Make In-Season Holiday Changes to Drive Revenue

  |  November 27, 2012   |  Comments

The holiday shopping surge continues right up until the holiday and beyond, so keep working to make sure you're offering the right promotions to consumers that will make an impact on the bottom line.

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, it's time to take a moment to evaluate whether you need to make website changes to meet and exceed your goals.

To do this effectively you must focus on analytics to get a read on performance as it relates to your marketing acquisition budget, and merchandising plans to see what products are having the greatest impact. In only four days you now have some of the most valuable data on your customers that you'll get all year.

Not to worry if you aren't meeting all your goals. There are in-season changes you can make to drive additional revenues. But to make adjustments and reallocate resources in time to make an impact during the final holiday push, you need to act fast.

Merchandising Opportunities

During your evaluation of products that are selling well, you should also be mindful of the items that are being underexposed. A key decision that you'll have to make is whether or not to make a concerted effort to mitigate these underexposed products by driving sales of items that haven't moved.

When it comes to your recommendation messages, for example, it's critical to figure out the right mix of merchandising best sellers vs. additional items that haven't achieved the same high volume of sales. Although recommendations are mostly done by automated processes on the website, keep in mind that algorithms don't take into account real-world concerns such as overstocked products. Instead, supplement your merchandising algorithms with your team's knowledge of offline business pain points and opportunities.

One way to do this is through your holiday email marketing. In email messages, highlight top-performing products based on automated recommendations and incorporate manual recommendations to make sure you also represent underperforming products that you want to move.

Evaluate how much you're spending across marketing channels to determine if you can be budgeting your marketing dollars more wisely. If a channel is not performing up to par, adapt and move dollars to the channels that are performing better, for instance, shuffling some of the display advertising money to email.

Countdown to the End of the Season

The next step is to make sure you're in position to make the most of the last few weeks of the peak holiday season.

Here are some additional key things to remember:

  • Make sure you clearly communicate key shipping cutoff dates to customers. Use what you know about the shopper's location to deliver the right, customized message about shipping times to customers in the same zone as your fulfillment center and those across the country. You can also pre-load sequential messaging for a day-by-day creative update.
  • Create a plan to keep customers engaged as shipping cutoff dates pass. One simple idea is to highlight digital gift cards as a "Last Minute" opportunity that can be emailed instantaneously. Additionally, you can deliver a more robust multichannel strategy that drives traffic to your physical stores by encouraging shoppers to pick up last-minute purchases at their nearest retail location.
  • Communicate gift return policies clearly. It's critical that all of the information about returns, customer service hours, and payments are prominently displayed so customers have confidence that last-minute questions can be answered, or that a gift is easy for the recipient to return.

Opportunities like these will exist until the last minute if you put in the effort in to make sure you're constantly refining your plan based on data. There are always ways to win over new customers - and delight the ones you have - whether it's with a last-minute gift card or by encouraging them to come to the store.

The holiday shopping surge continues right up until the holiday and beyond, so keep working to make sure you're offering the right promotions to consumers that will make an impact on the bottom line.

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Nathan Richter

Nathan Richter advises top enterprise clients including Best Buy, QVC, Urban Outfitters, Sports Authority, and PETCO on website optimization. A veteran of digital marketing and online retailing, Richter has extensive hands-on experience helping enterprise clients implement successful multichannel marketing campaigns. Richter has directed online marketing and site optimization programs for David’s Bridal, QVC, The Franklin Mint, and dELiA's.

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