Black Friday has passed, and Christmas is amongst us. E-commerce retailers are going to be busier than ever with sales to reach an estimated $884.50 billion this Christmas. Shoppers are going to continue purchasing vast amounts of products right up until the big day. It is nothing new that the festive period is a major opportunity for the e-commerce sector, but what if your offerings do not conventionally correspond with Christmas?
There are many e-commerce retailers whose offerings would normally fail to make it onto a Christmas list, which means many businesses will be missing out on a great festive retailing opportunity. This loss is because many of these products are categorically difficult to buy for others due to the niche, personal variations associated with such goods.
Therefore, the festive period can, unfortunately, be a hindrance to such businesses if they do not take a strategic approach to address the loss of consumer engagement with less Christmas orientated goods. With mass retail consumption throughout the festive months, shoppers become price sensitive going into the new year. What efforts can businesses that don’t conventionally fit the Christmas mold take to maximize upon this retail opportunity?
Identifying Opportunities and Understanding Your Market
Before diving into a new e-commerce strategy, it is important to understand your particular market and the potential opportunities that can be targeted throughout the festive period. All e-commerce websites are unique, with each operational sector having differing factors and variables that make up their particular market. This uniqueness makes it important to understand the individual needs of your customers along with the impeding factors that are causing a loss of engagement with your business throughout the festive period.
By reviewing available resources, you will be able to take a more informed approach to outlining attainable objectives, opportunities, and end goals. Taking this approach will improve your strategic ability to cater to both your customers’ demands and business needs.
For e-commerce businesses, the bottom line goal is to maximize sales to generate profit. However, you might want to improve your company’s industry presence or your customer loyalty. Below, I have outlined three possible opportunities to target as an e-commerce retailer who underperforms throughout the festive period:
- Sales – With the festive period being the home of the trigger-happy customer, one of the major short-term opportunities is sales. Perhaps you want to be focusing your efforts on maximizing sales.
- Improving Customer Loyalty – Repeat purchases from customers is highly likely during the festive period. Consumers who have already experienced your service and offerings may be inclined to repeat purchase from you out of both confidence and trust. How can you convert one-off customers into loyal customers?
- Brand Awareness – Christmas is very much a social retailing event, which means that there is an opportunity to improve more than just sales. If you are looking to improve your company profile or business brand awareness, Christmas is the perfect time to do so.
With target opportunities outlined for your e-commerce business, you will now have a more informed idea as to what resources you have available to successfully execute your strategy along with an informed understanding of the attainable opportunities within your businesses reach.
Embracing Christmas Content
A common approach to associating your business with the festive season is to present Christmas-orientated content directly to the customers on your site. Not only will this visualize your acknowledged participation with Christmas, but it will also give customers an immediate seasonal context to associate your product offerings with the festive season.
Airsoft guns are either the furthest thing away from a conventional Christmas gift or too complicated to buy for an airsoft enthusiast due to the amount of different gun variations available. As a result, Just-Airsoft Guns addresses this issue with a very direct approach. Its e-commerce store’s home page unconventionally juxtaposes both Christmas and airsoft guns in a way that works for it! Having bold and striking imagery will inform customers of the context in which these products can be purchased. Even if airsoft guns may be a specialist product, customers can acceptably perceive them as a potential Christmas offering through their e-commerce site. This perception will ease shoppers into perceiving airsoft products as being viable Christmas gifts from the moment they arrive on the website.
Fishing is another example of an activity where customers purchase associated products as a result of personal preference. Immediately, this issue poses obvious difficulties for Christmas shoppers. Glasgow Angling Centre tackles such shopping obstacles through its Christmas Gift Ideas landing page. This page not only allows shoppers to comfortably browse recommended products (from the niche world of fishing), but it also presents shoppers with a space that aids the Christmas shopping process by categorizing gift ideas by their particular function.
The first four product categories are fishing orientated but not directly related to the activity itself. These categories are great for shoppers because people with little knowledge of the sport are more likely to purchase fishing goods that are at the less function/purpose heavy end of the spectrum. Primarily offering products broadly associated with the sport is a great tactic to help customers feel comfortable when browsing their potential purchases.
