Whether you’re a fan of the holiday season or not, as a store owner you know that it’s simply the busiest time of the year.
In fact, some retailers can generate 40% of their annual revenue during the holiday season.
And as more and more customers skate through their purchasing journey online, e-commerce owners are able to create a seamless transition from browsing to purchase with personalized offers and perfectly timed promotions.
The key to seasonal success lies in prepping for the spike in traffic.
Holiday shoppers begin hunting for the perfect gift earlier than you think, and 42% have already completed all their holiday shopping after Black Friday. That leaves 58% highly motivated last-minute shoppers that every e-commerce owner should be targeting.
If you haven’t thought about decking out your store with holiday offers and decorations, there is still time to make the most of this shopping season.
Here are 50+ tips and tricks to help you giftify your inventory and wrap up the year with a bang!
Seize the season
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Timing is everything when it comes to seasonal campaigns. If you’re too early with your festive promotions they’ll be missed, if you’re too late, they’ll be wasted. Over the years, shoppers have left enough data behind to allow us to compile a timeline of their journey from shoppers to buyers. If you plan your seasonal inventory and promotions with that in mind, you’ll be setting yourself up for success this holiday season.
For the most up-to-date data on search trends, use tools like:
Google Trends will help you spot search trends in real time and will give you a timeline of search volume for specific keywords on specific dates.
Consumer Barometer will highlight the latest search trends in different markets.
Getting your store holiday ready
Image Source: Unsplash
However, if you are running behind schedule and feel like you’re running out of time to prep for the busiest time of year, we’ve got you covered. Everything you need to know to deck out your store with new or existing listings is down below!
Bundle items in sets
Holiday gift hunters are always looking for the best deal, and with an abundance of choice, you want to make sure you make their shopping experience as seamless as possible.
Almost 50% of shoppers last year bought from a new retailer, which means brand loyalty has a short shelf-life, and it’s everyone’s game.
Take a look at your inventory, and think which items could work well together, keeping the price in mind. Draw new and existing customers in with a lead photo featuring the complete set on your site, and cross-promote on social media for best results.
Use price buckets
Keep in mind that shoppers often have a price range in mind when they shop for seasonal gifts. Research your listings, and create buckets with items that fall into the most popular price ranges: under $25, $50, $75 and $100 to attract customers with all kinds of budgets in mind.
The average budget for gifts is approximately $740, with another $150 budgeted for holiday décor.
Call out the recipient
Help shoppers find gifts for everyone on their nice list. Consider the type of person (or groups of people) your customers will be shopping for, and create descriptions letting them know who this item would be a great gift for and why. Deviate from the usual, and include bosses, coworkers, and neighbours for example. Create keywords that target the specific recipient and include them in your titles and tags.
Tweak titles and tags
One sure-proof way to make the most of the busiest time in retail is to optimize titles and tags with relevant themes and keywords. Put yourself in the holiday shoppers shoes and think about what you might search for in preparation for the holiday season (e.g., deals, novelty gifts, personalized gifts, etc), and use those keywords in your titles and descriptions.
You can also pull up data from previous years to see what keywords attracted the most traffic to your store, and reuse them this year. Be sure to include long-tail keywords to optimize your store for voice search.
If you’re stumped on what keywords you should include, check out UberSuggest. It’s a free keyword research tool that helps business find and refine keywords best suited for their business. Get an overview of everything - from seasonality to search volume - find the keywords that will attract the most customers to your store.
Add festive photos
Deck out your store with festive images of your listings. Appeal to gift hunters by highlighting seasonal themes using simple props and color themes in your photographs. Featuring holiday-themed photos can be really beneficial, and sometimes just a little tweak to your existing photos may be all you need to grab someone’s attention.
Highlight gift potential
Don’t just leave it up to the customer to decide how and why your item has great gift potential. Take charge and showcase the possibilities by including gift ideas in your descriptions and tags. Feature photos to show customers how your products could make a great gift, and use the opportunity to add any gift wrapping options you offer or ‘items that go well together/ items bought together.
Spotlight key print items
If you have a handy best seller to rely on or a brand new design you want to promote this holiday season - use your Collections Banner to feature the essential items from your holiday collection. Analyze site traffic to find the most popular items from your store, and be sure to include them in your festive collection to draw customers in.
