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We are entering the most important time of the year for merchants: holiday shopping season! If there’s one time of the year to put forth all of your marketing ideas, it’s definitely now.

To help you get a profound insight into applying holiday marketing tips into your stores, this article will discuss 5 successful holiday marketing campaigns for eCommerce that worth learning. Each campaign has applied various powerful marketing strategies to be noticed, but we only look into the most prominent feature that decides their success.

Free downloadChristmas promotion checklist

All the brilliant promotion ideas and sale boost action that help you win Christmas sales 2017

Free download now

1. Incorporate Holiday Spirit into Your Brand

Case Study: Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff, Wayfair & REI

At these times of the year, you should be in favor of campaigns which highlight your seasonal offers and products promote your business as a good destination for holiday shopping designed to drive sales rather than awareness alone.

Don’t forget that this is an ideal time to promote special or seasonal products, either as standalone products or in themed collections.

However, these guidelines do not mean that your creativity has no place. If you need some inspiration to get the juices flowing, below is an example of a small brand that leveraged their holiday marketing campaign to get some buzz going.

Take a look at how well Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff has integrated Christmas spirit into their website. Christmas theme plus classic song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” becomes a noticeable tagline, just enough to get customers excited about the coming event and capture their attention at the same time.

As a side note, Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff won the Innovative Award for Customer Experience by achieving the conversion rate through funnel increasing 2000%, so evidently, they know what they are doing.


Bob-Johnsons-Computer-Stuff-Holiday-website

Let’s take a look at how Wayfair celebrated Black Friday Weekend. A bold attention-grabber stands out on the screen, with impossible-to-miss discounted products displayed below.

Wayfair-holiday-website


It looks simple, isn’t it? But always remember the secret, simplicity always works.

With 52% increase in retail sales for peak 5-day shopping weekend reported, Wayfair is clearly here to stay and make us watch and learn.

However, if you are trying to find a unique way for your business to shine, don’t hesitate to learn from REI #OptOutside campaign. Since 2015, REI has opted to zig while everyone else zagged: it closes on Black Friday, giving employees and customers a chance to reconnect with the outdoors. However, they do not just entirely disappear. REI sets off the campaign by encouraging people to take photos, videos or any kinds of visual documentation and upload them to social media with hashtag #OptOutside.

REI-OptOutside-campaign

While many expressed concern over the opt-out for historically one of the most profitable days of the year of REI, the company reported that employee and member engagement, however, has been at historic levels. In fact, in the first year, 1.6 million people declared #OptOutside to side with REI’s campaign. One year later, 6 million people opted outside and 700 organizations jumped on board. Imagine the surge of brand awareness that REI got from that brilliant idea.

This is an excellent case of encouraging humanity in the digital world - a prospective leap of marketing trends for the future.

2. Create a Sense of Urgency

Case Study: Amazon & ASOS

Holiday seasons, especially Christmas, are ideal times to use countdowns in promotions of time-limited offer, discount or sale, and especially if you are offering a free shipping for a limited period.

However, you need to pay attention to your tactic. Take the giant Amazon as an example. According to Statista, Cyber Monday has officially become the king of holiday revenue for Amazon, with “hundreds of million orders” made, and more than 59 million unique visitors.

How come Cyber Monday could surpass PrimeDay, while PrimeDay only lasts 24 hours but Cyber Monday may promote their deals longer just one day? Does “sense of urgency” still work here? The answer actually lies in the value difference that Amazon deliver for customers in these two holidays. While PrimeDay may be sexy to those want to buy household goods and utilities, Cyber Monday offers discounts that could save customers hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Thus, if you want to have a busy holiday and drown in orders, save the best deal(s) for year-end months, when people are in the mood for burning money to improve their homes and lives.

amazon-sales-report

You can choose to:

  • Promote early bird pricing
  • Include last order and last shipping dates in emails for subscribers
  • Display holiday discount codes with a countdown timer.

The fashion/clothing industry is always in tough competition, which is why the below example of limited discount from ASOS seems usual to many customers. But these campaigns prove to pay off when ASOs reported gaining more than $240 million in the U.S. alone in their 2015 annual report.

asos-sales

3. Launch a Specific Email Marketing Campaign

Case Study: West Elm

Email is big during the holiday season, with an estimated 54% of emails opened on a mobile device.  

Therefore, the holiday season is a good time to boost your email marketing strategy, with a focused campaign to highlight specific products and offers and to share important information relevant to the season, such as extended trading hours, etc.

A “12 Days of Christmas” campaign might seem cliched, but aside from being thematically fitting, it lends itself very well to time-limited offers, and the ability to create a sense of urgency. Alternatively, style it like an advent calendar.

For smaller businesses, the emphasis should be on showcasing unique items that aren’t necessarily available from High Street stores and big-box retailers, but it is perfectly fine to alternate between highlighting specific products and offering a general discount, either store-wide or department specific.

West Elm ran a 24 Days of Deals campaign a few years back, with daily deals and free extras for email subscribers.

west-alm-deal

This idea is suitable for any business with a well-maintained email database, and can easily be adapted to a print or social media campaign for businesses without an email list, including a print catalog.

