As an online retailer looking to increase sales in your eCommerce business, you cannot afford to ignore peak seasons. They are arguably the most important times for both shoppers and retailers. So it is no wonder that several eCommerce businesses record their highest revenues during these periods. However, to make the best of peak seasons, there are certain factors you need to consider and strategies you want to put in place before they hit. This article discusses the importance of peak seasons to your business and offers some valuable tips on how online retailers can boost their conversion rates and sales during these times of the year.
Before you implement any of the tips below, ensure that you already have a targeted goal in mind and a structured plan to get you there. As a business owner looking to get the best ROI during peak seasons, you should predict how sales could be in these seasons. Setting these targets and estimates can help you better evaluate how your brand performs and have more accurate expectations in the next seasons. Again, taking a moment to set estimates and goals will help you organize and formulate the right budgets for advertising costs, traffic, consumer behavior, and the reasonable times to sell which products.
Popular Peak events
Before we delve into the tips, let’s highlight some of the most popular and important peak dates and events throughout the year. For instance, in the United States, most people shop more during the holiday season, which lasts from Halloween through to Boxing Day. During this season, products such as Halloween treats for kids, toys, Christmas gifts, new clothes, and decorative items record the highest sales. However, regardless of the products you sell, you can engage with shoppers who may be enjoying these seasons by drawing attention to these events and theming your store and products around them. Below are some notable peak events and how you can maximize sales.
During Halloween, both adults and kids indulge in activities such as trick-or-treating and parties. You can appeal to this audience by using fun or spooky themes in your store and marketing content. Suppose you are in the fashion industry, for instance. In that case, you can create a line just for this period or offer products with Halloween twists to your audience. Boost sales during this period by offering special Halloween discounts and promotions to shoppers.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Black Friday, usually the last Friday in November, and Cyber Monday, the first Monday in December, are two of the most important peak dates for eCommerce stores. Both offline and online retailers offer crazy discounts during these dates, while shoppers troop to make all their purchases during this time. If you want to increase sales during these peak events, you may want to plan ahead and announce all your upcoming sales weeks ahead of the dates to your customers. In addition, you can increase the chances of shoppers choosing your store by adding perks such as free shipping and sending them personalized discount codes.
The 14th of February is a special day for shoppers who want to appreciate their loved ones. To maximize sales on and before this day, ensure that you stock up or arrange certain special packages for this purpose. This is a great time to offer Valentine’s Day discounts and special couple sales to attract your shoppers’ attention. You can stand out by offering to wrap gift items for free or attach hand-written notes to deliverable items on behalf of your customers.
Free Shipping Day
A lot of shoppers look forward to Free Shipping Day and typically place more orders. Furthermore, since it occurs on the 14th of December, it provides the perfect time for people to order all their Christmas products and gifts without leaving their homes. Therefore, retailers can target customers with their Free Shipping Day offers to attract customers and encourage them to place more orders in their stores.
We cannot talk about peak seasons without discussing how retails spike high on Christmas eve. You can boost your revenue massively by preparing for this season with products associated with Christmas. Promote all your festive stock vigorously on social media and through your marketing campaigns ahead of the 24th of December. Ensure that you and your staff are well prepared to handle the influx and deal with all customer issues. Get your shipping, delivery, and logistics in order to ensure that customers enjoy the best experience possible. Don’t forget to offer Christmas discounts and perks to incentivize customers to purchase more.
The 26th of December is another important peak date because retailers can maximize making after-Christmas sales. Shoppers will be alert to purchase products for the coming year and appreciate announcements on available products and promotions.
Strategies/tips to increase conversion/sales during peak seasons
Plan a marketing/promotional budget
As mentioned earlier, gaining more sales during peak seasons begins with a solid marketing strategy and budget. You cannot leave room to chance when it comes to this period. The most successful revenue boosts in peak seasons occur because of intentional strategies targeted at customers. First of all, you need to create a calendar, particularly for these holidays. Have a clear idea of the dates and seasons when most of your customers are more likely to shop. Take note of the big holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc., and keep track of consumers’ purchasing behavior in these periods. With this calendar, plan for a promotional budget and set up a targeted campaign. It should suit the season as well as the expectations of your customers for that period.
When it comes to budgeting, you must plan in advance to avoid either underspending or overspending. First, allocate what you plan to spend for advertising, discounts, and marketing based on data gathered from previous peak periods, then leave at least a 10 to 15% leeway to cater to any impromptu expenses.
Automate marketing process
Set up automated email campaigns specifically for these periods. Communicating with customers through email is highly effective because of its personalized approach. Ensure that you segment your audience and create workflows based on the recipient’s personalized preferences to engage them during seasonal sales.
Optimize for mobile
People are getting used to doing almost everything from their smartphones, and shopping is not an exemption. The digital age has made it possible for people to shop for items from another corner of the world through a few taps on the mobile phone. Simply put, consumers love comfort, and it will only get worse. As an online retailer hoping to increase sales during seasons, you need to take advantage of this knowledge by making it easier for customers to shop via their phones. Ensure that your ecommerce website is extremely mobile-friendly by testing its appearance and operability on mobile devices. A site that loads slowly on mobile is a major turn-off for customers who want immediate gratification; therefore, you need to tweak this by improving your site speed and formatting all images to suit mobile users. Make sure that you tackle any challenge with your website that might frustrate customers shopping on their mobile devices before the peak season begins.
