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20 Ways to Increase Holiday Sales this Cyber Weekend and Christmas

image of blog Andrew Raso
25 min read
20 Ways to Increase Holiday Sales this Cyber Weekend and Christmas

Did you know that 2.2 million Australian households participated in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales last year? 

Or that Australians are expected to spend over $11 billion on Christmas gifts this year? 

If you’re a retailer, Friday 26 November marks the start of a massive opportunity: the opportunity to rake in the revenue with killer holiday marketing campaigns that run from Black Friday all the way through to Boxing Day.

This one month period can literally send your sales soaring from the red to the black — which is why brands from around the world keep their aces in their pocket for this event. From slashing prices to bundling products galore, the competition is FIERCE. And this year, the stakes are even higher with prolonged lockdowns affecting everyone across the country, from small businesses and large enterprises to your local charity.

So how do you make the most of this period and stand out in a sea of discount tags?

We’ve rounded up our 20 tried-and-tested tips to increase holiday sales this season.

1. Dig into the numbers

Every strong holiday sales and marketing campaign starts with the numbers. 

When you review the data from the previous holiday season, you’ll gain a solid understanding of what worked and what didn’t — all based on tangible, real-life evidence. You’ll figure out which ads drove the most traffic, which channels delivered the highest ROI, which products were most popular amongst your customers, which landing pages had the highest conversion rates, and so on. All of this information is invaluable when informing your holiday campaigns this year.

Before you start launching ads and developing seasonal landing pages, conduct a thorough audit of your previous campaigns:

  • Look at your website trends in Google Analytics and Search Console. Check to see which pages had the highest traffic volumes, levels of engagement, conversion rates and ROI. At the same time, take a look at your website and demographics and customer behaviour flow to learn more about your target audience and user journey during this time.

  • Check heatmaps and scroll maps. These are powerful tools to help you understand user behaviour across your site. Hop in and take a look at your holiday campaign landing pages from last year to see which elements users are drawn to, and where they drop off.

  • Analyse the previous holiday season and address any issues. Before you jump into this year’s plan, it’s a good idea to consult your wider team to see what works and what didn’t from their perspective. Your customer service or sales teams might have insights into common product enquiries or questions, which can help guide your future campaigns. Meanwhile, your fulfilment team could shed valuable light on creating a seamless shipping and returns process this time around.

2. Prepare for BFCM sales early 

Good news — by reading this, you’ve already taken the first step on this one.

Successful holiday season campaigns don’t create themselves. It takes a ton of planning to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that you generate enough interest over the one month period. Unlike other promotional ideas throughout the year that might be one-offs, the holiday shopping season is a marathon of back-to-back promotions — and you have to keep it interesting and stay on your game the entire time if you want to keep traffic flowing and online sales ticking.

The earlier you can get a head start on your holiday sales and marketing strategy, the better. In other words, start NOW if you want to get a leg up over other brands.

When you’re starting your preparations, consider things like:

  • Product inventory, including current stock levels and new items that may be required (such as gift wrapping or gift boxes)

  • Promotional materials for online and offline campaigns

  • Sales and offers that you’ll be running during this period

  • The marketing and advertising budget you have to work with, and how you’ll divvy it out

  • Customer service training and preparation

  • Order fulfilment and returns

  • Consumer sentiment, as your audience’s wants and needs may have shifted after this year’s lockdowns

3. Choose the right marketing channels 

Want to boost holiday sales? Choosing the right channels makes all the difference. You’ll be able to invest your marketing budget where you get the most bang for your buck, while also ensuring you’re reaching the right people with the right message.

Some of the most popular platforms and tactics to consider include:

  • Organic social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok

  • Paid social media advertising through Facebook Ads

  • eCommerce SEO to improve your presence in organic search engine results 

  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) on Google, Bing, YouTube, or the Google Display Network

  • PR and influencer marketing

  • Email marketing campaigns to prospects and members of your loyalty program

  • Offline marketing via flyers, billboards, direct mail, radio, or TV ads 

Start out by going back over your data.

  1. Which channels drove the most traffic?

  2. Where did you see the highest ROI?

  3. Were there differences in terms of the creative or the messages that resonated on each platform?

These will help determine your budget splits to boost holiday sales as much as possible.

Tip: Your competitors are evolving, and you need to as well. Don’t just stick to the same methods as the year before. The holiday period is a great opportunity to test out new advertising tactics to see how they work for your business.