If you’re worried about finding 12 different marketing offers, or about annoying your customers with daily email messages, scaling back to department-specific offers distributed weekly or bi-weekly can still be quite effective. Don’t choose departments randomly, but instead target those that will generate the most interest and traffic, and where you have sufficient inventory. If your inventory system makes it easy to identify top-selling items in each department, you can turn this into a “This Year’s Best Sellers” campaign, again assuming you have sufficient stock of each item.

Remember to get creative with your email subject lines. You need to put on even greater effort than usual day to make the email stand out and encourage your subscribers to open the message. Research shows that using emoji in subject lines get attention and results in 56% more opens. So next time you send a holiday email, try including a seasonal emoji, but don’t be lengthy. Inject some personality into the holiday email is the next best thing since everyone wants to talk with a real human being, not a robot.

4. Personalize User-Experience (or UX Optimization)

Case Study: Oreo

A special kind of magic happens when you begin to personalize user-experience. A study by Autopilot found that consumers are 4 times more likely to respond to messages if they receive personalized offers. In the same study, they found that 49% of consumers expect communications that are relevant to their needs. So how do you do it?

  • New vs. returning customers: New customers have different intentions than returning customers. If e-commerce brands can display different more personalized content to returning customers, there is a greater chance for a sale. Bonobos targets new customers with an immediate opportunity for a discount.
  • Keywords (or referring URL): Personalizing content with keywords is major for the holiday season. Take a look at how Nordstrom does this:
  • Upsell/cross-sell: You always want to be introducing your customers to similar or better products. Wayfair does a good job at cross-selling with their section below “Customers Also Viewed.”
  • Abandoned cart emails: Abandoned cart emails are a perfect opportunity to create urgency and personalize with products, but it needs serious preparation.
  • Location (or time of day): Using Geolocation messaging helps drive targeted users, or Google Analytics to target active users in different time zones effectively. If you want to know some tricks to utilize Google Analytics, check out this article.

A case study of brilliant user experience optimization is Oreo’s “Color-filled”. Everyone knows Oreo is great at producing delicious cookies that most of us would scarf down by the handful if we weren’t worried about our waistlines. Their marketing is as good as their cookies (well, almost, because in our book nothing beats a dark delicious Oreo). Their 2013 "Color-filled” campaign invited Oreo-obsessed people to colorize a unique design and create a wonderful gift for their family and friends. After this campaign, the brand saw 12% consumption growth, commanded 2% category share growth and their Twitter followers tripled during launch time. Furthermore, initial TV spots were shared 260% above Oreo’s average and the brand’s positive sentiment by 12% over benchmark.

oreo-colorfilled-campaign

You don’t necessarily need to go as far as Oreo, but don’t forget that we are working to individualize everything from Coca-Cola cans to shoes and even clothes. Mass customization has transitioned into personalization. This means to ensure that touch-points are specific and individual, or simply to streamline the purchasing process and making it more responsive.

Even on social media, avoid blasting highly generic content - content that people are ignoring. Instead, use it for the frontline marketing of sales and services, to engage with customers.

5. Encourage User-Generated Content

Case Study: Office Depot Office Max

Since social proof is so important for conversion, the best thing that brands can do is to tap customers directly: crowd-sourced designs, ideas, or even products. Tapping into UGC allows merchants to give a little (a prize or discount offer) and get a little (data, brand awareness, or even brand loyalty).

According to AdWeek, 85% of consumers find user-generated content to be more authentic than content promoted by a brand, and people are twice as likely to share UGC as they are to share other types of content.

The basic plan for UGC is hashtag contests. You would want to stand out during the holiday season, so you should not stop at image-sharing. Adding reviews to holiday signage is another great choice.  A contest that requires customers to do more than just spend a certain amount with your business: ask them to submit photos or videos of themselves interacting with your products.

One of the most notable holiday UGC campaign is the “Elf Yourself” campaign, launched by Office Depot Office Max. The idea was simple - users could paste images of their faces onto dancing elves, and then they can share the video across social media. Check out this family Christmas dance to see if it is weirdly amusing to you.

If you think this is silly and plain, the result would make you reconsider: More than 1.3 billion “Elf Yourself” videos have been created over the past ten years. According to AdAge, in the first launch month, the site grew 99%, the second month 89% and the third 29%. Over the course of 2 following months, their market share of internet users grew 508%.


In a nutshell,

Learn from the best is a wise move, but try to think outside the box too. Defy convention. Go where no other brand has gone before. Marketing for holiday seasons is hard-core art and science, but a good driver is to always keep your customers top of mind. Try to imagine what they’re thinking: Where do they spend time online? What platforms do they use? What kind of content would appeal to them? Then deliver what they expect to see, and it will be another great holiday sales for you.

To kick off the game, embrace the holiday spirit into your business, especially your landing page! Let’s get started by checking out some brilliant holiday-themed landing page designs by PageFly page builder - a Shopify app created for building a successful online business.

Free downloadChristmas promotion checklist

All the brilliant promotion ideas and sale boost action that help you win Christmas sales 2017

Free download now

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