Chapter 1: What’s Ahead for the Holiday Shopping Season?
This chapter focuses on findings from last year and forecasts for the upcoming holiday season. You’ll learn some surprising insights on social media and how mobile commerce is playing a pivotal role for busy shoppers.
Many places in the U.S. haven’t yet had their first frost, and we’re already talking about the holidays! As much as consumers begrudge the shopping season coming earlier and earlier every year – retailers and online sellers know the truth…
The Earlier You Start, The Earlier You Capture Front-of-Mind Share
This lucrative front-of-mind “currency” stays with people throughout the holiday shopping season, from brainstorming gift ideas to finding the *perfect* item that’s sure to make any recipient overflow with gratitude. It’s a marketing strategy that pays dividends for both the consumer and the brand – and the race is on to be the first to capture the lion’s share of that awareness.
Social Gets Shelved in Favor of Mobile Commerce
According to a joint study conducted by the E-Tailing group and personalization service Baynote, Inc., 60% of retailers expected their holiday sales to grow more than 10% this year. Unlike in previous years, 53% of those surveyed believed that mobile would pay a significant role in their holiday sales.
But what was surprising about this study is that over 80% of retailers surveyed felt that social media would play little to no role in holiday sales, with over 60% only making limited investments in social media.
Not surprisingly, over 75% are making adjustments and improvements to their site search, as well as their e-commerce platform – showing that tried and true is trumping likes and shares this holiday season.
The big focus is on mobile, with eMarketer predicting a 16% projected increase in m-commerce, translating to over $40 billion of the estimated $260+ billion to be spent over the holidays. Of all the mobile-enabled devices on the market, most bets are on tablets, which account for 62.5% of m-commerce sales, but is expected to reach 73% by 2017.
If you already have a mobile website, congratulations! You’re ready to profit from this trend. If not, you need a fast and easy way to make your website easily accessible from any device. A few options:
- WPtouch Pro – This easy-to-install plugin by BraveNewCode converts your website into a branded mobile site. There is a free option, but it only displays your home page and blog. For a fully functioning mobile site, go pro.
- Responsive Select Menu – Navigation can be visually challenging on a mobile device. This plugin converts WordPress menus into responsive select boxes, so they take up less room on the page.
What does all this mean for online retailers and SaaS providers?
It means you’d better start decking the digital halls – customers are armed with more information, deals and offers than ever, and they’re looking for reasons to choose you over your competitors.
Short on time and your design team is busy with other work? No problem – there are a variety of themes, designs and Photoshop files that can act as a starting point for your holiday landing pages and emails:
- Auspicious Christmas Gifts – Mailchimp and Interspire-ready email and HTML templates with various modules and layout options.
- Christmas Landing Page Template – HTML and CSS3 landing page with a built-in e-card sender
- Christmas Season Landing Page – A snowy design with several call-to-action buttons – great for apps or digital products.
- Holiday-Themed OpenCart Template – Supports several versions of the popular OpenCart shopping cart ecommerce package
- Seasons Greetings Email Postcard – A simple, easy-to-use email newsletter template to get customers into the spirit of the season
- Gift Box Email Template – Several layouts for holiday and New Year email newsletters or special offers
That should get you started with your holiday marketing. Now let’s look at ways to get shoppers in the holiday spirit…
In the Chapter 2, we’ll show you simple ways to make sure you’re top of mind this holiday season: creating feelings of joy, warmth, and the urge to find that perfect gift.
Consider this guide your holiday e-commerce “battle plan,” a start-to-finish walkthrough that will help you get more sales, higher conversions and more profits well into the holiday season – and beyond!