The year might be winding down but if you’re an ecommerce store or a small local business, it’s full steam ahead to get as many last-minute Christmas shoppers to buy from you. With the halls decked, the tree decorated and the Christmas carols playing on repeat, now’s the time to turn to these festive conversion tips to get your cash registers to ring with holiday cheer…
#1 Be aggressive with online and in-store discounts
The National Retail Federation reports that this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday were bursting with bargain hunters — all encouraged by deep discounts and tempting promotions. More than 154 million consumers shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend, with Adobe calculating a record $1.2 billion spent while using mobile devices.
The National Retail Federation also found that department stores were the most popular destinations for shoppers, snagging 50.9% of the traffic. Local and small businesses accounted for only 11.9% of the shoppers.
Before you become disheartened by the volume of shoppers heading to larger stores like Macy’s and Sears, consider this — just 9% [of Christmas shoppers] say they have finished their holiday shopping. That means 91% still have gifts to buy. Since a large chunk of those shoppers already know what the department stores have to offer, your small business can now swoop in with fresh, exciting and not-to-be-missed deals, all primed for the last few weeks before the big day.
Here are some ways to get those last-minute Christmas shoppers to hand over their money to you:
- If you already have a popular discount on one of your products, consider increasing the discount by 10–20% for the last few shopping days before Christmas. This extra discount can push undecided or last-minute buyers to your store and fill your cash register.
- Consider a reverse discount. A reverse discount sale is when you start selling a product with a deep discount and throughout the day the discount declines every hour. An example would be when the store opens the discount of a product is 50% off and then that percent discount declines every hour through the day. This entices people to get to your store early – getting your retail day off to a great start.
- Pair your discounts to double up on last-minute sales. Say, for example, you run a local pet store. Rather than just offering money off a new leash, give those shoppers buying a new leash money off a new collar or a personalized pet tag, too.
- Be omni-channel and offer your discounts across your ecommerce site and physically in store and at point of sale
#2 Dangle New Year’s temptations in front of customers
If you’re savvy about your last-minute sales push, you can set yourself up for a strong start to the New Year, too. Consider coupling incentives for last-minute Christmas shoppers to buy now with a temptation for a New Year’s saving, deal or a bonus, too. This helps push those who are on the fence — considering purchasing from another local business or worse, a big business competitor -– to complete the transaction with you. This gives shoppers an immediate Christmas gift AND something special for the New Year as well.
For example, if your small homewares store has a lot of festive Christmas items in stock, such as cinnamon scented candles, tree ornaments and handcrafted festive decorations, you’ll want to sell them as stocking stuffers or last-minute gifts before the 24th of December rolls around.
Here’s how you reward Christmas shoppers with New Year’s goodies:
- Sweeten the deal for those shopping online and in store by offering a voucher to be redeemed in January. The voucher could be something as simple as a free candle with any purchase or a gift voucher based on the value of the sale in December. Kohl’s is the master of this type of future “bonus” incentive with their Kohl’s Cash. Based on the amount of money you spend with them they give you “Kohl’s Cash” that you can then use at a later specified time.
Not only does the promise of a sweet deal encourage online Christmas shoppers to add to their cart before Christmas day, it also convinces in-store buyers to head to the registers, knowing that they’ll get a second benefit in the New Year. For you as a retailer, you get the extra advantage of priming your customers for a return shopping visit in the quieter month of January.
#3 Tap into the power of paid social
Eric Sampson, founder of Group8A, advocated an early start for holiday ads. Back in August, he suggested preparing for holidays earlier from a marketing perspective and celebrating them sooner from an ad perspective. The reason? There are more click throughs, more impressions and greater than average order values during the holiday season.
But, what if you didn’t get the memo and haven’t been testing ad copy and working on creatives since summer? Don’t panic. Paid social is the perfect I-need-it-now solution for late holiday visibility and it’s often much more favorably priced than traditional PPC or displays ads, particularly at this time of year when bid competition is high.
Here’s how to tap into social media:
- Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all strong contenders for the last of your 2016 ad budget. With so few shopping days left until Christmas, the best option at this stage of the game is to choose the platform where you traditionally get the best returns and the most engaged community.
- Facebook ads can be set up in no time at all and you have a range of ad formats to play with. You can couple your ads with offers – just click on the ‘offer’ icon on the Business Page and complete the pop-up form. Daily posts and boosted posts around your holiday theme can also help you expand your reach and connect with more shoppers. Carefully choose seasonal images, add a holiday edge to your advert copy and include your best offers such as free shipping, complimentary gift wrap or money off.
- Instagram advertisements are a little more complex to set up due to the account creation process. Your Instagram account must be linked to your Facebook account. Digital strategist Chris Woods has written a step-by-step guide to help you get started or you can also try the Instagram help center on Facebook.
- Pinterest is a great choice if you have beautiful, visual products. Whether you sell handmade clothes, soft furnishings, cookery equipment or beauty and fashion products, Pinterest reports very strong user intent. It’s also been very busy in the run up to the holiday season with a series of Pinterest for Business launches. Use Buyable Pins for your most beautiful and photogenic products, add a seasonal touch to your new Showcase area, try a promoted video if you have this asset available and enable feedback on pins so you can see what customers are loving this December.
What tips do you have?
What tips and tricks do you have up your sleeve to help convince last-minute shoppers to buy from you in the run up to Christmas? Share your insights with us below, to help other small business owners just like you gear up for their best-ever holiday season!