Trying to capture your share of holiday shoppers but think it’s too late? Get inspired with these last minute Holiday marketing ideas for ecommerce.

Attention is scarce and many brands are trying to vye for it. Most big brands start thinking about their holiday marketing ideas in March. Yes, you read it right.

But if you haven’t done so, feel free to steal some of these last minute holiday marketing ideas for ecommerce. We also have a chapter on how to prepare holiday marketing campaigns for “March Madness” at the end of the article.

7 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Ecommerce Stores to Quickly Boost Sales

Retail season is upon us. Surprise!

Come again?! Yes it’s true. Between the months of November and late December, many businesses who generate significant profit online will experience an increase in traffic and (hopefully) sales.

How do you know if your website is fully prepared to take advantage of the holiday rush? Instead of Santa Claus loading up his sleigh with merchandise from your warehouse, you could see an increase in shopping cart abandonment, low sales, and a whole lot of tears in your eggnog.

Most online businesses generate the majority of the year’s profit during the holiday season. And this year, digital spending is set to high with online holiday sales to surge 25-35%. This can make ecommerce sites a little nervous. Business managers get conservative, locking down the site and taking no risks for months before the blessed start of the shopping season.

They seem to be just waiting until the season is over with their eyes closed, praying to the retail gods that things will go well.

Table of Contents

Don’t be that guy this year. Pick the right strategies with the perfect amount of holiday spirit to optimize in time for the retail season. Here’s how some of the top online retailers prepare for the holiday rush. These are high-stakes, low risk Holiday marketing ideas for ecommerce stores that you can put in place at the last minute.

1. Holiday Marketing Idea: Don’t Jump Into A Total Site Redesign

Many medium and small business owners think they have to redesign their website with a holiday theme. The fact of the matter is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” What you think is broken is often perfect to your visitors.

Instead, enhance what’s already been working on your website. A stepwise website redesign can deliver additional revenue quicker and avoid a disastrous site relaunch.

Many business websites have to change for their holiday campaign, but you don’t redesign with each holiday.

Website Redesign is like Holiday Decorations

When you are pretty busy, other parts of our lives suffer. In my case, it was decorating for the Christmas Season.

And in an unexpected way, this relates to your website.

I found myself with Christmas getting near and my Halloween decorations were still up. Before you laugh, isn’t this the same way you feel about your website? It’s needed a redesign for a while, but other priorities keep getting in the way.

That’s exactly how I felt.

There is little that can be done with Halloween decorations when preparing for Christmas… or is there?

There is little that can be done with Halloween decorations when preparing for Christmas… or is there?

This is not a traditional Christmas image.

But, since I was short on redecorating resources, I decided to redesign my decorations the way I would redesign a website: a little at a time.

I used small steps in my decoration redesign. I found some Christmas doll sweaters to put on my skeletons. Here’s the result.

This may seem a disturbing choice for Christmas decoration, but what does the data say? See how website redesign is like holiday decorations.

This may seem a disturbing choice for Christmas decoration, but what does the data say? The Tim Burton approach worked well for holiday decor.

Rather than taking down the skeletons and spending money on new decorations, I took a more creative approach. I added a special twist of my own to the decor. When my 17-year old daughter and her friends came by the house, I received positive reviews and praise. Remember, the opinion of your visitor matters the most.

It’s unexpected, unique and didn’t require a decoration redesign. This is the same approach we recommend for your website.

You may think your site needs a re-do. You may feel it’s dated, familiar, or too old.

As we like to say in the business, “Your opinion doesn’t matter.”

It’s the opinion of your visitors that matters, and they may not see your site with as critical an eye as you. They may even love it as it is.

What are the Right Reasons to Redesign your Online Store?

There are two really good reasons for a site redesign:

  1. Your brand is changing completely.
  2. Your site is not maintainable and needs a new foundation.

If you aren’t facing one of these two situations, consider a stepwise redesign.

We’ve been able to modify a site completely using testing tools before the business committed to the redesign.

test a complete redesign before investing in development. Taigan redesign.

We were able to test a complete redesign for this ecommerce site before committing it to code.

We found with this test that the redesign would not be expected to have a negative effect on revenue. Perfect last minute Holiday marketing idea for your online shop.

  • Test the navigation design.
  • Test a revised value proposition on your home page.
  • Test a new layout for each of your important pages.
  • Test a new checkout process.
  • Test a new ecommerce category page layout.
  • Test a new mobile layout.

Piece by piece, you’ll learn what improves your bottom line and what doesn’t. We call this data-driven creative.

