The Christmas period always results in a spike in online shopping, usually beginning after the October payday and running into the first few days of January.
Sales in the leadup to Christmas have been driven even higher with the rise of shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Single’s day.
This year is likely to see continued growth in sales compared to last year's peak. At the height of COVID-19 we witnessed the value of internet retail sales in the UK grow by an astronomical 80% to £3.25 billion in November 2020 compared with £1.81 billion in Nov 2019. While growth has been decelerating, peak season this year is still predicted to see a 10.7% rise in e-commerce delivery volumes.
Black Friday originated in America, dating back to the 1960s, and is celebrated the day after Thanksgiving. Typically retailers offer heavily discounted prices and its influence has now spread across the world. Data intelligence company PCA estimates Black Friday is worth £2.5 billion to retailers. Although typically known as a physical retail event, this hasn't stopped online sellers from capitalising on it.
Cyber Monday is a much more recent creation. The term was coined in 2005 by Shop.org, who had noticed a natural spike in online shopping on the Monday after Thanksgiving. The adoption of the term has led to online retailers boosting the already inflated sales by heavily marketing deals.
A good strategy to make the most of peak targets 3 areas... getting customers through the door, increasing their basket value, and ensuring they don't abandon their cart.
We have compiled these 6 tips to help you maximise your sales and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Learning from last year
Planning well in advance by analysing your sales, performance, and marketing data from last year will help you to anticipate any problems and accurately predict how much stock you need so that you can be ready to keep everything running smoothly.
In the run-up to peak, it would be highly beneficial to test any new processes so that you don't get a nasty surprise at a critical moment.
2. Personalisation & basket value
Personalisation creates a shopping experience that customers love. It's all about showing the right things at the right time.
You can recommend products or target your seasonal promotions based on where a customer entered your site, which pages they have viewed, or what they have added to their basket. You could even use dynamic text replacement to make the copy on your landing pages more relevant to each customer.
Doing this creates a more streamlined shopping experience for your customers while helping you to cross-sell complementary products or up-sell to similar products of higher value. You could even recommend product bundles with an associated discount.
3. Gamifying promotions
Potential customers have a short attention span so it's crucial to catch them in the first few seconds. Let's face it, discount codes are boring but you can make your promotions more personalised and interactive by gamifying them. This can help immensely with campaign engagement.
There are a number of options you can try, one of our favourites is personality quizzes to recommend products (with a promotion of course). These quizzes have a second benefit of providing you with a more detailed insight into who your customers are, which will improve your future campaigns.
Another great option that we have seen recently are mini-games to win various promotions, such as spin to win wheels. These have the effect of creating a feeling of earning the promotion and a sense of scarcity that makes customers more likely to act on it. You can also combine your promotions with time limits to further increase conversions by creating a sense of urgency.
Using these gamified promotions within your advertising can improve conversion rates, especially if you deploy animated or video creative that demonstrates these promotions. Interactive ads can increase the time customers spend with your brand by 47% more than static ads.
4. Retarget Customers
Visitors who have abandoned their carts but left some contact data are not yet lost customers.
Make sure you can retarget as many customers as possible by collecting an email address early in the checkout process, or in your interactive promotions. But make sure that your retargeting emails are also personalised with product recommendations, reminders of what they were looking at, and targeted promotions that create a sense of urgency.
For those that don't leave their details, you can still retarget them with ads.
5. Maintaining Customer Service
During peak, it’s essential to have proactive and helpful customer service. In a world of instant gratification, customers are looking for quick response rates or they will quickly move on.
As you get increasingly bombarded with customer communication during the peak season it's important to put strategies in place to maintain your excellent customer service.
Using static web pages and chatbots to handle FAQ's will significantly reduce the load so that you can focus on the more unusual questions and issues. Having a composite bot/live chat is a great way to give customers a quick response that keeps them engaged.
6. Keep your customers coming back
Once you have nailed your advertising and website experience, then you just need to keep your customers coming back as it's always easier and cheaper to retain a customer than convert a new one.
The first step is to ensure they have a good delivery experience. Partnering with a good fulfilment company (3PL) is crucial to get your orders packed and shipped on time. Bezos.ai can help you take this experience one step further with custom packaging and inserts.