Keeping the Lights On...

12/11/2008 09:07:00 AM


What to do to Boost Year End Sales Figures and Close Out 2008 with a Bang

From Cyber Monday to December 5th, online spend is up 9% over 2007, according to comScore. With 50% of shoppers planning to purchase gifts throughout December1 and more key shopping days just around the corner, it’s important to not lose momentum as the holidays approach. And even as we begin wrapping up the holiday season, many new opportunities will arise that will carry on into the new year. To help you prepare for the home stretch and beyond, we've compiled some recommendations:

1. Will Santa arrive on time? Online shoppers will be interested in knowing whether their gifts will arrive on time so set the correct expectations in your creatives.

  • Call out the last ship-in-time-for-Christmas date in your creatives. Have new promotional creatives ready to be switched on after this deadline.

  • Promote expedited shipping options that guarantee Christmas delivery and when this option ends (i.e. Order by 12/23 for guaranteed Christmas Delivery!)

  • If your business can automatically upgrade customers to expedited shipping for free, call this out; it is a great way to earn goodwill and leave a lasting memory of excellent customer service

  • If its not possible to upgrade everyone, be selective in how you offer this incentive: for example, do so for shoppers that use your private label credit card, for specific order sizes (i.e. Orders of $100 or more), for a very limited time (i.e. 3 days only), or for a discounted rate (i.e. 2-day shipping for only $5)

2. Promote in-store pick-up: If you offer buy online and pick-up in-store options, consider using geographic targeting to promote products and product categories in the regions where selection is ready.

3. Promote the multi-channel experience: If you are a multichannel merchant, consider using your online ads to invite shoppers to visit your physical store locations. After shipping deadlines have passed, last minute shoppers will be interested in store locator pages that feature your business address, extended store hours, and driving directions -- make sure these are easy to locate on your website.

4. Budget Within Your Means: If you’re going to be out of the office for a few days, make sure to set your Adwords spend at a comfortable level. Leave your daily budgets and bids at a level that will allow you to be competitive and allow for plenty of shoppers to see your ads.

5. Multiple Holidays, Multiple Opportunities: Santa isn’t the only gift giver this holiday season. Don’t forget to build campaigns around other key holidays, such as Hanukkah (Dec 22-29) and Kwanza (Dec 26 - Jan 1). Search interest in Hanukkah generally upticks 2 weeks prior to the start (Dec 5 in 2007) and search interest in Kwanza upticks a month before the holiday.

6. Post-Holiday Sales: Roughly 10% of sales during the November-December holiday season happen the week after Christmas.2 If you’re closing out inventory or having a year-end sale, ensure that your ad texts reflect this. You can also expand your advertising efforts by placement targeting ads on consumer-tips sites in the Google Content Network or by driving traffic to your brick-and-mortar store with Local Business Ads.

7. Gift Card Redemption: Last year 42% of consumers planned to redeem their holiday gift cards after January,3 and every year many of those gift cards simply go unused or unredeemed.4 Make sure every gift card dollar counts: Have a post-holiday campaign ready to target gift card receivers; and for those who don't sell gift cards, use your ad creatives to target the many consumers who get non-store-specific gift cards backed by major credit card companies (i.e. "We accept all major credit cards.").

8. Reach the Resolutionaries: Every year millions of Americans make New Year's resolutions. The most popular resolutions revolve around decreasing debt, losing weight, developing a healthy habit, spending time with family, and getting organized.5 If you have products that relate to these resolutions, you might consider building a campaign around these products.

9. Think Small, Think Big: Historically search interest for occasions like prom, wedding planning and the presidential inauguration increases significantly in late December and January. Even if your niche isn't prom, wedding, or politics, think of any complementary products that you do sell (i.e. flowers, jewelry, home furnishings, party favors or even gourmet food) that can benefit from this potential traffic and start getting creative with your ad texts.

1. Google Consumers Intentions Survey, November 2008.
2. National Retail Federation as cited on Reuters, Sorting Through Black Friday Data, December 2, 2008.
3. Jupiter Research, Gift Card Sales, May 31, 2008.
4. National Retail Federation, Top 10 Tips for Buying Gift Cards, November 12, 2007.
5. Franklin Covey, New Year's Resolutions Survey 2008.


Darko said...

Useful and helpful and useful to finally hehe no matter where I enjoy reading and application and it works, functions.

James said...

Great post with wonderful suggestions to ensure a positive customer experience! Thanks!