4. Run offers for first-time buyers

It’s WAY more challenging and expensive to convert new customers than it is to convert existing ones — but if there’s any time to do it, it’s the holiday season.

Online shoppers usually go out of their way to explore all of the deals on offer during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, including brands they’ve never shopped with before. The same goes for Christmas: buyers are open to exploring gift ideas for their friends and family over the festive season. 

Hook in new buyers with freebies, discounts, free shipping, or even a special gift-with-purchase with your business. Cosmetic Capital nailed this on their website with an exclusive offer for new sign-ups:

 

free shipping ecommerce offer example

 

The timer adds an extra sense of FOMO — giving most customers even more reason to claim the offer. Best of all, Cosmetic Capital also used this as a lead generation opportunity and racked up a total of 18,000+ new subscribers, an increase of 300%.

If you’re looking for a killer first-time offer, this example is a great one to learn from. Plus, you’ll also be able to grow your email marketing list for your future holiday season campaigns.

5. Create cut-off date shipping banners

The first thing all your customers want after buying an item is to receive it ASAP. Unlike other periods throughout the year, the holiday rush is incredibly time-sensitive, with lots of people needing to receive their products before Christmas Eve.

Create a sense of urgency and FOMO with shipping banners that say “Buy before [DATE] to receive item by [DATE]”. These little reminders will give visitors the push they need to convert, as well as provide existing customers with a reason to shop again.

US-based Larq executed this perfectly in their holiday campaign with a banner on email newsletters. This quick table has a clear cut-off date for buyers to place orders with the business if they want to get it on Christmas Day. They’ve also split it into engraved/non-engraved products and standard-express shipping to provide customers with more options and capture any last-minute sales.

BFCM holiday shipping email banner

6. Check inventory and optimise for out of stock 

Regardless of how many more customers are flowing to your website, the reality is that you can’t sell what you don’t have. The challenge of any killer Cyber Weekend or holiday campaign is that you risk becoming a victim of your own success and running low on stock.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to check your current inventory and plan ahead to ensure you have enough stock to last you through the next two months. However, with delays in shipping thanks to COVID-19, this might be trickier in 2021 than in other years. That’s why it pays to be prepared by optimising your eCommerce website out of stock messaging to redirect traffic to other products instead:

  • Push out of stock items to the bottom of your search and category pages so they’re not visible to searchers.

  • Clearly display information about stock levels on your website to prevent any confusion.

  • Clarify stock on your website for different product sizes using words like “Out of stock”, “Low stock” or “X remaining”.

  • Provide in-stock product recommendations that are similar to the out of stock item.

  • Offer gift certificates so recipients can shop their preferred item at a future date

Another tip? Use this opportunity to grab the user's email and add them to your loyalty program, particularly if you’re planning a big restock soon.

You’ll be able to add them to your database for future holiday promotions and get to know your audience, just like Karmaloop has done:

out of stock product seo

7. Create (or polish up) cart abandonment campaigns

Whether it’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or any other day, visitors will be browsing through a ton of different products during the holiday sales period. And with that high volume of browsing, many businesses also see a huge uptick in cart abandonment.

According to the Baymard Institute, 69.57% of all online shopping carts are abandoned. That means for every 100 visitors you have on your business website, 70 of them will browse, add items to their cart, then leave without making a purchase. This number increases to a whopping 86% on mobile devices:

average cart abandonment rate

As a digital marketer, if you can win sales from even 10% or 20% of those customers, that’s a HUGE win for your bottom line.

Before you start running cart abandonment campaigns, it pays to know the most common reasons why shoppers abandon their cart:

reasons for abandonment during checkout

If you want to convince users to complete their orders, try these techniques in your abandoned cart campaigns:

  • Send cart abandonment emails to customers reminding them to complete their purchase. 

  • Add “Are you still interested?” reminders on your website to encourage customers to check out.

  • Offer a special deal, such as free shipping or free returns.

  • Create countdown timers and stock notifications to generate urgency.

  • Retarget visitors on other platforms with holiday PPC campaigns.

Here’s a great cart abandonment email from Harry’s that features a countdown timer and a sales cut-off date:

By providing potential shoppers with a deadline to purchase, Harry’s is creating a powerful sense of FOMO for the holiday season.

8. Prepare your customer service experience

Cyber Weekend and Christmas bring in floods of customers — but with this increase in online purchases, you’ll also find yourself dealing with an increase in issues. From shipping enquiries to stock levels and product descriptions, these questions can quickly inundate even the most experienced of customer service teams.

