Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and more holidays in the month of November, if you own an online store, these are not just shopping days for you, but real holidays. We have prepared a checklist for you that will help you get the most out of them!
These days, when the competition is so big, customers are looking for three things: fast, effective, and hassle-free shopping. How can you help them, earn yourself, and also have fun along the way?
Very simply, follow the checklist we have prepared for you, which extends from the beginning of preparations for the holidays to the campaigns after them.
Advance planning and campaigns
- Data, data, data: Before any action you decide to perform on the site for the special days, you should take a look at Google Analytics, in order to better understand the behavior of the users on the site (how many pages each user viewed, for how long, where they came to the site and more). The better you know your target audience, the more effective promotions you will conduct, which will bring more traffic to the site. Look at the data several months back as well as a corresponding period last year.
- Keyword research: Conduct renewed keyword research tailored to the terms that people are searching for at this time. Create a kind of "word bank" for yourself, in which you will use the descriptions of the products in the sale and the pages relevant to the holidays on the website.
- Email Marketing: If you haven't started sending a newsletter yet, or you have unhandled records, now is the time to get down to business. For new customers - this is an opportunity to get to know you and be the first to know about special offers; For existing and past customers - this is an opportunity to reward them with a unique benefit for repeat purchases, according to their purchase history. Adapt the content to the target audience and offer everyone an offer, relevant for them. Email marketing is a very powerful tool in digital marketing for e-commerce sites, and too often doesn't get the respect it deserves.
"The better you know your target audience, the more effective promotions you will conduct, which will bring more traffic to the site."
- Customized mailing software: It's time to make sure that your mailing software allows for segmentation, according to demographic details, purchase history, order average, and more. Such segmentations will help you get to know your audience better and send them personalized content, which will result in more conversions.
- Don't be afraid to "dig": notify customers before the sale starts, when it's at its peak, and a second before it ends. That way, you will both do them a service and adapt yourself to all types of customers.
- Take advantage of all your digital assets: Facebook, Instagram, email distribution list, or messages. Just don't forget to adapt the content you write to the platform, people want to feel that they deserve more than a "copy-paste".
- Optimization: keep your hand on the pulse of every campaign you upload during this period. Conduct constant a/b testing, improve ineffective campaigns, and increase the budget in campaigns that are working (reminder: the competition is particularly high during this period and the ad prices accordingly).
Visibility and design
- Publish wherever possible: and in the clearest way possible. Have you decided to go for free shipping or extend the warranty period on products? The website's header is also good real estate for publishing this important information. Just don't forget to update back, when the sale ends.
- Brand yourself in a new and in festive way: Let customers know that you are participating in the celebration and not just through great promotions. Upgrade the logo, redesign the background, or even the "add to cart" button. Make shopping experiential and joyful.
- Update your photo inventory: Good photos are critical every day of the year, but these days especially. Do not hesitate to edit new, invested, and even branded photographs these days. Make sure you have an image on each product page, that the images are consistent in quality, and that they show the use of the product itself, both on the website and on social media.
"Let customers know that you are participating in the celebration and not just through great deals. Upgrade the logo, redesign the background, or even the add to cart button"
- Make sure you have sufficient information about each product: On each product page, make sure it says price, customer testimonials, when the product will arrive, and how. Make sure you have no spelling or typing errors, as they seriously damage credibility. Remember that in online stores, where there is no tangible meeting between the merchant and the buyer, everything revolves around trust.
- Treat every customer like a new customer: Customers who buy from you during the special days will not necessarily develop brand loyalty. In fact, they may not even know the brand. So, treat them like brand new customers: show them social proof of how trustworthy you are, post a returns policy, and answer any customer service-related questions in advance. Your homepage and about page should contain customer testimonials, company history, staff profiles if any, and contact information, to make it easy for customers to trust your website.
- Make it easy for your customers: Don't make customers struggle to find the deals. Display the best deals or the products that are about to run out on the home page and allow them to be added to the shopping cart with one click.
- Rearrange the categories: add a "gifts" tab, divide by prices ("up to...", "under..."), "best selling items", "for him/her", "gift ideas for those who have everything", and more. Another way to organize the inventory is by persona: parents, children, co-workers, and more.
- Create scarcity and urgency: present time-limited offers, limit the amount of items for sale, or make a popular product "limited edition"; Show how many customers are currently in the store, how many are looking at a certain item, and how much is left of each item; Add a countdown clock to the start of the promotion and then a countdown clock until the end of the promotion. A little positive pressure never killed anyone.
- Make sure you have everything: This may sound obvious, but there's nothing more frustrating than walking into a store offering sales when every second item is out of stock. Your goal is not only to sell and eliminate stocks but to give customers a good service experience and part of that is choosing from a variety of product options.
- Coordination of expectations and communication with customers: If, nevertheless, certain products, that you advertised in the sale, are out of stock - it happens, Make sure that you publish this openly on the product page so that it does not happen that customers have already placed an order and only then receive a notification that the product is missing. If you know for sure when the product will be back in stock, state it explicitly and stay in open communication with customers.
