With Q4 and the biggest holiday sales season ever quickly approaching the ecommerce industry like a tidal wave, online stores are scrambling to come up with an organized plan for holiday season offers.
Creating coupon offers, or BOGO campaigns is important but it should be noted that none of it works if your customers run into “out of stock” signs on your store during the busiest season of the year. The first thing to do before thinking about marketing campaigns is making sure you’ve ordered enough inventory for the upcoming 2020 holiday season. On the off chance that you haven’t actually properly figured out your inventory situation, consider an ecommerce line of credit to ease the pressure on your cash flow for your upcoming inventory purchase order.
Now that we have made the ever important note about inventory management being a first priority, let’s get down to some marketing business.
Nowadays it seems like everybody talks about doing the same old marketing strategies for the holiday season:
“Have you ever tried running a BOGO campaign!? Start your holiday season off right with this great promotion for your customers.”
Yes, we get it. BOGO works. In fact BOGO works any time of the year, not just holiday season.
Or we hear the classic:
“Think about gift cards for the holiday season this year to start your customers off on the right foot!”
Surprise, surprise - someone suggested that you use gift cards as a marketing strategy for your online store.
We have nothing against these articles or these strategies necessarily at all. There’s a reason they’re constantly mentioned and its because they work. Ecommerce companies make their money off these bread-and-butter marketing strategies and rightfully so since they provide the customers with some real value.
However this year is not a regular year for the ecommerce industry. Running a BOGO campaign with a gift card promo simply won’t cut it anymore. The pandemic has changed the game which means we have to change our game too. With that in mind, we asked ourselves what are the marketing strategies that should be talked about more this year. Here were our top three marketing strategies for this upcoming 2020 holiday season that nobody’s talking about yet.
1. Focusing on Remarketing
Remember how holiday season paid ads are always really expensive? This year they’re going to be even more costly than before, so focus on the cheapest way to generate revenue: to engage current and past customers.
There’s a reason why remarketing is generally the cheapest form of acquiring revenue for your online store. If you’ve ever done any paid remarketing or if you rely on email campaigns to previous customers you’ll understand what I’m referring to.
This 2020 holiday season will have more online marketing done than ever before due to the massive amount of new online stores that were forced to adapt their operations to the new normal. This means that more brands will be spending to run their ads which in turn, you guessed it, will cause ad prices to spike. This has always been the case in any holiday season but much more so now than ever before.
So how do we deploy some heavy remarketing campaigns this year to save on cost?
Here are a few ideas to execute within your remarketing efforts:
- VIP-only promotional deals for loyal customers
- Tiered cart discounts (the larger the cart, the bigger the total discount)
- Paid ads targeting past customers with special coupon codes
- Give loyal customers first dibs on high demand products
For example, check out what Birchbox does with it’s “Get First Dibs” remarketing campaign to their customers during the holiday season:
2. Keeping COVID restrictions in mind when create gift offers
The reality of this upcoming 2020 holiday season is that it is being heavily impacted by the current pandemic and ecommerce brands have to adapt and capitalize on the new normal.
It's a no-brainer to create pages that are incredibly aligned with the gift-giving aspect. A classical marketing concept is customer alignment: making sure that your customers expect what you are about to give them. For example, a great Facebook ad will tell the user what to expect and the landing page will deliver it. It’s not an issue if you exceed the user’s expectation but it is definitely an issue if you under-deliver on the customer’s expectations.
COVID hasn't changed this. We can still use this concept in our ecommerce store during this holiday season bydoing things like creating landing pages purely focused on gift-giving. This a typical strategy you see often during the holiday season.
One thing you don’t see however is a focus on the delivery aspect of the gift. Are you able to offer your clients free gift wrapping? Are you able to somehow create a delivery experience that is worthy of the gift itself? How can we align their experience to make the process of delivering the gift really enjoyable? We’ve already covered the front end “make a webpage talking about gifts” aspect, but what we haven't talked about is the actual action of your customer giving the gift to their loved ones.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of attention on brands who reduce the likelihood of transmission, the cleanliness of their physical store and their efforts in combating the negative effects of the pandemic on the job market. This is a great opportunity to keep doing that but more importantly customers now expect you to give them an experience tailored to the current circumstances of the pandemic.
Try offering COVID-specific safe delivery from your customer to whomever they are giving the gift to. Add free gift wrapping and free contact-less delivery/shipping and you might be onto something. A “COVID Awareness Bundle” for your delivery service if you will.
Something else to think about is that many international families will not be able to get together this holiday season because of travel restrictions and general pandemic-related reasons so offering your customer a special delivery experience to their loved ones can certainly be a difference maker.
3. Offer mystery upsells
There’s a reason why youtube has so many “mystery box” videos that get millions of views. It’s because people like to be pleasantly surprised by brands they love. In that way, the experience of having a surprise is almost part of the gift itself.
Mystery upsells of “Buy 1 and get a mystery item for free!” are not new. Brands have used this to great effect but interestingly enough it is not often at the top of the list for ecommerce owners. There can be multiple reasons for that, for example if you’re a high ticket, low quantity store like for example a guitar store, it may not make sense to invest in inventory for smaller items specific to a marketing campaign.
However, this season might be the perfect time to capitalize on this. Many stores won’t think about offering a mystery box or a mystery upsell and this is a good chance to stand out from the massive crowd of new online stores. Always remember that you could charge for your mystery upsell too - it doesn’t always have to be a free item. If you're a cosmetics brand, you could include a few small mystery items that are actually samples from your other products - this could even incite a second purchase by the customer if they love the sample they got from your mystery upsell!
Remember that in the online world, loyalty is rather fickle. Customers can simply type in a competitor’s URL and compare prices instantly which reduces the impact your brand typically might have on a customer, especially if they are inside your physical store making their purchase. Take this opportunity to give your customer something they may not have experienced before. Sell them the experience of a surprise.
Check out this holiday mystery upsell example by Pura Vida Bracelets where they used a free mystery upsell and tied it together with a second discounted mystery upsell on checkout:
This year is the right time to try something new
If there was ever a time when customers were ready and willing to accept a new and refreshing feel to an online brand, it’s after 6 months of quarantine.
Capitalize on this upcoming 2020 holiday season sales by following these three potential strategies but don’t forget about the classics. There’s a reason why they’re constantly mentioned and even if you’re trying something new with your ecommerce store this year, don’t lose sight of your usual bread-and-butter.
Trying something new this year? Might be time to try a new type of credit facility too. Try our new and affordable ecommerce line of credit built specially for online stores.