When the holidays roll around for another year there’s one thing that comes to mind: seasonal strategy. With sellers competing for business like never before, it’s never been more important to get your offering in order first.

Take a look at these 8 proven ways to do just that, and you’ll be able to count on record turnover and profits in the new year.

Define the right metrics to track

Every year you get excited about your seasonal promotions and you’re adamant that they’ll work, but how do you really know? If you want to check the performance on a daily basis there are several key metrics that you need to look at:

  • Traffic
  • Conversion Rate
  • Gross Profit
  • Return Rate

The reason we’re stressing these 4 key metrics is that they’re the fundamentals of any E-Commerce business. This means that they apply today, during the holiday season, and forever more. Fail to take sufficient notice of how they’re changing from one day to the next, and you’re not really listening to what your customers are telling you.

If for example, you see that your new seasonal sign off coincides with a 10% drop in conversions, change it. Don’t leave it on there because you think that it should work. Listen to what your customers are telling you and then respond appropriately.

Increase marketing spend with a standalone holiday budget

Advertising on social media, especially on Facebook, is a great way to get your business seen. What you need to be aware of is that every seller will be spending more on ads at Christmas because it’s the busiest time of year. This means that you’re going to have to increase your spend just to stand still, and you’ll have to increase it even further if you want to start pulling ahead of the competition.

It may feel like you’re throwing money at the wall hoping for an upturn in sales, but a little planning will put this notion to bed. Save throughout the year so that you have a standalone holiday budget for marketing and ads. Not only will this prepare you for the additional spend that’s coming your way. It will also prompt you to start planning how your campaign is going to unfold. Learn from the lessons of the previous year, update it to take into account the latest trends, and you should see some serious return on your investment.

Create peak promotion marketing plans to drive your most popular products

Every Christmas there are a few must-have presents that consumers feel pressured to buy. The great thing about Christmas for sellers, is that every buyer has dozens of people they need to buy things for. There will be times when they know exactly what to get someone and their choice is locked in months in advance. Most of the time however, people are surprisingly easily swayed.

With pressure to find people something that they will like, buyers actually reach a state known as decision fatigue. There will be so many options out there and so many people to buy for, that they will put decisions off. What you can do is really push the 20% of your products that generate 80% of your turnover — the old 80:20 rule still applies.

This will allow you to catch the eye of buyers who are looking to be told what they should buy. If they see ads over and over for a product which they’re told is popular they’ll make the link in their minds that it’s a desirable gift to receive. Once you establish your products like this in the mind of buyers, you’re really onto something special.

Seasonal SEO is a great idea

People’s search habits change markedly at Christmas time because they’re so focused on the big day itself. You do it yourself, think about it. Are you more likely to search ‘funny present’ or ‘funny Christmas present’ if you’re shopping in early December?

This means that you need to change your SEO keywords, for a short time at least to try and capture a number of the most popular seasonal variations. With millions and millions of browsers opting for a new suite of keywords for a few weeks a year, you can’t afford to miss out. But don’t apply them too early.

You may think that if you start weaving them into your text in August then this will give you longer to establish yourself in the Google rankings. Whilst this might be true, people aren’t going to want to read it. It will just look like you haven’t bothered to take down your seasonal promotions. Start deploying your seasonal SEO campaign in mid November and you’ll strike the right balance between moving up the rankings and providing relevant readable content. 

Build awareness early with remarketing

Remarketing works all year round because it allows you to have multiple runs at selling to any given customer. Something that’s worth considering is changing your remarketing approach around the middle of November.

If you’re targeting customers with items left in their baskets why not prompt them to think whether they’d make a good Christmas present for someone else? Not only does this avoid the potentially pushy approach of seeing if they still want it for themselves. It gets them thinking about whether someone else they know would like it instead. Clearly they saw something in the product to add it to their basket in the first place.

The best thing about this new remarketing approach is that it also shows customers that you’re already open for Christmas business. If they want to get their shopping done early then they’ll take a look at the rest of what you have to offer.

Create a gift guide to showcase your entire range

Gift guides are a great way to repackage your range so that you can put it in front of the eyes of your customers all at once.

Lay everything out into easy to navigate sections so that they won’t feel overwhelmed but the amount of choice. With so many gifts to buy, they’ll be appreciative of a simple guide that gives them plenty of food for thought. Focus on the products that are already selling so that you have the most chance of selling even more of them.

Benchmark your site speed so that you can keep up with increased traffic

Refining your site’s loading speed is essential if you want to be able to keep up with the increased traffic during the holiday season. Hire a professional and do this well before Christmas so that you can root out any bugs and glitches well in advance.

With 40% of browsers giving up if a site takes 3 seconds or more to load, you can’t afford to have a slow site. Take the time to get it right by streamlining all of the code in the backend and you’ll be able to offer your customers a reliable and hassle-free shopping experience. Ideal if you want them to log on, purchase, and log off in a matter of seconds.

Personalize the experience with targeted recommendations

The final thing to consider are personal recommendations. We all receive those emails that tell us we might also want to buy X, Y, and Z. But what if you could reframe them as ideas for Christmas gifts?

Use a mix of products that you think the buyer themselves would like, and add in a healthy mix of your most popular products. That way you’re hedging your bets that someone they will know will want something that’s proving popular across a whole range of different demographics. You might want to consider sites in multiple languages to reach more audiences, feel free to choose the best translation site for these needs.

Final Thoughts

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for E-Commerce businesses, so start planning early so that you can reap the rewards in the new year. Tactics such as seasonal SEO, remarketing, and targeted recommendations will all help you stay one step ahead of the competition.

Just make sure you make it fun and enjoyable for your customers. A lot of people will be put off by an over-zealous approach to selling, so keep things festive and use a cheery seasonal tone when crafting your text.