Online holiday sales are predicted to hit a record $83 billion this season and Cyber Monday is set to generate $3 billion in sales, according to the Adobe 2015 Digital Index Online Shopping Prediction for the upcoming holiday season.
That’s good news for online retailers, right? Yes and no — Adobe’s study also found that 76 percent of online holiday sales will be spent on 1 percent of product SKUs. Talked about items like Sony’s PlayStation 4, Minecraft and Halo 5 video games, and Apple’s perennially popular iPhones will continue to dominate the online eCommerce space.
This means two things:
- If your business sells these products, they’ll be in high demand and you need a clear edge for beating out the competition.
- If your business doesn’t sell these products, all is not lost — your company just needs to step up its holiday eCommerce marketing game.
Businesses that optimize their websites will be better positioned to gain a bigger slice of the holiday eCommerce pie. From better eCommerce plugins to strategically timed email promotions, get started now to maximize holiday sales.
Use the Right eCommerce Plugins
Yes, this may sound like Marketing 101, but it’s worth repeating. Your online sales are only as strong as your eCommerce platform. With everyone searching for the same product, poor site performance can be the kiss of death that sends customers straight to the competition.
WooCommerce remains one of the most popular free eCommerce plugins, thanks to its seamless integration with WordPress and endless flexibility with shipping and payment options, product reviews, storefront customization, and integration with popular extensions like Google Analytics. It now powers 30 percent of all online stores, more than any other plugin. But there’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to use it, of course.
Just be sure that the plugin you choose offers real-time inventory updates and a seamless check-out that makes the payment process as easy as possible for customers.
Optimize Holiday eCommerce for Mobile
Last holiday season, mobile device purchases jumped by 140 percent, reports MarketingLand, and this trend is expected to be even bigger this year.
“Mobile optimization and advertising is the name of the game moving forward,” says Bryan Loconto, the founder of MacDecals. “Already, we’ve seen a big spike in mobile sales and a positive ROI on mobile advertising, and we expect to experience even greater growth during the holiday season.”
For businesses that have not yet taken the mobile advertising leap, now is the time. At the very least, ensure your website is fully optimized for mobile viewing. Facebook recently introduced several important updates to Facebook Pages that make them even more mobile-friendly and a good default option as your business’s primary mobile page should your site not already be mobile-friendly.
With 75 percent of a mobile user’s time spent in four primary apps (Facebook is the top performer), according to ComScore, this is a fast, easy solution to your mobile optimization woes.
Correctly Time Email Holiday eCommerce Sales Promotions
Do you wake up every morning with seemingly hundreds of promotional emails in your inbox?
At 7 a.m., it’s easy to swipe left on your smartphone and delete all of these messages. Don’t be part of the mass morning email delete. Instead of sending a message at 6 a.m., send it between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Regardless of the season, these are the peak hours of online shopping. Why? These hours coincide with the time most of us are at our desks each morning. We’re easing into our work days, we’ve cleaned out our in-boxes, and we’re ready to do some quick online shopping before heading into meetings. Since these peak hours hold fast year-round, get started optimizing your email marketing campaigns now.
Use email A/B tests to consider comparing different calls-to-action, product image inclusion, email subject lines and flash sales. Be sure to segment your email campaigns for a higher conversion rate.
Even with a powerful eCommerce plugin, mobile optimization, and a strategically timed email marketing campaign, there’s always room for continued improvement.
Tablet Photo via Shutterstock
Check out our Business Gift Giving Guide for more tips about holiday trends.More in: Holidays