Retailer Holiday Hacks: 6 Very Merry Marketing Tips

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While it’s important to deck your eCommerce halls with deals - particularly on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend - many small and mid-sized (SMB) retailers can’t afford to offer huge discounts and free shipping throughout the entire holiday season. After strong Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales this year, many SMB retailers are worried about losing momentum with buyers once their big deals are over.

Luckily, we have some holiday growth hacks and marketing tips to help your retail business continue to drive traffic and sales across eCommerce channels for the rest of the holiday season!

1. Embrace Email Marketing

Who needs elves when you have email? With everyone fighting for shoppers’ attention online, you can cut through some of the noise by delivering your holiday offers straight to buyers’ inboxes. To stay top-of-mind with past customers and increase engagement with new web visitors, you should:

    • Increase the number of targeted emails you send to customer lists
    • Promote your best deals with specialized messages
    • Add an email sign-up button to your website
    • Get creative with subject lines and graphics
    • Personalize your messages and offers

Don’t have email marketing software? There are many affordable, web-based email marketing tools out there that can provide the integrations and templates you need to get started. PCMag has a helpful list that breaks down the top software tools.  

2. Create Gift Wish Lists and Product Bundles

Most people struggle in choosing the perfect holiday gifts for their family and friends. You can help take the stress out of their holiday hunt by creating wish lists and gift sets of bundled products.

For example, if you have an apparel shop, you can create gift wish list webpages with different sections for “her” and “him.” Each section would feature your top female and male clothing items, along with any discounts you may still be offering. Using the same example, a gift set of bundled products could be selling a scarf, a hat, and a pair of gloves as one winter holiday gift set. Offering the gift set at a slightly lower price than what the individual items would cost separately will help to entice buyers. And allowing them to chose variable factors like color and style will help to personalize their experience.

3. Become Mobile Minded

Mobile continues to capture a larger and larger portion of BFCM sales. This year, 36% of Black Friday online sales and 26% of Cyber Monday sales came from mobile. If you’re not optimizing your eCommerce sites for mobile devices, you’re missing out on that growing portion of potential sales.

And it’s not only mobile purchases. Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to research products. Google found consumers spend more than 15 hours per week researching items on mobile devices, and 93% of people who use mobile to research go on to complete a purchase of a product or service. Since it’s clear that mobile will only continue to grow in importance, your business needs to:

  • Optimize for mobile search and navigation
  • Leverage mobile-friendly graphics and images
  • Establish a clear and easy mobile path to purchase
  • Experiment with targeted mobile display and video ads
  • Potentially develop your own mobile app

4. Boost Social Engagement

When it comes to social media, having no budget is no problem. It also happens to be where your potential buyers are searching, sharing, and discussing products during the holidays. A Market Track study revealed 52% of consumers will use social media for holiday shopping in some way, including 36% who will look for discounts, 32% who will search for gift ideas, and 9% who plan to purchase directly via a social network during the holiday season.

Establish a strong social media presence on top platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest by:

  • Sharing branded content and customer stories
  • Actively promoting your products, special deals, and events
  • Regularly inviting customers to become social “fans” of your brand
  • Responding to customers’ online comments and feedback
  • Getting creative with visual content
  • Using relevant industry and product hashtags

5. Provide a Premium Customer Experience 

One area where smaller retailers really have a leg up on big-box stores is in creating a strong and unique customer experience. While retailers of every size aim to provide customers with a positive shopping experience, larger retailers have less to lose if that customer’s experience is less than great.

An American Express survey found that 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience, and 7 in 10 Americans are willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.

While a disappointing customer experience can lead to buyer abandonment, exceeding shoppers’ expectations can earn you life-long customers. As a smaller retailer, you have an opportunity to make buyers feel like valued customers and not just sales numbers. Start cultivating a premium shopping experience by:

  • Creating a seamless brand experience from online to in-store
  • Continually communicating order status
  • Ensuring fast delivery and hassle-free returns
  • Personalizing ongoing email and social communications
  • Following-up with special discounts and offers
  • Maintaining a high performing site and responsive customer support

6. Create and Encourage Brand Advocates 

Get your loyal customers to act like Santa’s helpers by harnessing the power of word-of-mouth. According to Nielsen, 84% of global consumers believe recommendations from friends and family are the most trustworthy sources of product information, and 77% are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family member.

You’ve created such a great customer experience that you now have tons of satisfied customers who already have positive feelings towards your brand. With a little encouragement and a few incentives, you can turn these loyal customers into brand advocates who can help promote your business and broaden your customer base. Create a loyalty program where customers can receive discounts, special offers, or gifts by sharing your content on social media, referring customers to your site, or writing a glowing product review.  

Not ready to develop a loyalty program? Start by making it easy for customers to:

  • Share your promotional emails with others
  • Promote your content on their social networks
  • Write positive product reviews online
  • Share their customer experience with your brand

Armed with these very merry marketing hacks, your SMB retail business will be able to keep driving sales through the holiday season.

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