According to Kiplinger’s most recent economic forecast, 2019 holiday sales are on track to outpace last year’s numbers. The market has already seen a few months of robust retail sales so far, which indicates that consumers this year are feeling comfortable and confident with their money. In-store sales are projected to grow by 2% in December 2019, and eCommerce sales are estimated to experience another double-digit year with 14% growth.
At this point in the year, you may be scrambling to launch last-minute initiatives in an effort to boost holiday sales even more for the 2019 season—and you’re looking for tips that go far beyond theming your social media accounts, lowering prices, or offering free shipping. It’s time to actually get creative. In order to significantly boost sales in a market with the savviest customers we’ve seen yet, your holiday strategy needs to be current, relevant, and ambitious.
10 High-Impact Tips to Boost Holiday Sales in 2019
- Optimize your UX. The online experience customers have with your brand matters more now than ever before—and Google estimates that even a one-second improvement in site speed can impact up to 20% of conversions. If you act quickly, you have time to get both your desktop and mobile site optimized for even better UX. Make the switch to HTTPS if you haven’t already. Streamline your nav bar. Improve your mobile site search accessibility. Even small factors like these can influence consumer purchasing decisions and result in more conversions.
- Try “buy online pickup in store.” The BOPIS strategy, when applied correctly, can actually be a great alternative to free shipping that benefits both retailers and customers alike. The logistics of turning storefronts into distribution centers can be costly, but 86% of retailers estimate that BOPIS will soon be the primary distribution mode for consumers in the very near future. It’s quick, cheap, and oh-so-convenient. Plus, most pickup trips actually involve additional in-store purchases—which can effectively double sales volume on a small scale.
- Employ personalized email marketing. The holidays are the opportune time to A/B test your best email cadences and optimize your open rates for maximum visibility. Email marketing is one of the best ways to reactivate buyers who may have perused your site in the past or utilized your loyalty app during last year’s Black Friday sale. Personalize these email cadences as much as possible, perhaps presenting a carousel of items similar to those they’ve already purchased. A personal, limited time coupon code is another sweetener that drives customers into action.
- Invest in influencers. Depending on your target demographic, influencer marketing might be your secret weapon this holiday season. YouTube and Instagram influencers have the potential to drive thousands of conversions from a single post. And, at this time of year, customers are actively seeking out people who will recommend items to purchase for their loved ones. Gift giving is stressful for some, but influencer marketing makes the decision so much easier for the consumer and benefits your company ten times over.
- Capitalize on urgency. Every company from your local donut shop to Neiman Marcus will be launching “hurry in,” “don’t wait,” and “buy now” slogans in the next three months. Today’s customers are completely overwhelmed with urgent messaging. Rather than following suit, take a more nuanced approach and capitalize on the holiday rush in a far more subtle way. Try hosting flash sales or social media giveaways. Celebrate your shipping cut-off date almost like another holiday. Your bottom line will benefit from creating a sense of urgency, and this messaging will certainly stand out from the crowd.
- Shore up your return policy. A research study from the University of Texas at Dallas found that more lenient return policies do, in fact, increase returns. However, they also increase overall sales. A long-term return policy, with or without receipt, combined with in-store return options, can be a breath of fresh air for many gift-givers this year. Revamping your return policy and advertising it in email marketing and on your website might be just the thing you need to attract buyers who might otherwise think twice before purchasing from your brand.
- Partner with a charity. Companies should do their due diligence and be involved in community outreach and benefit programs year-round—not just around the holidays. But November and December are great months to highlight the initiatives you’re already taking in order to show the human side of your business. In the midst of so much consumerism, it can be refreshing to see major retailers launching fundraisers or matching donations for a worthwhile cause. This is one way to utilize the holiday season to build brand affinity and not just sales.
- Strategize for abandoned carts. Cart abandonment is a complicated problem for online and multi-channel retailers that gets exacerbated during the holiday season. There’s no quick way to approach this issue, but you could start by ironing out any kinks in your checkout procedure. Streamline the purchasing process and consider ditching or repurposing the old “make an account” lure. Ensure cart and order totals are clearly displayed on every page of checkout. And consider setting up an automatic email cadence with your support team to encourage lurkers to return and make a purchase. Including a small coupon code can often be enough to sweeten the deal and influence that final action step.
- Create shareable content. The best time to capitalize on content marketing—including video, social media, and longform thought leadership—is long before the holidays begin. It takes time for your content to circulate, to be fully indexed, and to start showing up on the first page of search results. Take this opportunity to design shareable gift guides or to film new video commercials that are perfectly primed for distribution, and make sure every piece of content comes with a clear call to action. The more high-quality content you publish, the better your chances are at increasing traffic to your site and generating viable leads.
- Consider discounts carefully. In an effort to get into the holiday spirit, we’re offering this bonus tip: don’t think you have to rely on sales and lowered prices to increase your revenue during the 2019 holiday season. Brand-wide discounts might be tempting for some consumers, but stores tend to survive plenty well without them during the holiday rush. Try relying on loyalty programs, email list rewards, or innovative shopping apps, like Shopkick, to drive buzz around your stores this holiday season. You’ll preserve a higher reputation for your company as a whole, while possibly collecting even more impressions than you would with a massive holiday sale.
‘Tis The Season to Get Strategic With Marketing Initiatives
Brick-and-mortar stores have faced their share of challenges in the past few years. As the Kiplinger report also noted, mall-specific retail stores continue to close at an alarming rate. Retailers are therefore highly invested in strategies like these, which take a new, multi-channel approach to retail.
Still, the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to test new initiatives.
It’s not expected for any company to implement all of these tips in one year. Still, the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to test new initiatives. You’re more likely to see a serious bump in revenue as a result, which makes for an instant return on your investment. If even one of these tips helps increase revenue during this crucial time of year, it should be considered a (well-strategized) holiday miracle.
Shopkick is an innovative shopping app that helps retailers across the United States increase traffic and develop repeat business from their most valuable customers. Our partners use Shopkick to bridge the multi-channel gap and encourage increased sales both on and offline. Contact us to learn how to use Shopkick alongside your other marketing initiatives to boost holiday sales and drive growth.
Image courtesy of Syda Productions