How to win the online and bricks and mortar sales race this holiday season

Take your conversions to new heights on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and during the Christmas shopping rush

A slew of new research and reports has predicted that retailers and e-tailors have more than a few reasons to be joyful this holiday season with shoppers expected to make it a record breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The Adobe Analytics annual retail predictions report forecasts U.S online sales will surpass $100 billion this holiday season. Online sales are expected to total $107.4 billion, up 13.8% on last year.

Cyber Monday on 27 November is set to be the single biggest online shopping day in history with $6.6 billion in sales to be generated. This is a 16.5 percent growth compared to last year. Black Friday online sales totalled $3.34 billion in 2016 with this figure also expected to track up – so as an eCommerce retailer or bricks and mortar shop, what can you do to ensure you’re making the most of this seasonal sales opportunity?

  1. 1

    Ensure your mobile game is strong

    Adobe expects the lion’s share of purchases to be completed on desktop devices, with two-thirds of shoppers expected to buy on a desktop rather than mobile device.

    However, mobile is increasingly the starting point for the seasonal purchase process with web traffic on smartphones and tablets predicted to be higher than desktops (54% versus 46%) for the first time ever.

    Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes has also just confirmed that some sites have already switched over to the new mobile first index.

    You should be practicing good mobile SEO habits but, it’s worth running a mobile page load speed test to check your site is performing within acceptable parameters on mobile devices. If you haven’t yet started to use AMP markup now is also a great time to start.

    Do a test from a smartphone and tablet device on both iOS and Android and walk through the purchase process. Verify forms are easy to fill in and the checkout process is quick, easy and convenient.

  2. 2

    Offer great deals

    RetailMeNot research suggests that more than half (52%) of shoppers plan to use a deal or a special offer when purchasing a gift. Almost one in two (48%) of consumers say they will shop in a store based on the deals available. Be confident with deals and offers and give shoppers a strong incentive to shop either on your site or at your bricks and mortar location. If heavy discounts aren’t feasible, try bundling together offers to make your store the most attractive option. Flash sales and deals of the day create a sense of urgency. Free shipping and free gift wrapping should also be considered.

    Don’t forget when discounting and serving up your special offers that Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas shopping is an omnichannel experience so you’ll need to be consistent and highly visible. Eight in ten shoppers will use up to six channels to browse the best offers, including search, social, deal apps, retail apps and even newspapers, according to RetailMeNot’s 2017 Holiday Retail Trends Report.

  3. 3

    Don’t neglect A/B testing

    A/B testing is an important part of crafting a strong landing page at any time of the year but it’s even more essential during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas sales rush.

    If you haven’t performed A/B testing before, there are lots of tools available to make the process easier.  Optimizely, Unbounce and Ab Tasty are all worth a look but Google also offers its own conversion rate optimisation (CRO) solution called Google Optimize.

    An A/B testing tool will help you refine your content by testing core components such as the headline, call to action or image. One version will be served to a test group and another to a second set of visitors. Your chosen tool will then display the results so you can determine which combination worked best. From there, you can then refine further. During the holiday shopping season you could use A/B testing to test different offers and incentives to ensure you’re offering shoppers the most attractive promotion to drive up conversions.

     

  4. 4

    Keep your review game strong

    Reviews are absolutely critical during the holiday season.  BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review Survey found that:

    • Eight out of ten shoppers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
    • Almost half of shoppers (49%) want to see a minimum of a four star review before they’re happy to part with their cash
    • 97% of shoppers now reference online reviews, with 12% checking local business reviews every day
    • 73% of consumers will trust a business more if they see positive reviews

    Although we are now right in the thick of the holiday shopping season, you can still entrench reviews into your marketing process. According to the BrightLocal research, 74% of consumers have been asked for their feedback by a brand they have purchased from – with 68% honouring that request.

    Be proactive about requesting reviews from everyone who shops with you. This can be automated and included within your transactional email chain or approached more personally with a tailored email or call after an order has been delivered.

    Don’t be shy about sharing your reviews either. Making them visible reinforces the trust factor. Retweet and share positive reviews on social media, turn on Facebook reviews and post the best comments on your site. You can also embed TrustPilot and other review site widgets onto your web page, making it easy for shoppers to access reviews as they near the end of the sales funnel.

If you need help making the most of the seasonal sales period, get in touch with us to find out more about our PR, content and social media services.

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