From August onwards, the Williams Commerce marketing team are full steam ahead helping our clients plan their strategies to ensure they are well prepared and ready to take advantage of the Christmas season.

Some interesting facts from Hitwise’s July 2016 Planning Report suggest that Black Friday is the new Boxing Day. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday now firmly on the Christmas calendar and the two biggest shopping days of the year, they have surpassed Boxing Day in sales. Furthermore, Boxing Day doesn’t register in the top 10 biggest online shopping days anymore.  This means, retailers now need to start planning earlier and if participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, be prepared to offer competitive deals and exciting sales to tempt shoppers, but keeping a mind to profit erosion.

Part of our collaborative planning for Christmas with our customers involves looking at historical sales data, product trends to identify what products will be hot Christmas sellers and setting KPIs.  Choosing a balanced marketing mix across paid search, email marketing and social media marketing and agreeing on key product focuses, levels of investment is also a key part of the process. And we are of course busy planning our AdWords strategy with our clients to ensure we can build on last year’s sales, plan in product campaigns and look at new opportunity areas.

With mobile set to play its most important role ever this Christmas, in preparation we undertake research to uncover additional mobile opportunities for our clients.  Small tweaks to a website’s responsive design on mobile can enhance the shopper’s browsing and buying experience which can thus help encourage conversation rate uplifts from mobile.

Hitwise identified some tips to take advantage of

We’ve distilled them into a summary offering our own experiences and insights from our clients.

  1. When planning your Christmas email campaigns, retailers began seasonal email campaigns the week of Black Friday. The weekend of 10th December may also prove to be a lucrative weekend to target via emails.  When it comes to emails though, one size certainly doesn’t fit all anymore, and we’ve been working collaboratively with our clients to implement much more sophisticated email marketing campaigns relying on clever segmentation and personalisation to deliver the right message and call to action to the right person.  We’ve seen that some businesses who continue to deliver one generic email campaign per month are experiencing high unsubscribe rates and very poor click through rates.  Providers like Dot Mailer and Windsor Circle to name a few are helping online retailers deliver more sophisticated, personalised email campaigns which are delivering fantastic return on investment.
  1. Consumers are increasingly seeking out Gift Guides with searches for the keyword ‘Gift Guides’ being 43% higher in 2015 than what they were in 2014 and Hitwise have predicted they will be even bigger this year. Gift Guide searches begin to rise as early as the first week of November, reaching their full peak the week commencing 5th  Part of our outreach campaigns is to position our client’s products in gift guides across newspapers, bloggers and social influencers.
  1. If you are a retailer operating both a high street store and an online store and you’re not offering click and collect, it may definitely be something to consider. Hitwise report searches for click and collect during December 2015 were up 17% compared to the year before.  Shoppers love the convenience of click and collect, and particularly when there’s a danger of their last minute online orders not being delivered on-time.  The Williams Commerce team are implementing a number of variants on click and collect for our Magento clients including; order online and reserve in stock, check stock levels in store and click and collect.
  1. Delivery is the new battleground online. Offering a range of delivery options from guaranteed next day, Saturday delivery, weekend delivery, morning delivery and even scheduled deliveries are fantastic, but online shoppers now also want to be more in control over when their delivery will arrive. Hitwise reported searches for package tracking peaked on the 22nd December 2015 as frantic shoppers are trying to track down their deliveries to find out if they will arrive on time. A sure fire way to build loyalty is to provide a fantastic service for your customers when it comes to tracking parcels and the Magento platform offers easy connection to your preferred couriers to offer a tracked service.
  1. Gift cards is another way to entice your shoppers and it’s particularly pertinent for those last minute Christmas shoppers. Hitwise share that searches for ‘gift card/gift vouchers’ peaked on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! And on Christmas Day itself there is a surge in activity to check the balance on the gift card, as well as trade, swap and exchange cards. Wow!
  1. With social media expected to grow from its 2014 levels to 8% of traffic referrals to retail websites, adding the BUY NOW button can help retailers take better advantage of the social media activity they are planning to run this year.
  1. Some really interesting stats on mobile, there’s a number of search topics that are more likely to be conducted on mobile. Can you guess what they are? 77% of retail searches included SALE, 82% Opening Times, 88% Engagement Rings (!), 77% Price Match, 84% Reviews and 83% Finance. The top tip is for marketers to ensure they optimise their content around these themes as a top priority in the run up to Christmas.

Want to know what might be the Top trending products for Christmas 2016?

  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Wireless Headphones and speakers.
  • Gaming consoles like PS4 and Xbox One
  • Portable batteries to stay connected 24/7
  • Anything Pokemon!
  • Smart Home Devices, internet connect thermostats, light bulbs, cameras and technology leading appliances.
  • Personalised gifts, continuing to be very popular.

If you sell any of these types of products, optimizing for them early on might help!

If you want to get a head start on creating your marketing strategy for this year’s festive season contact our team of digital marketing experts today on 0116 326 1116.