Retail & EcommerceWeb Acquisition

6 Ways to Make the Most of Peak Holiday Season Web Traffic

By November 14, 2019 No Comments

Each year it seems like the holiday shopping season moves up another week. We’ve been seeing holiday decorations in retail stores since early October, and hearing “Let It Snow!” on repeat since Halloween. If you’re a retail or e-commerce brand, now’s the time to double-check your acquisition, conversion and retention strategies and make the most of web traffic spikes through the end of the year.

Web traffic can be orders of magnitude higher in November and December than during other times of the year. In 2018, holiday retail sales crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time ever—up from 5.8% the year prior—and Google’s 2019 Holiday Playbook reports that 56% of all time shopping was spent online and 53% of all holiday purchases were made online.

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar or digital-native retailer, it’s important to put strategies in place to capitalize on this increase in spending and traffic. After the holidays, when things quiet down and sales tend to dip, the extra subscribers and customers you capture during this period could be the difference between hitting your Q1 numbers or falling short. Below are six web-based tactics you should consider to capture new subscribers, engage them with personal, relevant content and promotions, and retain them for the long term.

Acquire

Or in other words, build your list. It’s much easier to engage and convert your visitors if you know who they are and what they are interested in, which is why acquisition is so important. Below are a few handy acquisition methods which can be deployed with very little time and effort to help capitalize on your holiday traffic and acquire new customers.

1. Holiday gift guides

The best way to acquire new subscribers is to offer them something useful. A holiday gift guide is a great way to highlight specific high-margin or popular products and drive people to your website. Your gift guide could be published on your blog for free or gated behind a landing page. If you choose to gate this type of content, we recommend offering an additional incentive (such as a first-purchase promotion) to entice your users to exchange their contact information. This tactic can be particularly effective during the holidays when shoppers are searching for general terms like “best gifts for teenagers,” or “holiday gift guide for men.” 

2. Personalized lightboxes

Lightboxes (also commonly referred to as modals or pop-ups) are a quick and easy way to capture web visitor information. According to SumoMe, successful lightboxes can convert visitors at a rate of 9% or higher. Imagine if you were acquiring one out of every 10 people who visited your site! Lightboxes can be deployed with very little setup, making them an ideal choice for resource-strapped marketing teams. Lightboxes can also be personalized based on a variety of factors to help increase engagement and conversion rate. Messaging, imagery, promotions, and CTAs can all be dynamically altered based on data such as referral source and demographic. For example, you could deliver one message to a visitor who clicked on a display ad, and an entirely different message to a visitor who came to your site organically. 

3. Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences is a feature on Facebook and Instagram that allows you to build an audience segment, or upload a list of subscribers, then find other people with similar demographics and interests. This is a great way to quickly find a large number of potential customers. Use your marketing platform to easily import your customers into Facebook, then target a Lookalike Audience with Facebook or Instagram ads. These advertisements should send new visitors (with demographics and interests to your customers) to a page where they can sign up or purchase a product so you can capture their information. Make sure to provide adequate incentive in your ads to stand out!

Convert

Once you have your acquisition strategies in place, the next step is conversion. One big question in every marketer’s mind is, “how do I leverage my subscriber list to drive more sales?” 

4. Personal, relevant messaging

Sending personal messages is by far, the most effective tool for driving digital conversion. Accenture reports that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who provide relevant offers and recommendations—and Epsilon found that 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences. The “personalization” we’re referencing is not “Dear {firstname}.” To connect with customers on a deeper level, marketing teams need to personalize every aspect of the customer experience. This can include email, mobile, social, loyalty programs, promotions, and in-store interactions—connecting these touchpoints to maintain consistency throughout the brand experience. Brands that are able to put personal, relevant messaging at the center of their marketing efforts are far more likely to succeed in a sea of holiday shopping options. 

A great place to start is with your email program. Email remains one of the most effective revenue channels available to marketers today. Using real-time customer data, you can customize every aspect of your email messages, delivering a personal, relevant, and emotionally intelligent message to every customer. Include product recommendations, content, and messaging that displays uniquely based on past customer behavior, geolocation, events, and more. Using Cordial, Edible Arrangements was able to increase email revenue by 155% and conversions by 232%, largely due to their improved personal, relevant messaging. If you’d like to learn how you can achieve results like these, we’d love to show you!

5. Triggered, adaptive communications

Triggered messages are an incredibly effective way of recapturing a lost sale or moving a visitor further down the purchase funnel, particularly during the holidays. Many people are hunting around for good deals when they are shopping online, which means they might have multiple browser tabs open or are swiping between different shopping apps. Even if these visitors show intent to purchase (like adding a product to their shopping cart), they often don’t convert because they are overloaded with options and buying decisions. Strategically setting up triggered browse or shopping cart abandonment messages to deploy after a visitor leaves your site is a great way to incentivize purchase and recapture the sale. Don’t forget that you can also use triggered push notifications and SMS messages to recapture lost mobile traffic. 

Retain

The third, and arguably the most important part of the equation is retention. Research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (inventor of the net promoter score) shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase overall profits by 25% to 95%. Your brand is missing out on a huge opportunity if you’re not retaining the users you acquire and convert during the holidays. Customer retention is what will drive revenue during the slower months in Q1 and Q2. 

6. Customer loyalty programs

A loyalty program is an effective way to incentivize customers to continue their relationship with your company, long after the holiday season ends. Building a loyalty program may sound daunting, but it can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to make it. An easy way to start: build a series of dynamic audience segments within your messaging platform. A dynamic audience segment is rule-based and automatically adds and removes customers based on a predefined set of criteria. Here’s an example of some simple loyalty program segments:

  • Customers with a lifetime value under $100
  • Customers with a lifetime value between $100 – $500
  • Customers with a lifetime value over $500

On the front end, you can brand these segments (broze, silver, gold, etc.) and on the back end, create a series of promotions that apply to each segment. For example, gold members could receive a personalized coupon code for 10% off one item every 3 months. Using real-time customer data and triggered messages, you can automate your entire loyalty program so that messages are sent when users hit certain purchase thresholds or milestones. Lastly, promote your loyalty program in multiple places—on your website, in your transactional emails, on in-store receipts, and on social media so customers know you have one!

We know how important this season is to retailers, and we want to help position your marketing team to capitalize on holiday traffic gains. If you’d like to learn more about building a messaging strategy that incorporates these tactics for personal, relevant customer interactions, we would love to share our expertise. Click here to get started.

Ben Thiefels

Ben Thiefels

Product Marketing Manager