of offering only Black Friday, eCommerce businesses can meet the needs of consumers by starting deals earlier. After all, Black Friday isn’t just for brick-and-mortar anymore.

 

black friday marketing tips3 | Black Friday

Date:

November 25th

Facts:

Black Friday, despite any of the folklore you might have heard, was coined by Philadelphia policemen to describe the chaos that ensued for the Army v. Navy football game that takes place the following Saturday. Out-of-towners and suburbanites would flood to the city and look to shopping for entertainment. So not only were officers forced to work, they usually had to stay long hours and combat shoplifters while corralling an influx of traffic and people.  

How to Cash In:

In some ways, Black Friday marketing has become an extension of Cyber Monday by offering online doorbusters for the cold weather conscious. Remember that other big brick-and-mortar businesses will be offering online deals to catch those consumers that would rather do their shopping from home, so try and attract customers with compelling ad copy, branding, and deals. See Cyber Monday pro tips (below) for additional advice, or check out these last-minute tips for eCommerce retailers.

 

small business saturday marketing4 | Small Business Saturday

Date:

November 26th

Facts:

Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in an effort to drive more holiday traffic to the small businesses that sometimes get less attention. While it’s typically associated with the brick-and-mortar model, consumers shouldn’t soon forget how many small businesses also make up the eCommerce world.

How to Cash In:

Some customers may need some reminding of the faces behind their online purchases. Use American Express’ Small Business Saturday marketing materialsSmall Business Saturday marketing materials (they’re free) and use your website and social media to give a personal touch to your brand and company. Sometimes, when separated by screens, consumers can forget there’s actual people behind their products. Don’t let them!

cyber monday marketing tips5 | Cyber Monday

Date:

November 28th

Facts:

Cyber Monday was created in 2005 as a marketing ploy to increase online sales. For internet retailers, it has consistently been a hugely profitable day. In fact, for the last few years, it’s surpassed Black Friday sales. In 2015 Cyber Monday set records grossing a whopping $3.01 billion versus Black Friday’s $2.74 billion, and 2014 the increase was even more dramatic ($2.04 billion versus Black Friday’s $1.51 billion).

How to Cash In:

This is your day. While everyone else is worried about Black Friday marketing, you’re focussing your energy where it counts. If you have an email list, start by emailing them now. Many consumers start their Black Friday/ Cyber Monday shopping lists in October. Test your website for broken links, copy errors, and website traffic load capacity. Optimize your website and advertising efforts to get the most out of the day by creating banners and ad images that showcase your participation in the event. Create a sense of urgency when possible by including phrases such as “limited quantities” or an onsite countdown to the end of the sale.

 

green-monday-marketing.jpg6 | Green Monday

Date:

December 12th

Facts:

Similar to Cyber Monday, Green Monday was created by eBay to boost online sales on the second Monday of December. It falls around the time customers should be “wrapping up” their Christmas purchases, as there are several shipping deadlines that typically fall about this time. While not the biggest shopping day of the year, in 2014 Green Monday came in a close third (ahead of Black Friday) in highest sales of the year.

How to Cash In:

Prepare for this like you would Cyber Monday. While it’s technically an eBay holiday, you’ll see deals on Walmart and Amazon.com, so don’t limit yourself on channels. Ensure your Q&As and FAQs are easy to find and your listings are optimized for fast answers. If customers have to click around to find what they need, they’ll click over to your competitor.

super saturday marketing ideas7 | Super Saturday

Date:

December 17th

Facts:

Super Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas, but since this year that falls on a Sunday, it’s best to plan for two Super Saturdays. For eCommerce merchants, Super Saturday is December 17th, to allow on-time delivery. However, be prepared to greet some of these last minute shoppers on Christmas Eve if you have a brick-and-mortar store. It’s not one of the highest grossing days of the season, but it is one of the busiest.

How to Cash In:

The biggest thing to remember here is to come prepared. There’s going to be a lot of traffic and you should bring your “A” game. Preparation for Super Saturday is the same for the last two, but remember to get your rest and keep yourself healthy in this final stretch of the season.

8 | Days Leading up to Christmas

Dates:

By order of importance, according to RetailNext: Thursday (12/22),  Wednesday (12/21), Sunday (12/18) Saturday (12/10) Friday (12/16) Saturday (12/3)

Facts:

There’s a lot of Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays that are being thrown in as predicted big selling days that sadly don’t have a fancy name. That’s okay, even without a name like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, these days are particularly important this year because Christmas falls on a Sunday. In a way, we’re kind of “losing” a shopping weekend to prepare for Christmas. RetailNext is predicting some of these weekdays will be among the top ten busiest of the season.

How to Cash In:

Remain focused and vigilant. Help your customers by using banners and reminders about shipping deadlines to receive orders on time, and be patient.

boxing day holiday marketing tips9 | Boxing Day

Date:

December 26th

Facts:

What the heck is Boxing Day anyway? It’s the day after Christmas, that is traditionally given to the working folk that served over the holiday season. On this day masters, employers, and customers give Christmas boxes containing gifts to servants and tradesmen.

How to Cash In:

While only celebrated in the UK and Commonwealth nations, it’s important to remember that you might see a surge in international sales the days leading up to it. Ensure your website is optimized for international customers (like including metric conversions) and your international policies (like returns and shipping costs) are displayed prominently to avoid negative feedback that could hurt your business down the road.

10 | Hanukkah & Kwanzaa

Date:

December 24th- January 1st (Hanukkah) December 26th- January 1st (Kwanzaa)

Facts:

Hanukkah and Kwanzaa sometimes get ignored when it comes to eCommerce holiday sales. I think this year, in particular, you shouldn’t. Both holidays are falling rather late this season, which means some shoppers might wait until the end of the holiday rush and price hikes to make their last-minute purchases.

How to Cash In:

Because these fall between Christmas and New Years, don’t kick your feet up and take a (well-deserved) nap just yet. Use this rare opportunity to get in some additional after Christmas revenue. If you’re willing and able, consider putting a pop-up or banner to greet those that may be coming to your website in search of presents for these holidays to show them how aware and thoughtful you are. Just remember to keep it professional and inclusive.

Conclusion

Don’t drive yourself crazy this holiday season. This is all-inclusive list should be used as an awareness tool, not as hard and fast rules. Focus your attention and time to the areas that are most important and within your control, and don’t be scared to ask for help. Since you’ll likely be surrounded by friends and family in the coming weeks, consider having a friend look over and test your website, ask a nephew to help you assemble some boxes, or shoot us a message over here at SkuVault for advice on making your warehouse less hectic. Thanks for stopping by, and happy selling this holiday season from your friends at SkuVault!

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Topics: eCommerce, Amazon, eBay, eCommerce Businesses