Broaden your advertising channels
To reach a wider range of customers, it is prudent that you diversify your advertising channels. New social media platforms and types of content emerge every year, and you need to stay up to date if you want to gain more traffic and boost sales. Research wide and select the best option depending on the kind of audience you want to reach. Don’t just stick to one approach when advertising. You may want to try other means such as video advertising, podcasts, influencer marketing, amongst others. Consider using audio, written, and video content when advertising during peak seasons. Form new partnerships, and don’t hesitate to collaborate with influencers in your niche.
Peak seasons are the best times to utilize your social media channels. Since most of your customers can be found on social media, do well to update them on any sale or promotion you’re having through these platforms. Share great pictures, videos and host giveaways on your channels to create solid engagement and excitement with your audience. The goal is to win over their attention as much as possible. Utilize popular hashtags around the peak season and use them to build organic traffic as you post.
Provide excellent customer service and support
This is an often overlooked tool in many eCommerce businesses. Still, the truth is that no matter how detailed your marketing plan is, how hefty your discounts are or how great your eCommerce website looks, if your customer service is poor, everything else can be undermined. The peak season will likely result in an increase in messages and calls from customers who want more details about your products and promotions. Ensure that your customer service and support teams are ready to handle the influx appropriately. The team should have access to every vital information and the right technology to quickly respond to the needs and questions of your customers before the season begins. Since there is the likelihood of attracting new customers during these seasons, the team should be well informed, accommodating, and strategic in their interactions. Customers should be so satisfied with the entire support experience that they leave favorable reviews and not the other way round.
Ensure efficient shipping, timely delivery
Shipping is one of the biggest challenges online retailers face during peak seasons. Apart from the influx of orders, time sensitivity is also at stake. For instance, a customer who orders a Valentine’s Day gift from your store will expect that it is delivered before or on that specific day. Furthermore, any delays will be disappointing and recorded as an awful experience with your brand. As such, you need to consider all these factors when offering products for sale for these seasons.
One strategy you should use is to be extremely clear on the delivery times for the goods you promote. Stating delivery times gives customers a better idea of when they need to shop while creating a sense of urgency. Give them a time span ahead of the date and send reminders to purchase items within those timeframes. Customers will be thankful for the reminders and will be more likely to shop with your brand.
Consider automating the entire shipping process to speed up the process and avoid any errors that could occur with a manual process. During these times, you can use multiple carriers, track and insure your parcels to ease the pressure, and give your customers a valuable experience with your brand. In addition, offering free deliveries is a great way to increase conversions during hot holiday seasons. It also incentivizes customers to increase the number of purchases since they feel relieved that their delivery fees are catered for.
Make use of discount timers
The good thing about discount timers is that they boost urgency, which increases the odds of converting undecided customers. Placing countdown discount timers on your website is a great strategy to prevent shoppers from abandoning carts. Make them aware that they can earn a discount if they purchase certain items within a short timeframe, and you can increase sales for those items drastically.
Give extra loyalty points
If you have incorporated a loyalty program into your online store, you can easily boost sales during the peak holiday seasons by giving free loyalty points. Offer customers extra points to incentivize them to make more purchases. Since they know the points earned are valuable and can be later redeemed for rewards, they will be more likely to increase the number of purchases they make.
Personalized suggestions, Pop-ups and retargeting ads
To increase conversion rates and sales during peak seasons, you need more than just a marketing strategy. A re-marketing strategy will benefit your brand more than you can imagine. While shoppers might be thrilled to fill up their shopping carts with the availability of discounts and exclusive sales during these times, there is also a high possibility that many will second guess their purchases and abandon carts easily. This is why you need to complement your marketing plan with retargeted ads, pop-ups, email reminders, and any re-marketing strategy that can get shoppers to return and complete their orders. You can tackle all the distractions your shoppers might face by setting up retargeting ads that will effectively remind them of their purchasing attempts. In addition, personalized email promo codes are effective in clearing abandoned carts and getting shoppers to revisit your online store.
You can add automated exit intent pop-ups on your online store to reduce the likelihood of visitors leaving your store within a short time. With those pop-ups, ensure that you offer them an irresistible offer and time-sensitive discounts that will cause them to stay in your store and place an order.
Create Gift Guides and Holiday-specific content
Peak seasons happen every year; thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of your shoppers can run out of gift ideas. Use this opportunity to create or recommend product bundles to them. You can use any of your social media platforms, blog, or website to promote content that helps your audience select the right products to purchase in a particular season. For example, you can write an article or blog post which discusses the top 10 Holiday gifts for kids and feature your best products in them. With this approach, you are killing three birds with one stone by driving traffic to your website, offering value to customers, and ultimately increasing sales of the products you recommend.
Offering discounts, exclusive sales, and hosting giveaways are great ways to build engagement and increase sales during peak seasons. However, if you want to boost sales during holidays consistently, you should focus more on building an awesome customer experience. To do this, you need to prepare in advance and ensure that all processes and staff are ready to deal with the sudden influx of orders. Spend time tweaking your products to suit the occasion and audience. Optimize your store for high volume holiday sales and ensure that customers enjoy a great shopping experience whether they shop from their mobile devices or computers. Through the products and service delivered, excellent customer service, timely delivery, and valuable offers give your customers and visitors a strong reason to choose your brand over others. After all, peak seasons are not just beneficial in boosting sales. They allow retailers to promote their brands, build strong emotional connections with customers who cherish these seasons and win over some of the most loyal customers who can later become brand advocates.