Create gift catalog
When it comes to the holiday season, you may have to reconsider the way you target your customers. One thing to remember is that it is likely that they will be buying gifts for others, rather than themselves. Make it easier for them to find the perfect gift by creating gift guides for your blog, newsletter, and social media campaigns. There’s a lot to learn from your competitors, so do a little digging to see what they’re doing and take inspiration from there.
To turn inspiration into beautiful content use tools like:
The simple drag and drop design tool offers a wide range of free fonts, illustrations, and images. Create beautiful flyers, brochures, infographics, social media images and more for free, and with ease.
Keep all your inspiration, market research and ideas in one place. Never lose your notes again, and access all your files from any location on your mobile, laptop or tablet.
Strike an emotional chord with the right headline for your audience with Headline Analyzer. The free marketing tool helps advertisers test their one-liners to determine how effective the copy is.
Every little help
Drive higher cart totals by offering discounts, deals, and gift with purchase. Use Shopify apps like Bulk, or run a campaign that provides daily gift inspiration and deals. A great way to attract bargain hunters, and entice them to keep coming back for more!
Be clear about shipping cut off dates
Not only to save customers from bitter disappointment but also to create a sense of urgency. Use the power of social media to let them know when is the last day to get their shopping done in time for the holidays.
Engage your customers with every link you share with Sniply. This handy tool allows you to add a call-to-action to any page on the web, so you can help your followers find your store with every post you share.
Save time and stay on top of all your social media channels with the help of Buffer. The scheduling tool helps you prepare your posts in advance, store content, and analyze how your posts are performing all in one place.
Traffic Generation and Sales tips
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Spruce up your meta descriptions
Although these no longer carry any SEO value, they still can help out with click-through rate from search engines. it's a great way to call out and promote holiday-specific promotions you may be running on your store. It's quick, free and when a customer is searching for last-minute deals, your 20% discount may tip them in your direction.
Pitch perfect for voice search
Last but not least, don’t forget to optimize your SEO efforts for voice search. 20% of Google searches are now by voice, and 44% of users say they use their voice-activated devices to shop online on a weekly basis. The difference between voice and web search is in the language we use. Users use natural language when they speak to their devices, so make sure you incorporate long-tail keywords in your titles, tags, descriptions, and content.
Give your SEO a boost with Answer the Public. The free marketing tool helps advertisers find topics and most researched questions based on their primary keywords. Arm yourself with knowledge about what your customers are after, and turn visitors into buyers.
Reconnect with your customers with personalized web push notifications. Retarget your store visitors with offers that they care about, and increase drive sales this holiday season.
Use the power of social
Drive traffic with festive social media campaigns. Spice up your posts with festive photos, spotlight gift ideas in your Insta Stories and use the 'swipe up' option whenever possible. Make it easy for customers to find the gifts you highlight by keeping links embedded in your bio and stick to clear CTAs.
Consider the latest design trends when it comes to styling your social posts - think cozy hues of white, vintage pop of color and rustic farmhouse vibes. There are ways to incorporate these trends to appeal to broader audiences without introducing trend-specific products. For example, if you want to go for the minimalist trend, consider keeping your photos clean and simple.
Here are some tools to help you up your game on social:
Optimize the customer experience one click at a time. Bitly, the free link management tool will help you shorten, manage and measure shared links across the web. If you want to give your links the extra factor, you can upgrade to an enterprise account and create custom links for your business.
Looking to grow your Instagram following? Let Social Drift take care of it. With the help of AI, Social Drift interacts with the optimal user, and helps you grow your following, capture leads and grow your business organically.
Give your Instagram stories the festive makeover with SotriesAds. Free for a limited time only, this is the perfect app to use to drive traffic to your store this holiday season. Use the customizable templates to create videos that resonate with your customers.
Mockup and test your ads before investing time, money and effort into creating a full campaign with Ad Parlour. This handy marketing tool allows you to see what ads will look like for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram before you go live.
Nurture, grow and score leads with Octopost. This social media lead generation tool seamlessly pushes data to your marketing automation tool, and helps you measure, monitor and manage your social media in one place.
Create the optimal mobile experience for your customers with Fastory. Build immersive, creative and engaging campaigns with a tool that is designed to create mobile-first marketing.
Showcase your brand and attract customers with creative and engaging videos. The easy to use tool allows you to create videos that attract traffic, boost sales and put your brand on the map.