If you want to have happy customers, you need to ensure they have a fantastic customer experience with your brand. This means having enough manpower, quick response times, well-trained staff, and a clear process for solving issues. Don’t forget to cover all touchpoints for your e-Commerce business either, including live chat, phone lines, social media enquiries, and email support. 

On top of that, a chatbot is a great way to save valuable time and headaches for those frequently asked questions. There are plenty of free and affordable options out there, including Botsify for Shopify and Chatfuel for your social media audience Facebook.

9. Segment your target audience

Looking to maximise conversions and increase holiday sales? Segmentation is the way to go. Segmenting your audience allows you to deliver targeted content that’s relevant to their needs and wants — and in turn, increasing their chance of shopping with your brand.

Make sure your message is reaching the right people by following these steps:

  • Define your segmentation criteria. This could be based on factors like age, location, gender, previous interests, purchase history, loyal customers vs. first-time buyers, or something else entirely.

  • Pick the right channels for each audience. Younger customers might spend more time on TikTok and Instagram, while professionals may be browsing through their emails and Google Ads. Use existing data on your social media followers to see where customers spend their time, then target them with dedicated campaigns on that platform.

  • Create tailored marketing strategies for different types of holiday shoppers. This might be developing unique content (i.e. “X gifts every dad wants this Christmas”) or launching special offers for each segment.

  • Apply segmentation across your existing marketing channels using Google Ads and Facebook Advertising’s powerful targeting tools. Keep an eye on these throughout your campaign and adjust the creative and landing pages for cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), and return on ad spend (ROAS).

10. Use retargeting for existing customers 

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge opportunities to acquire more customers, you shouldn’t neglect sales from your existing audience. 

According to Invespcro, it’s far cheaper to target loyal customers than to acquire new ones — anywhere between 5 to 25 cheaper, in fact.

Retarget your existing audience or loyalty program members with personalised product recommendations based on their shopping history to gain maximum cut-through and keep customer loyalty strong this holiday season.

Bodybuilding Warehouse did exactly that on their Cyber Monday sales campaign with a “Recommended for you” section:

retargeting audience ads example

Tip: Retarget loyal customers on your website to increase conversion rates for products you KNOW they’re are interested in, just like Sports Center did:

retargeting website example

11. Introduce top product suggestions 

With a sea of sales, holiday shoppers can quickly get overwhelmed when browsing through the discounts on offer. Make it easy for them to sift through the noise and find the best items on your online store with top product suggestions.

Industry West did this on their homepage with a dedicated “trending now” section. These recommendations play into the crowd mentality by inspiring buyers with shopping ideas based on popular items from other customers:

trending now - product seo

12. Create bundles to increase average order value

Bundles are the perfect way to increase holiday sales and increase the perceived value of items, while also offsetting some of the discounts you’ll be offering during this time. Take a look at your best-selling products, then group them with similar items that may be purchased together.

ZipTop is a great eCommerce case study showing how to do this well. The company offered an exclusive 25% discount on product sets — increasing their average order value from online sales along the way:

bundles - increase holiday sales

Another way to bundle items to achieve more sales? With product recommendations. For example, activewear brand The Sports Edit features a “Complete this look” section cross-selling matching product recommendations and similar items:

achieve more sales with product recommendations

13. Promote upcoming sales (with VIP access)

If your holiday season sales launch and nobody knows about it, does it even exist at all? Probably not. That’s why it’s key to build brand awareness and hype for your BFCM campaign with ads teasing your upcoming sales. 

Launch ads about your upcoming sales a few weeks out from each holiday marketing campaign, with a call-to-action for people to sign up for VIP access. You’ll capture more leads AND generate buzz, just like Able did in 2020:

upcoming sale promotion banner

14. Add a countdown to your offers

Countdowns can make all the difference when it comes to getting potential customers to convert. Timers add urgency to your campaigns and inspire browsers to take action, particularly if you’ve got a hot deal on the table.

When it comes to countdowns, think outside the traditional ‘offer ends soon’ timer. You can get creative and use them to count down to the launch of your campaign like GAME:

offer countdown

Or add them to a product page to remind shoppers of delivery cut-offs, like Adidas did:

adidas example - delivery cutoff

15. Add a festive look to your holiday season campaign

Nothing says holiday vibes like a festive landing page and seasonal creative. Develop dedicated landing pages to direct customers to, such as a Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals page or holiday gift guides, similar to Marks and Spencer:

seasonal creative

Don’t forget about your social media strategy either. Bring a touch of festivity to your social media posts with dedicated imagery for the holiday season. 