Faster Results than a Full Website Redesign

Doesn’t this testing process take more time than a redesign?

We’ve accompanied several clients through redesign. A website is a complicated piece of software. We’ve rarely seen a redesign finished in less than twice the time predicted.

So, no, our approach is faster.

And, as you find wins, you get to enjoy higher conversion rates, higher revenue and more leads as the ecommerce site is redesigned.

Enjoy Your Holidays and Your Redesign

Don’t take our word for it. Author and optimizer Rich Page cited a Hubspot study that found one third of companies who implemented a redesign were unhappy with the results.

This doesn’t have to be you.

Having the resources to make your website a better place for your visitors is a great advantage over your competition. Let the competition spend months on one big shot.

Meanwhile, you can learn what your visitors want and deliver more of it time after time, until you own a site that the competition will have trouble keeping up with. Merry Christmas!

Our conversion-centered website redesign method guarantees results in weeks, not months. Jump on a call with the Conversion Scientists and get started on the road to website redesign success.

2. Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Idea: Identify Where Your Conversions are Coming From

We work with many ecommerce companies, from high-end jewelry and gloves to furniture sales. Our job is to analyze this behavior and data to best optimize your online business. So, we’ll share a little secret that can be easily implemented to generate last minute holiday marketing ideas for your ecommerce business.

The Channel Report in Google Analytics helps us locate streamlined conversions and where clients see significant sales by traffic source. With the Overview section, you can create an Advanced Segment to locate which are the specific sources of your visitors and how those visitors navigate your online store to become a customer.

Let’s say we want to focus on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn social efforts. Here’s how we set up one advanced segments:

This is how we traditionally set up segments in Google Analytics to analyze site conversions better.

This is how we traditionally set up segments in Google Analytics to analyze site conversions better.

Now that you know where your conversions originate, you need to understand what components on your site help with these conversions.

If we want to see which landing pages converted best, we would create an Advanced Segment that highlights our goal URL. Perhaps your home page needs to be better optimized. Maybe you could cut back on ads to landing pages that deliver unfavorable results.

We can also gather data on which devices lead to more conversions, whether these are new or returning visitors, and how many sessions each channel produces. It’s important to understand the type of traffic that comes to your site, how visitors navigate through your site, and which features deliver the most conversions. This data will help you better craft your Holiday ecommerce strategy.

3. Boost Holiday Sales: Lay Out Your Conversion Roadmap and Retargeting Ads

One reader sent us this story:

I was once asked to be a groomsman for my best friend’s wedding. Great, I thought. Bachelor parties, booze, and a whole lot of money down the toilet.
We recently had a fitting at The Men’s Warehouse. Look at us! Aren’t we a great bunch of guys?

Groomsmen conversion roadmap. While getting fitted for tuxes for our friend’s wedding, we decided not to rent shoes.

While getting fitted for tuxes for our friend’s wedding, we decided not to rent shoes.

After all was said and done, we decided to not to rent shoes for $20. Think about it: that’s almost the price of half a decent shoe. Since most guys can use a good new pair of shoes, we decided to check out several online shoe stores to find the right style and avoid another brutal trip to the mall. Let’s be real, no one enjoys shopping with six other dudes that have absolutely no sense of style.

We scoured the web and came upon a pair of great looking shoes on Nordstrom.com, but we said no to purchasing. They were just too expensive.

The retail giant, however, was kind enough to fill my Facebook newsfeed with wonderful retargeting ads. Thanks a lot for the added temptation.

Facebook retargeting ad from Nordstrom.

After leaving Nordstrom.com without purchasing an item, I was retargeted on Facebook.

Did I mention that we were shopping for a “wingtip” style shoe. This fact wasn’t lost to Nordstrom. They tracked my shopping activity and knew what I was looking for.

Since my initial search on their website just didn’t ring up a sale, they retargeted me with a similar wingtip shoe that was significantly marked down in price. I clicked on the ad that took me directly to a well crafted landing page.

Landing page for the Nordstrom Facebook retargeting ad.

Nordstrom knew I was looking for a wingtip style shoe and have even recommended several pairs that are more affordable.

Had this shoe been in the wedding party’s price range, we would have definitely become customers. Not only did it fit the overall wedding’s motif but it was a killer shoe. It was also discounted, a big plus.

Nordstrom took it one step further.

Nordstrom included a “People Also Viewed” section to the right of this page, listing two additional wingtip style shoes in a more affordable price range.

Well done guys, well done. Unfortunately for Nordstrom we were still too cheap to buy, but it was still a solid effort.