- Raw materials for packaging: Not only products can run out of stock, but also raw materials for packaging: cartons, adhesives, stickers, and more. Make sure you have enough packing materials, even more than you think you need and enough manpower to pack them. Yes, family and friends also count.
"Make sure you have enough packing materials, even more than you think you need and enough manpower to pack them. Yes, family and friends also count."
- Build a landing page: Yes, especially for an event. It doesn't have to be complex, it can bring together all the most worthwhile promotions, market a certain product line or in general, get people into the festive atmosphere, by announcing the promotion, exciting content, and intriguing photos (it's a good idea to publish it in advance). This will also raise the excitement meter in customers and will help you in the organic promotion.
- Carry out load tests: If in the past we would have accepted as an understanding the downfall of websites, today, customers have a (justified) expectation that stores will work 24/7. If you fail to handle a large amount of traffic, you risk losing both profits and customers. If you store the website with a hosting company, prepare in advance and make sure that the storage plan you are paying for can withstand the load.
- Examine the buying process: You've worked so hard to bring visitors to the store, don't let them down now. Go through the entire purchase process yourself, on different devices (computers/tablets/mobiles) and ask at least 5 other people to do the same. Make sure that the buying process is smooth and without bumps, both technically but also in terms of the marketing funnel (for example, during the holidays, don't ask for website registration to make a purchase. Do it at a later stage, through email marketing).
During the Holidays
- Be there for customers: In a physical store, there is nothing more frustrating than needing help, looking around, and not finding anyone to ask. An online store can solve this problem and provide a fast and available service, in a variety of options: recruiting additional personnel to answer inquiries, live chat, or an upgraded online inquiry form. Don't even be afraid to give a direct phone/WhatsApp number, in order to calm customers' concerns, win their trust, and give a quick, reliable, and efficient response.
- Be prepared for any scenario: from a delivery that is delayed, delivery of the wrong product, or even a shipment that is lost en route. 89% of customers will not return to shop in a store where they experienced bad customer service, therefore, no less important than preparing the store and the promotions themselves, raise all possible cases in advance and try to be prepared with a solution for every problem.
- Check for abandoned carts: automated emails to customers who have added products to the cart but have not completed the purchase can be an opportunity for you to show that you care and that you want to improve. We were interested in whether there was a problem with the purchase process or with the product, thereby providing excellent customer service and also earning feedback.
"There is nothing more frustrating than needing help, looking around, and not finding anyone to ask. An online store can solve this problem and provide a fast and available service"
Shipping and returns policy
- Discover flexibility: When there is a lot of competition between products, a competitive advantage can be reflected in a flexible payment, shipping, and return policy. Offer something unusual: extend the possible return period, allow payment by a variety of means, and offer a premium option of same-day delivery. Remember that many purchases made on these dates are gifts, which do not always fit the needs and preferences of the gift recipients. Allow returns but also exchanges and credits. It will pay off for you in the long run.
- Advertise loudly: Don't make customers wait until they add an item to their cart, only to find out what your shipping policy is. Especially if you have adopted a flexible policy, show it off and publish it on every page. This is how you will gain the trust of customers at an early stage.
- Stay in touch: Inform customers at every step of the way: the order was received, the shipment left, the shipment arrived, and, of course, a feedback request after receiving the shipment.
- Each customer order: How can you turn the many customers in the store on special days into repeat and loyal customers? The best way is to do an excellent job with the first order: exceed all expectations and convey your brand's message, consistently, at all interface points.
- Unboxing experience: The packaging is often the first physical point of interface customers have with the brand, so make sure it serves you well. Ask yourself: What is the unboxing experience? Is the packaging as luxurious as the product? Did you choose to add a small gift or a coupon for a future purchase? Maybe samples of other products from the store?
- Think ahead: an automatic follow-up email, about a month after the purchase, with a "thank you" message and a discount code for the next purchase, can work wonders. This is also an opportunity to offer a subscription to the newsletter, in order not to miss future promotions.
After the Holidays
- Remarketing: Take advantage of all the traffic that enters your store. Whether customers have bought from you or not, now, they know you and there is no reason not to continue with them, right where you left off. Conduct a remarketing campaign, separate for each audience, on both Facebook and Google. Create a local audience and conduct a dedicated campaign for them as well.
- Content Marketing: After the frenzy is over, you'll have lots of new customers, who will expect to keep getting more from you, and old customers, who might still be in the mood to buy. Don't miss the opportunity to stay in touch with customers, whether through personalized content mailings, social media posts, and more.
- Coupon for repeat purchase: Repeat buyers spend on average 7 times more than first-time buyers. Add a repeat purchase coupon to customers or offer them to join a customer club, in order to retain them and maintain their satisfaction over time.
"Take advantage of all the traffic that comes into your store. Whether customers bought from you or not, now, they know you and there is no reason not to continue with them, exactly where you left off."
The special days of the e-commerce sites are a wonderful time for store owners, the opportunity to boost sales, win new customers, and gain a competitive advantage in the market, but only if you are prepared in advance. It is important that you know that almost every Shopify template in Hebrew contains the special features, which we reviewed in the checklist and more.
If you need help preparing for the special days, an experienced eCommerce agency can definitely help you.