The holiday shopping season is one of the most profitable times of the year for ecommerce businesses. Most online retailers exceedingly meet their main ecommerce KPIs, and smaller brands can generate profitable sums against their big box store competitors.
The 2021 holiday shopping season was a gift to ecommerce retailers. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, from November 1 to Cyber Monday on November 29, US consumers spent $109.8 billion online, up 11.9% from 2020. Adobe also found 22 days in November 2021 exceeded $3 billion in online spending compared to only 9 days hitting that number the same month in 2020.
Those figures are even more notable considering the supply chain issues retailers everywhere are facing and the fact many shoppers started their gift shopping in October.
But now that the wrapping paper has been cleaned up and holiday decorations put away, how do ecommerce retailers keep the momentum going in January and beyond?
“On average, January revenue is usually predicted to be 20% to 65% lower versus December,” says Anh Vu-Lieberman, Vice President for ecommerce at Nogin. However, savvy brands can plan for this traditionally softer sales period (which can last until the third or fourth week of January) and use this time to do a brand reset while refocusing for the coming year.
Vu-Lieberman discusses some of the strategies ecommerce retailers can use to boost their bottom lines.
1. Get Dialed in to Mobile
“As smartphones keep evolving and improving, all ecommerce retailers have to be mobile-first,” Vu-Lieberman says. In fact, research shows smartphones accounted for 44% of all online sales on Black Friday in 2021, up 10.6% from 2020 Black Friday shopping. Delivering positive customer experiences starts with delivering consistent omni-channel tactics. Mobile is increasingly becoming a more and more popular shopping medium for customers. It’s crucial businesses focus on mobile responsive web design to convert mobile shoppers through their ecommerce marketing funnel.
2. Extend End-of-Year Sales
The calendar may have already flipped to 2022, but ecommerce retailers who want to drive customers and conversions are extending into their traditional year closeout sales in January. Sale-on-sale promotions can be a great strategy to move out inventory and make way for new collections that launch in mid-January.
Check out our top three strategies to increase conversions and the best pricing tactics to utilize on your site:
3. Choose Words Carefully
Certain words are triggers for ecommerce shoppers, such as “favorite” or “best seller.” “If you don’t know a brand and it’s your first time going to the site, the word ‘best seller’ evokes an emotion,” Vu-Lieberman says. “If you didn’t have that, you wouldn’t know what the brand is about. It also helps with building out purchase affirmation.”
Another recommended strategy to utilize in marketing campaigns to message your Best Sellers is to feature highly-rated products or most-loved products, whether on your website or social. Make sure to set up your marketing analytics and perform A/B tests to see which product listing phrases result in the most sales.
4. Add Installment Plan Options
Retailers offering installment payment plans such as Afterpay and Klarna target online shoppers looking for a discount and customers who don’t mind paying for expensive items out of their normal price range. Surprisingly, it’s not just millennials on limited budgets who find installment plans attractive; Vu-Lieberman says one of the brands she works with discovered the average age of its Afterpay customers was 44. “Even though the item is full price, it will be more attractive advertising it on Facebook or paid search as ‘Take this home for $39.’ People focus on that installment number rather than the full number.”
5. Don’t Overlook the Present for the Future
While fashion retailers prep for new collection launches in January, it may be easy to forget that ecommerce trends more towards a buy now, wear now attitude. Especially with the cold weather in most parts of the country, customers may not have as much interest in summery resort wear that will sit in their closet for a few months, compared to a pair of boots they will use immediately.
Vu-Lieberman says brands will often take a new year, new you approach. For example, promotions geared towards New Year’s resolutions can focus on athletic wear, or retailers can craft campaigns for new looks for the office. Luxury ecommerce brands can also try to leverage celebrity collaborations to help support their brand image.
6. Build a Strong Customer Base
Brands need to strike that fine balance between catering to loyal VIPs and bringing in new customers. That can take time and money—Vu-Lieberman says brands can spend up to 25% of projected revenue on advertising—but it’s a substantial investment in the long run. To make it pay off, ensure your shoppers are receiving a positive user experience when visiting your site all the way through order fulfillment.
So how are you going to keep the momentum going throughout the year?