Remember to lay out exactly how you will navigate a variety of customers through your funnel. Think of your email subscribers, returning visitors, new visitors, and don’t forget your impulse buyers. Read this article if you need help creating a funnel.

Once you’ve segmented your visitors, analyze their behavior. Did they convert? Which items did they purchase? What was their overall spend?

By knowing these key statistics, you can craft better retargeting ads and email offers that resonate with their buying habits.

Nordstrom.com knows their stuff. What kind of ads will you be showing site visitors, customers, or shoppers who abandoned their cart?

Don’t let sales slip on by. How can you turn lost opportunities into revenue this holiday season?

4. Not so Last Minute Holiday Marketing Idea: High Converting Social Media Giveaway Campaigns

You need some ammunition for the Holiday retail season that brings in new customers and sales. Early fall is a great time for executing high converting lead generating campaigns. We’re talking social media giveaways, contests, and special offers. Those that build nice email lists for future email blasts.

You can still implement these campaigns during the holidays and use the email lists for promotional sales all year round. At the very least, you will get some interested visitors.

Let’s take another look at our friends at Nordstrom.com.

I noticed they were having a special giveaway on their site. It didn’t look obnoxious like some online giveaways, and I was intrigued by the red letters at the top left corner of the site that said “Want a $1,000 Gift Card?” YES. I DO. So I clicked on it.

Holiday marketing ideas for ecommerce: Nordstrom giveaway campaign.

Click the red letters! Win money.

Once I read the official rules, I was taken to an additional landing page to sign up for the giveaway.

High converting social media giveaways for the holidays.

Keep your giveaways simple. Too many rules or procedures turn people away.

This contest has a very particular call-to-action (CTA): write a review for one of their products you’ve purchased. Once entered, I was sent an email with a CTA to continue shopping.

Nordstrom is using a loophole (the purchase was made before the sweepstakes began) to bypass U.S. regulations that state you have to provide a way to enter the giveaway without requiring a purchase. So, be careful when crafting the rules for campaigns like this one. Do not get into legal trouble.

Be creative with your giveaways. Don’t make the contest too complicated, and always offer an incentive to those who enter, like a special coupon filled with holiday cheer. They are not likely to win, but you will, especially since you were able to get their email address for later.

Again, you want your email list to be as fat as possible come next holiday season, especially if you find that your list converts higher than your site traffic.

5. Structure Your Email Blast With Offers that will Increase your Holiday Sales

Dial up the value on your email blasts for the holidays. People who give you their email address are inviting you to their already very full inbox, so make the most of it. The offers below can translate into high converting email marketing campaigns.

Promote a New Arrival

Some shoppers love to splurge on the latest and greatest, especially during the holidays. Let them know about this at the top of your email or include it in the subject line.

Local Austin jeweler Kendra Scott has a unique approach to their email blasts. In this email we see the new arrival promo both on the email preview and the main message.

Increase holiday sales email blast. Kendra Scott Austin jeweler.

This is an email promo for Kendra Scott’s new Mystic Bazaar collection.

Suggest a Bestseller as the Perfect Holiday Gift

You know this product will sell with or without a marked down price. You can sell this product with your eyes closed, so why not include it in the email?

Boost holiday sales. Promote a bestselling product or service on email blast. CountryOutfitter.com knows their boots sell. Each week they include a different style of boot in their email blasts.

CountryOutfitter.com knows their boots sell. Each week they include a different style of boot in their email blasts.

Theme Your Emails to Upsell or Cross Sell

Furniture salesmen increase their commissions by including add-ons that compliment the purchase, from furniture displays to the final sales pitch.

“Would you also like some table lamps, a rug, and perhaps this painting of a naked man to compliment your one-of-a-kind love seat from Romania?”

Someone willing to drop a small (or medium) fortune on a couch is likely to be willing to drop even more to make sure the couch isn’t sitting in an empty living room – or worse, a living room where the other decor doesn’t compliment the couch. That’s where the money comes from.

Here’s a great example of how one online retailer themes their email blasts similarly to furniture store displays. This particular campaign was all about skulls.

Holiday themed emails to cross sell and upsell.

Holiday themed emails to cross sell and upsell.

And you can’t buy a skull sweater without getting the matching purse and mug. Do you really want to be the fool with the skull sweater drinking out a cat mug and carrying a hobo bag? Absolutely not.

You must purchase the matching accessories!

You must purchase the matching accessories!

Even better, every item in this email is 20% off. HotTopic, eat your heart out.

Offer Incentives to Increase Cart Size: A Coupon Code or Free Shipping

Adding a coupon code or a free shipping incentive (like “get $50 off a purchase of $100 or more” or “free shipping when you spend $50”) will help visitors spend a specific amount of money or help them purchase an item that is designed to be a quick money maker.