Create powerful and unique marketing campaigns with WoolBox. And best of all? If you’re short of time, they offer customizable ready-made campaigns to speed up the process. Just throw in your hashtag or link and it’s ready to go. Customize, manage and analyze your campaigns in one place.
Unleash the power of Facebook Messenger marketing with the help of Mobile Monkey. Increase your ROI, leverage AI to serve content your customers want, and get alerts on quality leads for free.
Reconnect with your loyal-brand lovers
The holiday season is buzzing with newsletters and offers, but it’s a prime time to get in touch with your loyal customers and invite them back to your store. To stand out from the crowd, with clever and funny subject lines. To get started, take two of your bestsellers or items you’re running a holiday-specific promotion and come up with a fun play on words.
Check out Really Good Emails for some copywriting inspiration, or play around with the subject line generator.
Deliver punchy and concise content with the help from the Hemingway App. The free writing app analyzes your content and delivers color-coded alerts whenever the copy is too difficult to follow.
Let your shop banner sparkle
Spice up your sales strategy! Shop banners are a great way to stand out from the crowd, especially during the holiday season. It’s also a fantastic way to bring some festive flair to your website, without investing a lot of time or effort. Use them to create a sense of urgency by spotlighting shipping deadlines, special promotions, and discounts. Here are some content ideas to get you started:
Countdown to final deadline:
Try Ultimate Sales Boost apps to remind shoppers that time is running out, and highlight the last day for the guaranteed delivery time in time for the holidays.
If your store is supporting a charity or an organization, make sure you highlight that in your banner. It’s a season of giving, and shoppers support businesses that give back.
Surprise shoppers with popover discounts and coupons
In the final weeks, webpage overlays can help convert more last-minute shoppers into customers. Offer shoppers special discounts and coupon codes to entice them to continue browsing and eventually converting on your site. Make sure you time these well, allow shoppers to have a look around before you spring these offers onto them.
This is a grand opportunity to build your email lists too. Another option to consider is side-ins -- they work the same as popovers, but are less intrusive and do not obstruct the prime viewing area of the page.
If you have an emailing platform that allows you to create your popups, use that, or check out Abandonment Protector. The app has a variety of pre-designed templates to choose from, so you can be ready to surprise and delight customers in no time. Or, take the most popular interactive pop-up Spin a Sale for a spin this holiday season. Bring festive joy to your pop-ups, grow your mailing list and boost revenue with pop-ups that drive action.
Competition is fierce, so there is no room for error. With 40% of online transactions happening on mobile, it’s crucial to provide shoppers with a friction-free mobile experience. In fact, 38% of shoppers won’t return to a store that is not mobile friendly.
Make sure you optimize your site for mobile and Test My Site to make sure that you are providing a speedy experience. Slow speed is the biggest turn off for mobile users, and if the website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, customers will bounce somewhere else, never to be seen again.
You can use Shopify apps like PageSpeed Guru to quickly improve loading times of your store.
Optimize for an increase in site traffic
Keep the lights on throughout the busiest time of year by optimizing your servers for a peak in traffic. Check your web-hosting plan to ensure it’s ready to handle an influx in page visitors. Failing to prepare for an increase in traffic can cost you big bucks, so make sure your store is ready to receive last-minute shoppers.
Prep for abandonment issues
Reunite customers with their abandoned baskets with friendly reminders with the help from PushOwl notifications. The handy marketing push notification app, which is built for stores big and small, is the perfect tool to implement in time for the holidays. Send timely reminders to customers that left your store without converting and boost your sales this season.
Festive season’s greetings
Spruce up your site and spark interest with some festive designs and light touches to your site. If you’re not a designer and don’t want to spend your hard earned cash on a freelancer, there are easy to use tools to help you get your site holiday ready.
If you are running low on time and budget, use Festive Decorations to add festive animated icons to your site or specific pages.
Take your branding to new heights with the free to use app Hatchful. The easy to use app offers hundreds of templates to choose from and fully loaded brand assets for all your social media channels.
When it comes to the holiday season, adding a little bit of magic to your store design or offering a gift guide to help shoppers find presents for the ones they love, can make or break a retailer’s year. Small changes to your store may be all it takes to outperform your previous record sales month.
So arm yourself with the latest trends in your industry, plan your marketing accordingly, don’t forget to sprinkle holiday magic over your inventory, and you’ll be setting yourself up for seasonal success.