Pro tip: if you don’t have any Christmas-themed images, you can always get a bit creative with festive colours or illustrations. US-based skincare brand Ole Henriksen did just that for their Cyber Week holiday sale with winter illustrations and colours:

cyber week ad creative

16. Optimise for mobile shoppers

In 2020, mobile shopping accounted for a whopping 40% of total global online spending on Black Friday. Translation: if you want to rake in sales and convert as many customers as possible, you absolutely NEED to optimise your e-Commerce website for mobile devices.

Before you launch your BFCM and Christmas campaigns, make sure it works seamlessly on the small screen. That means:

  • Running a Google Mobile-Friendly Test to ensure your website is responsive and primed for mobile users

  • Optimising your campaign images to be readable on mobile devices

  • Keeping mobile page load times fast

  • Simplifying the checkout process to make it easy to shop on the go

17. Offer free shipping and easy returns 

Here’s the only statistic you need to know on shipping: according to Silverback, 90% of shoppers say that free shipping is their top incentive to shop more with a brand.

Use free shipping as a reason to draw customers in and increase sales by either:

  • Setting up free shipping for orders above a certain amount

  • Bundling the shipping cost into the price of your products

  • Promoting free shipping for a limited time only

Don’t overlook the returns process either. Whether it’s a change of mind or a gift for a loved one that didn’t work out, returns skyrocket for eCommerce businesses during this time. Make it easy for customers to return products during this time to give them maximum peace of mind on their purchase.

Luxury jewellery brand Cartier did this by offering an extended holiday return period for Christmas 2020:

cartier holiday campaign example

By adding this as a banner to the top of their page, the brand ensures that shoppers know that they’re protected with Cartier’s generous returns policy.

18. Create holiday content and gift guides

Your customers are looking for great gifts over the holiday period. If you can answer this need with tailored gift ideas, you’ll boost your eCommerce SEO, bring more traffic to your website AND increase your conversion rates.

So how do you find ideas for gift guides? Run a Google Search and check out the autocomplete suggestions for holiday shopping ideas:

holiday gift guide

Use these as inspiration for blog posts, promotional ideas and landing pages on your website. Here’s an example of a killer landing page from Back Country:

holiday gift guide example

Once you’ve developed your guides for gift ideas, you can also promote them in dedicated email newsletters and carousels on social media posts — just like Photojojo! have in this eDM:

email newsletter gift guide example

 

19. Invest in product videos and gifs 

Searching for promotional ideas that will make your campaign stand out and increase holiday season sales? ‘Tis the season to try product videos and GIFs.

Brands that use video increase revenue 49% faster than those that don’t. What’s more, including video on landing pages can increase conversion rates by a whopping 80%.

Think of ways to add movement to your holiday campaigns, either through animation or video content:

  • Include GIFs in your social media and email campaigns

  • Add review videos to your online store's product pages

  • Create product teaser videos to build awareness for your holiday sales

  • Build detailed product guides to explain how your items work, their features, and their benefits

It doesn’t have to be complicated either. Take this GIF from ASOS, which features bold text and background that changes colours:

asos product video example

 

20. Finetune your checkout process

Checkout is where your buyers seal the deal, so you want to make this as quick and painless as possible. The easier it is to shop with you, the fewer drop-offs you’ll get during this crucial part of the conversion process.

Look for ways to make your business checkout process easier for customers, such as:

  • Autofilling essential details like street addresses, in order to avoid any mistakes down the line.

  • Introducing support for quick payment options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal.

  • Adding security icons during checkout to reassure customers that their information is safe.

  • Displaying service messages that outline your shipping times, cut-offs, and any possible delays.

  • Including tips or micro-copy for any confusing parts of the form, such as the difference between shipping vs. billing address.

  • Testing and optimising your call-to-action with heatmaps and A/B testing.

Increase holiday sales with laser-focused digital marketing

The holiday period is a make or break time for most online stores. Turn 2021 into your best-performing year yet with a tailored holiday sales campaign from the Online Marketing Gurus. We’ll help you increase your visibility amongst ready-to-buy audiences, increase holiday revenue and customers, and achieve an insane ROAS this season.

Best of all? It’s free to get started. Claim your complimentary audit and digital marketing game plan (worth $2,000). Our Gurus will show you exactly what you need to increase holiday sales and skyrocket ROI with your digital marketing during the festive season.

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