Incentives to increase holiday cart size: discounts and free shipping. CountryOutfitter.com includes a free pair of flip flops with the purchase of $75 or more.

CountryOutfitter.com includes a free pair of flip flops with the purchase of $75 or more.

Be Newsworthy: Leverage off of a Current Story

Adding a brand related news story to an email blast can help drive serious traffic. Here’s how a competitor of CountryOutfitter.com’s email blast looked like the day Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton announced their divorce.

The divorce announcement in their email subject line, along with a photo of the couple at the top of the email. A great way to increase open rates and click through rates.

Relevant news can help increase email open and click through rates. Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton divorce, but Country Fashion retailers are making money.

Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton divorce, but Country Fashion retailers are making money.

This email was more than just the Country Music story of the day. When visitors opened the breaking news email, they noticed this retailer offered free shipping for all orders $75 or more.

Below the breaking news image was a “Shop Now” image directing traffic to a product page. Although this traffic may not be interested in shopping and would much rather read up on Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, you can still segment this surge in traffic for retargeting ads (remember the Nordstrom.com example?) to country music lovers.

6. Time is of the Essence: Give Shoppers an Incentive to Buy Now

Set an expiration date to your coupons, create limited time offers, or activate that retargeting ad that will make visitors come back and hopefully turn into buyers.

One of the most interesting timed offers was a feature on RebelCircus.com. At the top of the site, there was a ticker that gave shoppers exactly one hour to make a purchase to take advantage of a discount coupon.

Website offer with expiration date. You’ve got one hour to make a purchase! The agony.

You’ve got one hour to make a purchase! The agony.

When I returned to the site less than an hour later, the clock was still ticking. They definitely get a thumbs up for creating a sense of urgency when shopping.

Can a dog lover resist this timed offer as a holiday gift? Truly great holiday marketing campaign.

Can a dog lover resist this timed offer as a holiday gift? Truly great holiday marketing campaign.

7. Final Holiday Marketing Ideas for Ecommerce: Analyze your Data and Prep For Next Year

This can be the fun part, or the not so fun part, depending on how the season went. Gather your data from Google Analytics. Dissect the info and highlight the pros and cons of your online retail marketing campaigns. Where did you see more conversions, email signups, and social media engagement, and how did this affect your overall strategy?

Your marketing plan should always continue to change and refine itself over the seasons. Your approach this year could be different from next year’s. But when you just can’t get the answers right, or no longer have the time to optimize give Conversion Sciences a call. We’d be happy to bring good tidings of joy to your business this Holiday Season.

Ecommerce March Madness: Get your Holiday Marketing Ideas Ready

Every March, the annual college basketball tournament inspires basketball binge-watching behavior known by most as “March Madness”.

The other kind of March madness is the period of time in which ecommerce companies begin to think about the holiday shopping season again.

“Didn’t we just finish the holidays?” they ask. Yet, they remember the last minute scrambling they had to do the previous year to come up with high converting Holiday marketing ideas.

It’s easy to ignore the holiday shopping season. November seems so far away. But the Holidays are about ecommerce upsets, when the little guy can out-sell the big guy.

Upsets don’t just happen. You have to prepare for them. If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to steal some of these last minute holiday marketing ideas for ecommerce.

Time to Start Thinking About the Holiday Season: Preparation Meets Inspiration

The mental and physical preparation that goes into engineering your own upset takes time. The summer is your off-season. How will you train?

  • New products
  • New offers
  • More traffic
  • Crank up the Conversion Rate

The products and offers are the picking, shooting and dribbling fundamentals. These require a honed knowledge of game fundamentals.

Driving traffic is like selling tickets. A winning season means more fans. Ultimately, you don’t have control of prices, game times and TV schedules. As an ecommerce site, you invest in traffic knowing that it can change at any time (and probably has). Also, don’t forget to check out these effective eCommerce Marketing Strategies, they might inspire you.

Working on the conversion rate is where it all comes together. This is building strength and endurance for the team.

With website optimization, as the revenue you generate from every visitor goes up, your site improves. You own it. The goal is to generate more sales from the same traffic. Make your ad spend count.

If you increase your conversion rate by 7% a month, you will have doubled your conversion rate within a year. That’s a serious upset to your competitors.

It’s time to work on your fundamentals. We are the drill coaches that get you there. Have a conversation with a Conversion Scientist and let us show you how you can move into brackets you never thought you’d be playing in.

Brian Massey
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