Behind the scenes, the holiday shopping season is well underway.
Customers are researching, lists are being shared and grandma and grandpa like to start early.
So you’ll need to create a holiday plan long before the leaves start falling. Below are 8 tips to boost holiday sales and create a stress-free shopping experience for your customers.
8 Tips to Boost Holiday Sales:
1. Update return policies
Offer a longer return policy for gifts purchased in November through December. If you typically offer 30-day returns, your customer may be hesitant to buy too early, and once within that timeframe, she may have moved on. Keep it simple and consider accepting returns on gifts through January 15th.
2. Create a shipping calendar to display on your site
Show when their gifts will arrive (on time!) to eliminate uncertainty, which can lead to a quicker cart to purchase decision. I’d hate to find the perfect gift and then realize I missed the shop’s shipping cut off. Be sure to include your schedule as well as the official shipping dates – do you only package orders same day that are received before 11am? Will you be open and working 12/23? Communicate all those dates upfront to avoid confusion + uncertainty, aka the death of a sale. Common carrier’s schedules + last days to ship are linked below:
3. Create holiday gift guides
Gifts guides are fantastic marketing tools for several reasons (check out these tips for creating holiday gift guides). They’re helpful for customers who are stressed out over finding the perfect gift. In one study, 75% of people said they were stressed over gift giving, 75%!. They also found almost 70% of people trusted gift advice from someone who uses the product over associate recommendations; which makes the case for partnering with relevant bloggers for the holiday season and incorporating products into gift guides they create or working together on a guest post.
Gift ideas are easily shared, often searched for, and can help with obtaining organic search results through proper SEO. The number of searches for Christmas gift ideas starts to spike as early as September.
4. Be mobile responsive
This is becoming increasingly important as shopping related searches on mobile have increased more than 120% year over year. People want what they want, when they want, and how they want it. Repeat that 5x fast. Mobile simply can’t be ignored at the rate its grown, 45% of consumers will buy using smartphones or tablets which rose from only 30% last year. That’s HUGE growth. Is your site ready? Check here.
Not mobile responsive yet? Don’t freak out. While it’s an important area and is certainly only increasing, don’t go chasing after site updates which could lead to some possible glitches and site problems during a busy time of year. Talk to your platform service or site developer to understand what changes would need to be made and if can execute easily, go for it. Otherwise, put it on the business to do list for next year and focus on other areas where you can stand out.
5. Add specific gift boards to Pinterest
Similar to creating gift guides, create micro-guides on Pinterest by creating new boards with a specific gift-focus. Use the same tips discussed here to come up with your strategy and be sure to give the board name an SEO friendly title that users would search for…. hello point #6.
Read this post for creating gift guide that sell for you.
6. Create gift pages within your shop
Again, building on the two ideas above, create gift pages or subcategories within your shop that filter out your full selection and only display “Gift Ideas for…” Similar to a “New Arrivals” or “Best Selling” page, but this would highlight your top gift ideas. There are a lot of filter options you could choose from, by price, by gift recipient, by category, local made, handmade… I have a ton of gift guide ideas broken down here (beyond shameful plugging at this point. seriously, have you read it yet?)
7. Update product descriptions, Pinterest boards and pins with gift specific long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are those short phrases used when searching, typically when someone knows more specifically what they’re looking for.
So if you sell jewelry, “druzy stone gold pendant necklace” is more specific and helpful and therefore you may rank higher in search than for “druzy stone necklace” which has more pages to compete with. Here’s a good resource on long tail keywords: Long-Tail Keywords: A Better Way to Connect with Customers
Give your Pinterest boards short keyword rich titles and support those with pins that have great specific long tail keywords for each item (you can update your pin descriptions by hitting “edit” and re-writing the description).
For your product descriptions, find a few ways to naturally update your details with more specifics, such as a perfect “gift idea for mom” instead of a more general “christmas gift idea”.
8. Host giveaways or contests during the month of December
Get into the gift giving mood by um, gift giving!
Give a little something back to your loyal customers that are following along on social media or your site by hosting surprise specials each day or a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway. Plus they’ll generate some additional buzz for your biz!
Want to run a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway or sale? Read this post for a step by step guide to get set up and get started!
If you’re hosting a giveaway, an easy way to increase sales is to offer a similar item or package at a discount for those that didn’t win. So when you announce the winner, share a quick line at the end thanking everyone for participating and if they didn’t win they can still grab the item at a special discount for giveaway entrants only!
Gleam is a great place to start for giveaways as it promotes viral social sharing (where customers are incentivized to earn extra entries by promoting on social media, email, etc)
Shop Talk: Struggling to get (and stay!) ahead of the holiday season? Sign up here for early access to Plan.Create.Celebrate! once it’s available. Your seasonal marketing planner + BFF that will help guide you through each step!
Plan.Create.Celebrate has launched!
You can still grab your freebies above and then head over to check out the full holiday planner + marketing guide!