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The 2020 Holiday Season — How to Increase Sales with These 7 Effective Strategies

If there’s any year where we need to think differently about our holiday season, we can probably all agree it’s this one. 

Many businesses are reeling from the effects of COVID-19. While many were able to hold steady or see increased demand during the pandemic, other businesses need a strong holiday season to survive to next year. 

Despite the challenges 2020 has brought to many retailers, there are signs of overall increased demand in retail. For example in the United States, the U.S. retail sales jumped up 1.6% in September 2020, versus August 2020. This was the highest increase in 3 months. Clothing stores, department stores, and sporting goods were the biggest drivers of this growth.

What does this mean for your business, even if you’re not one of these categories? It means there are still shoppers who need to buy products. And as we head into the holiday season, a store owner might have to work harder to capture the shopper’s attention, perhaps in ways not tried by your business before. 

Fortunately, there are tried and true tactics an e-commerce business can engage in to help drive sales. Let’s take a look at 7 strategies to increase your holiday sales, so you can make the most out of 2020.

7 strategies to increase sales this holiday season

1. Get seasonably social 

Whether we love it or could live without it, social media is a major part of your shopper’s lives. This means you need to be where they are so they can hear (or see) your message. But social media is more than posting random updates or picture-less posts. You have to have your own social media strategy!

There are several creative ways you can engage your audience through social media during the holidays. Consider a few of these tactics:

  • Create a lookbook – help your shoppers get ideas for events or entertaining by grouping items you sell. Take pictures, present stories, write posts about how your product can help your shopper take control of the holiday season.
  • Create shopping guides – Similar to a lookbook, you can create gift-giving guides for your shoppers so they know exactly what to pick. You can partner with other businesses 
  • Create contests – shoppers love the prospect of winning something, so why not put together a fun contest to create engagement? 

While big giveaways and contests build excitement, it’s also the little touches that can help you get noticed. Small updates such as refreshing your profile pictures and updating your hashtags keeps you relevant. Your social media strategy doesn’t have to be all-consuming, but it does need to be updated for the holidays.

2. Plan your promotions

As you’re planning your promotions, look at the data to see what has worked for you in the past. Was offering free shipping a popular promotion? Did you sell out when you offered your lowest price ever?

The 2020 holiday season is the time to put your best effort into a promotion. Even if you can’t lower your margins, you can get behind your promotions with strong marketing. And don’t forget, there are several promotional ideas you can use for your products, such as:

  • Bundling – if a shopper purchases two or more items together, offer an incentive.
  • Discounts – Of course taking money off the retail price is a traditional promotional tactic
  • Free Shipping – A shopper rarely enjoys paying for shipping. Offering free shipping is not only a great incentive for holiday sales, but it’s a way to encourage e-commerce shoppers who aren’t ready to head back into a physical store. Plus, 

You likely already know what works and what doesn’t work for your shoppers. Now it’s time to build on what you already know, so you can make this holiday season even better.

3. Create exclusive events

Another way to generate excitement around your holiday offerings is to create exclusive events. These events can take on many forms, whether you’re an e-commerce or a physical store. 

There are many ways to offer your shopper an exclusive, insiders-only experience just by ramping up your messaging. You can:

  • Offer an exclusive sale to your email list subscribers
  • Offer a private shopping experience, open only to your insides
  • Send a newsletter to your private group 
  • Create an invitation-only Facebook group

You can also generate buzz and excitement for your store through physical events. Think of all the ways you can make a shopper feel important by inviting them to something like:

  • A guest speaker and inviting your shoppers to hear them speak
  • A private sales event
  • An organized charity event

Exclusive events do not have to be expensive, they only need to make a shopper feel important. Creating these private events is a fantastic way to increase loyalty among your shoppers.

4. Use your email list and re-target

You can use your email list in very powerful ways. Having your potential shopper’s email puts you one step closer to building loyalty, if the email is treated correctly that is.

The holidays are a perfect time to use your email distribution list. You can notify your shoppers of upcoming events, promotions, campaigns – whatever you want to give them access to. 

