Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) is fast approaching. If last year was any indication, Cyber Monday will again be the biggest sales day of the year. Adobe reported that a quarter of the day’s sales happened at the tail end of Monday, from 7:00 to 11:00 pm PT, with consumers spending a whopping $12 million per minute between 8:00 and 9:00 pm. Experts surmise that Cyber Monday is bigger than Black Friday because FOMO (fear of missing out) reaches its peak crescendo.
Are you ready?
Hopefully you have your holiday eCommerce plans locked in and ready to go. However, no matter your status, there are a few things you can check on and do last-minute to more fully leverage Shopify Plus and its amazing ecosystem of apps that you may already have in place (or decide to add) to maximize your revenue potential this holiday season.
Automate order updates
The most important information customers want to know after they purchase is: where’s my order right now and when will it arrive? Give your customers confidence in their orders (and give your customer service a break) with automated updates on order status. Status updates can go a long way to providing customer satisfaction and a good customer experience, potentially encouraging customers to order from you again in the future.
Even if an order is delayed, a proactive update a few days ahead feels better to a customer than wondering where their order (or worse, someone’s gift) is on the supposed arrival date. There are tools that can streamline these communications for you, from providing email or SMS updates, to enabling a branded tracking page on your website that customers can check whenever they so desire.
Integrating one of these tools may also help your bottom line: tracking emails can be branded and include recommendations for complementary products, or to articles or user-generated content (UGC) that prompt additional sales.
If you have an SMS list, now’s the time to use it. SMS is a perfect communications channel for simple things like order updates or cart abandonment reminders, but also for exclusive offers, personalized recommendations, and feedback you can leverage for UGC or customer testimonials. There’s a reason why SMS marketing is trending: according to one survey, 93% of U.S. consumers open SMS messages, 81% have opened an SMS from a business, and 94% have clicked through to a link.
Test it out ASAP – try offering BFCM promotions early to see what resonates with consumers. Also, SMS is an opportunity to connect with customers and have a little fun. Express your brand’s personality by integrating photos, GIFs and emojis to add a little spark to your communications.
Be more environmentally friendly
Shipping is a huge contributor to pollution, from emissions to packaging waste. The environment is something many of your customers may care about. If you already have Shop Pay, you’re a few clicks away from providing carbon offsets (free to you!) for every order on your site. Every eCommerce purchase made through Shopify’s Shop app automatically funds tree restoration projects to help offset emissions. Take advantage and promote it.
Other solutions include apps that enable customers to add a small donation to their order to support environmental projects. And, some brands take it even further. Instead of offering discounts to attract holiday buyers, they do the opposite and raise prices and donate a dollar amount or percentage to a nonprofit organization.
Do effective cross-selling
Just like a person shopping in-store who may impulsively buy additional items because “they’re there,” online customers may be primed to add a little something extra to their cart if it’s presented in a way that adds value and doesn’t distract from their shopping experience. UX researchers at Baymard Institute highlight that brands have “cross-sell success” when recommendations have a clear relationship to what’s already in the cart and don’t impede customers from checking out.
A best practice for cross-selling, according to Baymard, is to recommend complementary products or promotional offers just after a product is added to cart, in the cart itself, or on the checkout page. Often you’ll see recommendations positioned as “customers also bought” or “complete your order with.”
Enabling cross-selling on your site for holiday is a key tactic to increase average order value (AOV) and revenue. If you already have a personalization app that automates recommendations based on customer purchase history, it’s a good idea to check to see that it’s functioning correctly, and the right recommendations are appearing on the right pages.
Tool to consider: Rebuy
Test different channels
Because of the heightened opportunity to attract new customers (lots of shoppers looking for gifts!), holiday is a great time to test new channels and measure conversions/revenue against cost. If you can, set aside some budget for marketing experimentation (that doesn’t require a lot of lead time), such as with different social media platforms, paid search, or SMS. Make sure you test for at least two weeks or until reaching statistical significance to understand what’s working and what’s not, but do be prepared to pull the plug and pivot quickly to a new test if you’re not seeing the desired results. It’s a best practice during testing to direct traffic to the same landing page to see which channel performs best with the same entry page. If you’re not testing and just running a campaign, it’s a good idea to consider unique landing pages for each separate channel campaign to help you more accurately track customer behavior with custom event tracking on each landing page.
Optimize site speed
Slow page loads kill conversion rates. If you want more customers to buy this holiday season, make sure your site is performing well (pages should load in under 2-3 seconds). Research shows that conversion rates drop 4.42% on average with each second of load time in the first five seconds. One way to optimize is to check what apps/scripts you have running on each page. Too many apps and you’ll have slower page loads. Do an audit and decide if all those apps are really needed or if you can streamline. Additionally, large images can also really slow things down, so scan for large images and work to optimize them.
Tool to consider: Yottaa
Optimize email automation
Are you using email automation to its fullest potential? Email automation is key for emailing many customers at just the right time with the right message, promotion, or information. Evaluate your current email state of affairs by mapping your customer journey and identifying key customer touchpoints along the way where behavior-triggered automated emails currently do or could help enhance the customer experience. Common touchpoints for email automation include welcome emails after someone creates an account, a discount for someone who abandons their cart, or a recipe or how-to that features a recently purchased product. Approximately seven out of 10 shopping carts are abandoned. Decreasing that percentage could have a huge impact on your holiday revenue.
If you have a subscription program, the holiday season can be a great opportunity to acquire more subscription customers through your ramped-up marketing campaigns. Acquiring more subscription customers also can be a good tactic to protect your business from taking a hit on returns, which can be between 11% to 28% of purchases made during the holiday season. If you already use ReCharge to support a customer portal, consider using this platform to also make it easy for existing subscribers to recommend a subscription or give one as a gift.
Tool to consider: ReCharge
May your (eCommerce) season be bright
This year’s holiday eCommerce season is looking like it will be bigger than ever, up 11-15% over last year, with U.S. sales as high as $218 billion. Don’t miss out! Even small changes like the ones suggested above can make a big difference to your holiday season success. Also, keep up the good work after BFCM; the National Retail Federation reported that more than two-thirds of consumers shop into the New Year and more than 80% of 18-24-year-olds said they planned to shop between Christmas and New Year’s. Want more eCommerce optimization ideas? Check out more past posts on our blog, or give us a shout.