It is a well known fact that the holidays are prime time for online retailers. A good holiday season can be the difference between what turns a company from being in the red to being in the green. The biggest, most obvious, and anticipated holiday is Christmas, which typically yields the highest traffic and sales; especially for an ecommerce website.
Unfortunately, a common mistake many online retailers continue to make is not capitalizing on the many other holidays that can also drive increased, qualified visitors and (ultimately) sales. It is important to remember that consumers are always looking for a deal and chances are… your competition is probably doing a good job of enticing them with holiday offers. As a friendly reminder, below are the holidays/seasons by month that should not be forgotten and can be taken advantage of in your pay per click initiatives. Some are religious holidays, others are simply the start of a new season, or perhaps a holiday you would never have even thought about, much less utilized to drive traffic to your website. Be creative with your ad copy, keywords and incentives; you just might be pleasantly surprised with the results!
January: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day
February: Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday
March: Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Begins
April: April Fool’s Day, Passover, Good Friday, Easter
May: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day
June: Flag Day, Father’s Day, Summer begins
July: Independence Day
September: Labor Day, Autumn begins, Rosh Hashanah
October: Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Halloween,
November: All Saint’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving
December: Hanukkah, Winter begins, Christmas, Kwanzaa
I highly recommended that you start planning your marketing calendar a few months before each holiday to ensure that you will be all set with whichever promotion you choose to offer, as well as have plenty of inventory available. Happy Holidays!
This holiday season the keyword is incentives. Most consumers aren’t frivolously spending their money; they’re cutting back and searching for the best deals. If you want to be the retailer that they choose, you’d better consider incentives. This statement might sound forward, however the statistics don’t lie. Let’s look at some incentives that consumers are searching for before making a purchase.
Coupons are a big hit and they are becoming more popular. According to comScore, a global internet information provider, 62% of consumers are using coupons to help cut back on their shopping expenses. A survey by eMarketer, a market research company, shows that 59% of consumers will be using coupons to decrease their shopping expenses. Surprisingly enough, wealthy consumers, those that make $100,000 plus a year are turning to coupons. According to a survey by comScore, coupon site visits by the wealthy increased by 37% compared to this same period last year. Here’s a hint, if you have an ecommerce site, coupons are a definite plus and consumers will be looking for you.
Consumers are also motivated by free shipping. If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it twice, “If a site doesn’t offer free shipping, I’ll find a site that does.” If you don’t believe me check the statistics. According to a survey by comScore, 72% of consumers said, “If an online retailer charged them for shipping they would search for an online retailer that offered free shipping.” Now more than ever before consumers are becoming more savvy. If a competitor is offering the same product with free shipping, I’d bet money that you’re going to lose the sale if you’re not offering the same.
Sales and deals are being sought out by consumers. Everyone loves a discount. According to a survey by e-Marketer, 40% of consumers will be looking for sales and 24% will be looking for deals in order to lower their shopping expenses. Why do you think Black Friday is such a busy shopping day, not to mention Cyber Monday which follows a few days later?
Incentives are the key this year. More and more consumers are comparison shopping and not just buying items on the first site they see. Comparison shopping sites are seeing an increase in traffic and more competitors are allocating their advertising budget towards online spending. If a retailer wants to be competitive this year, they need to have an incentive, even if it’s not coupons, free shipping or big sales, there needs to be an offer that tells the consumer they are getting the best deals on a particular site.
So what if it’s only October? Before you know it, everyone will be in holiday shopping mode and in today’s economy everyone is looking for a good deal. It is wise for online retailers to start taking advantage of those early bird holiday shoppers now; don’t wait. As the holiday season draws near, the competition will increase and as a result, so will the costs to advertise. There are a variety of ways online retailers can work to increase holiday sales and here are just a few:
Utilize Holiday Keywords and Ad Copy – This will make your ads stand out. Also utilize captivating calls to action; anything that will make a shopper click on your ad rather than your competitors’.
Create Holiday Themed Landing Pages — Make it easy for your shoppers; send them directly to your holiday page.
Increase your budgets to allow for more visitors – Traffic volume will likely spike as we approach the holidays, therefore you will want to raise your budget to ensure that your ads stay active.
Bid more aggressively — You will want to be seen as close to the top of the page as possible!
Expand your keyword menu — Be sure to focus on your industry’s high ROI/high volume keywords. As an advertiser, you don’t want to miss out on a potential sale because you did not cover all of your bases.
Offer Online Coupons and Discounts – Entice your shoppers by offering “online only” specials, coupons, discounts on future purchases, repeat buyer/loyalty savings, etc.
Give a Gift with Purchase – Who doesn’t like getting something for free?
Offer Free Shipping — A Forrester Research survey showed that consumers are more likely to shop online at stores that offer free shipping.
Provide Free Gift Wrap — Shoppers love the convenience and time saved by having their gift wrapped! Last minute shoppers will especially appreciate this.
Be sure to include of the above services and features in your ad copy!