Not only are email addresses great for promoting upcoming events, but email addresses are vital for re-targeting customers. Re-targeting a shopper refers to reaching out to them after they abandoned their cart on your site. For whatever reason, they decided not to complete their purchase. The holidays are an important time to re-target, because it’s natural your shoppers have short attention spans.

Sending a cart abandonment email doesn’t have to be complicated. You can follow simple steps such as using a creative subject line, sending an additional promotional offer, or simply reminding your shopper of what’s still in their cart.

By using your email distribution list in smart, tactile ways, you can increase your holiday sales and capture your shopper’s attention.

5. Offer payment flexibility

With this year bringing so many challenges to your shoppers, offering payment flexibility may be one of the best strategies you implement. Installment plans allow your shoppers the ability to pay for their purchase over a period of time of their choosing.

Installment plans offer several benefits for the shopper. The best installment plans offer your shopper:

  • Interest-free payments
  • Paying over a period of time of their choosing 
  • Easy, integrated checkout process
  • No additional paperwork or application
  • Use the shopper’s current credit card, so no additional credit is needed

Splitit is able to offer your shopper all of the benefits listed. 

By offering payment flexibility, you not only give your shopper the chance to purchase an item they might not be able to afford, but you help your business in the process. Businesses offering Splitit for instance, have seen higher online conversion rates and a 20% increase in Average Order Value (AOV)

Imagine what your holiday sales revenue would look like if you could increase your AOV or your cart conversions. The best part is, Splitit is so simple to add to your checkout process and integrate with your site.

6. Optimize your site

All indications are that online shopping will increase in 2020, even though 2019 was also a record year for online shopping. The best way to get ready for online sales is to optimize your site sooner, rather than later.

What can you do to optimize your site? There are several action items, and making these before the holiday rush can help lower your cart abandonment rates and increase your sales.

  • Check for site speed. No one likes a slow web page. Use insights to make sure your site speed is optimal. Shoppers expect sites to load within a second or two, and do not have patience for anything much longer.
  • Refresh your landing page. Make sure your landing page is consistent with your offerings for the holidays.
  • Create a sense of urgency throughout. Use language on your landing page and product pages to encourage shoppers to purchase ASAP. 
  • Refresh your product pages. Go through each product and review descriptions. Refresh and update where necessary, adding in language for the holidays if possible.
  • Make payment options easy to find. If you’re offering flexible payment plans, such as through Splitit, or increasing the number of payment options, make sure your shoppers know. This could be the difference between you getting the sale or a shopper choosing another retailer.
  • Seamless checkout process. Shoppers want a checkout process as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Studies show the more clicks someone has to make, the more likely they are to move on to another site.
  • Don’t forget mobile shoppers. Mobile shopping is increasingly important. Not only do shoppers demand responsive sites on their smartphone, shoppers are also making more purchases within apps. 

Optimizing your e-commerce site is critical for the holiday season. Not only is it a best-practice throughout the year, but it sets you up for a successful holiday season. 

7. Pull all your marketing plans together

The final step to increase your holiday sales is to get your marketing plans solidified and communicated. It’s great if you know what you want to do to increase your holiday sales, but it’s equally important to share with your employees.

Whether you use a calendar, email, or some other system, having all your promotions and marketing plans written out will help you and your colleagues stay on track. Remember, you’ll likely have these strategies working simultaneously.

Don’t forget to plan out all your marketing campaigns, such as your:

  • Social media messaging
  • Social media campaigns
  • Shopper emails
  • Shopper newsletters
  • Website updates
  • Promotional and discount strategies
  • Exclusive shopper events

When you put it all together, you might quickly realize how much you have planned for the holiday season – or you might see a gap that needs to be addressed. 

Once you have all plans pulled together, you can communicate with team members to help build the momentum. 

Final thoughts on the 2020 holiday season

The holiday season has always been an exciting time for retailers. But each year brings a new set of challenges. Businesses also have to work harder to adapt to the changing needs of their shoppers, and that is especially true during the holiday season. 

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to increase your sales, and the best part is, you can start preparing now. It also means 2020 can end on the best note yet, no matter how challenging this year has been for retailers. 

Sara Coleman (Content Contributor), October 22, 2020 Share this article

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