Embracing the Christmas landing page strategy for your e-commerce store will aid customers through the shopping journey without the process feeling too daunting. Segmenting different product categories (starting with the most approachable products) is a great user experience factor giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase goods from a “difficult” shopping sector. This tactic will allow you to cater content to both self-buyers and gift shoppers this Christmas, which will improve your potential customer base.
Having a Christmas page that caters to customers who are unfamiliar with a website’s offerings is a great gain for such e-commerce retailers to maximize their Christmas conversion potential. But what if customers cannot purchase your main product offerings simply at the click of a button? Not all e-commerce retailer products are “quick buys” for shoppers. You can overcome this obstacle by focusing your efforts on promoting your available-to-quickly-purchase products throughout the festive period.
If customers are not purchasing your higher ticket items throughout Christmas, you can still treat this as a long-term opportunity. To gain consumer trust, you must get customers to experience your service and brand. If customers are satisfied with the products and service you offer, they may be more inclined to re-purchase higher ticket items through you because of the previous positive experience they have affiliated with your e-commerce store.
Bell Tent Boutique addresses this exact issue by presenting customers with luxury camping accessories on its Christmas Glamper gifts page. This page gives customers the opportunity to purchase lower priced items from Bell Tent through Christmas. However, what’s really important to recognize with this strategy is that customers will be buying into the brand.
Glamping tents can be priced high and need to translate both reassurance and trust before purchase, which means that previous customers who may be looking to purchase a glamping tent will be aware of Bell Tent’s products and services with first-hand experience.
Taking this approach will not only allow you to convert more sales over the festive period, but it can also be a great way of converting customers to re-automate purchases going into the new year.
Targeting Personal Purchases
The festive period is supposed to be all about giving, but the reality is that people enjoy receiving their desired items throughout the Christmas period, which results in shoppers opting to purchase goods for themselves as well as for others. Although the original incentive of Black Friday was to buy discounted goods for others, an estimated 40% of sales in 2015 were personal purchases. This statistic emphasizes the idea of people wanting reassurance that they will be receiving their desired goods as opposed to dwelling on potentially not receiving the product they had in mind.
For e-commerce retailers offering products that are not conventionally Christmas orientated, the personal purchaser is a key segment to target. Products not naturally associated with Christmas offerings tend to be categorized within a very niche market or sector with a very specific or particular audience. Therefore, marketing efforts can be optimized to target the customers who enjoy self-shopping throughout the festive period.
Vapes are not a conventional product people buy for others during Christmas. However, the company can still make sales by targeting and converting shoppers looking to make personal purchases.
It is important for e-commerce sites that offer these kinds of products not to get lost in the saturation of Christmas offerings. Vapouriz has embraced the festive season by encouraging vapers to contribute user-generated content through social media. The company created the hashtag #SantaVapeBeard, which customers must use to enter into its Christmas competition. This tactic is a great way to encourage potential and converted customers to engage and interact with your brand without even having to facilitate a purchase!
Adopting a seasonal competition approach can be a great way to improve brand awareness. Online competitions do not directly tell customers to make a purchase, but they engage customers and raise awareness of the brand throughout the festive period. This strategy is a perfect way to target an improvement in brand awareness while growing your potential customer base and loyalty going into the new year.
Dulux has incorporated Christmas into its strategy. It has also opted for the competition style involvement with Christmas. As a paint manufacturer, its products are not exactly Christmas gift material. Not only is the product seen as a home decorating essential, but paint is also something that has to match people’s specific and demanding personal tastes. With the rise of consumer purchases intended to be gifts for others over Christmas, such retailers might see a decline in sales and customer engagement.
Deconstructing the wider picture of Christmas and finding a way to associate your products with the festive season is key. This strategy will grant your brand the ability to maintain a stronger identity during the festive period.
To enter the Weathershield Christmas Competition, people have to upload images of their front doors via social media. Again, this strategy allows current customers and non-customers to participate by showing off their Christmas preparation skills amongst their peers while creating positive user-generated content for Dulux. Running such campaigns may not directly correlate with an attempt to improve sales over the Christmas period, but it is affirming its brand awareness and presence going into the new year.
With the passing of Christmas and the beginning of the new year, consumers will be a lot more price sensitive, which means that home maintenance products (such as Dulux paint) may be more sought after than material consumer goods. This fact allows Dulux to target the personal purchase segment through a longer-term digital strategy successfully.
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