Business owners across the globe are thinking about new eCommerce marketing strategies to implement, now that the holidays are over. Christmas filled the pockets of eCommerce businesses and now in January and February, people’s overall intention to spend money has decreased. Everybody is looking to keep new budgets and stay healthy as part of their New Year’s Resolutions and are looking to save more money in 2019.
Which brings up an important question for eCommerce businesses: which eCommerce marketing strategies should you employ to keep sales high after the holidays are over?
In this article, you’ll learn three different approaches that might spark some ideas for your marketing. I’ll show you not just the theory but will also provide instructions you can implement on your shop right away.
- Focus on products that accompany your holiday bestsellers
- Retarget your new audience pool from the holidays
- Use spending thresholds to unlock selected discounts
These strategies have been tested over and over again. I talked to eCommerce experts in the field to get their opinions and also cite one of the world’s best marketers. And the best thing is that these strategies aren’t specific to the holidays revolving around Christmas. They can be used for any big holiday season.
So let’s dive in!
eCommerce Marketing Strategy 1: Focus on Products That Accompany Your Holiday Bestsellers
This strategy comes from Robert Cialdini, author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. It’s arguably one of the most impactful books on marketing, being translated into 30 languages and has sold more than three million copies since its release in 1984. In the book, Cialdini shares his experiences of working in various markets to analyze sales strategies of market professionals.
Finding Yourself In a Shop After The Holidays
In one story, he finds himself in a toy shop, spending money on a toy he promised to give his kids to Christmas. He noticed that he also was in that same shop last year at the same time of the year, and started to think about why that was. During a conversation with a neighbor that worked in the retail space, he came to an interesting conclusion. Cialdini learned about a strategy retailers use which should also become one of your staple eCommerce marketing strategies.
Big retailers sometimes promote toys for the holidays which are then short on supply during the holidays, so that customers have to buy different toys. They short the supply on purpose because they’re aware of a strong psychological principle being at work during a holiday season.
Think about how the toy market works over holidays such as Christmas. TV ads and advertising on social media bombards us with the latest toys and makes children want them. Kids then beg their parents to buy them this one special toy they saw on TV, and parents often agree to gift this toy as a Christmas present. Nobody wants to disappoint their children during Christmas, right?
So, when Christmas season arrives, parents go shopping and start hunting for that special toy they promised to their children. If that toy is short on supply, however, they will end up not finding it in the shops. The retailers force them to shop for a different toy so that their children don’t get overly disappointed. Parents have to find a way to still make their children happy, even though they won’t get the toy they originally desired.
Now imagine what happens if their children see an ad for that special toy after Christmas is over. They’ll immediately remember how badly they wanted this toy and that their parents promised to buy it for Christmas. And it’s that promise that retailers are exploiting in this scenario. You don’t want to set an example that promises can easily be broken, do you?
Furthermore, it’s difficult for humans to not follow up on statements made. Think about the last time you stated a bold opinion in the public (among family or friends, for example). Would changing that opinion and publicly announcing you were wrong come easily to you? For most, it wouldn’t.
Hence, once their children start begging for that special toy again, parents will feel the urge to get it for their children. And retailers win twice at this point. Firstly, parents bought different gifts than planned before Christmas (which might even be more expensive, to make up for not getting the gift their children wanted) and secondly, parents are shopping for gifts again after the holidays.
Remember, even though Cialdini uses Christmas in this example, you can use this technique in any big holiday season. It works as well for Easter, Halloween or any other bigger season where children expect to receive gifts.
Implementation Tip: Leverage the Reports Your Online Shop Provides
Have a good look at the sales statistics of your shop and hunt for the three best-selling products during this holiday season. Then discover which products may accompany those bestsellers nicely and start new promotion campaigns for those products.
In this article, BigCommerce outlines 29 metrics eCommerce businesses can utilize to grow their business. Even though BigCommerce is a different platform than WordPress, it sometimes is worth looking into different niches to learn.
eCommerce Marketing Strategy 2: Retarget Your New Audience Pool
Retargeting your website visitors and social media followers is nothing new, but don’t skip over this marketing strategy just yet. When running retargeting campaigns after the holidays, your eCommerce marketing strategies need a certain angle.
During the holiday seasons, everyone and their brother are shopping for gifts online. The volume in search terms related to gift shopping increases heavily and you’ll likely see an increase in traffic on your website as well as more interactions with your social profiles. In other words, your audience grows quite a bit over the holidays. And that should become one of your assets for the time after the holidays.
My friend William Harris, eCommerce Advertising Expert at Elumynt.com says:
“When you’re retargeting people after the holidays, you have to remember what’s going on in their minds. Many people just spent more than they usually spend in a month and they need to pay off their credit card. Then they jump right into New Year’s Resolutions which often means, getting healthy – good news if you’re selling workout gear, but a bit harder if you sell something else.
By focusing on what’s going on in the minds of your ideal customer, you can come up with the perfect way to reach them. People still love to buy things – it makes them feel good. So if you retarget them with a “clearing out 2018 mega sale”, there’s a good chance you will get their attention.
Other things that work well are talking about how this will “save” them money, how this is a “healthy” decision or something else that shows how this will help them with their goals.”
Ad Spend Competition After The Holidays End
To put this statement into perspective, also think about how your competition behaves after the holidays are over. Before the holidays, they start to increase their ad budgets which results in sometimes massive price increases in your cost per customer acquisition and cost per conversion. But what do most of your competitors do once the holidays are gone? They’ll cut back on their ad spend again – and likely so will you.
Prices on advertising platforms normalize again and give you a good opportunity to start a fresh campaign to retarget your grown audience. We don’t pay the extra fee caused by many players entering the ad market anymore and use our regular calculations to plan our budgets.
With the increased audience size you gathered over the holidays, it’s the best time to run specific retargeting offers that build on the stories you told in your holiday marketing. Continue raising your brand awareness with people who didn’t buy yet, so that you have a bigger pool of people to retarget during the next holiday phase.
Again, don’t let William’s statement about the New Years Resolution trick you into thinking that this only works after Christmas is over. It’s a tradition that we spend money during special seasons. And it’s as big of a tradition to become painfully aware of our spending once that season is over.
If you can speak to this feeling in your retargeting campaign, you’ll be golden.
Implementation Tip: Implement Tracking Pixels Properly Using Google Tag Manager
While countless tracking plugins exist for WordPress, my preferred way to integrate tracking scripts into a WordPress site is Google Tag Manager. It’s much cleaner to install a single code snippet into your page, rather than having a plugin for Google Analytics, one for the Facebook Pixel and another one for Adwords conversion tracking.
With Google Tag Manager, you simply add a code snippet to the <head> of your website and another one right after the <body> tag opened. You can either add the Google Tag Manager snippets directly to your child theme in the “header.php” file or via the “functions.php” file, or you can use a plugin like Tracking Code Manager to do it for you.
With Google Tag Manager, you have granular control on where your pixels will fire, what events you are tracking in your analytics reports, and how those events are labeled. By using the Google Tag Manager and keeping your WordPress plugins to a minimum, you’ll also less likely slow down your WooCommerce shop, and speed is key to a high converting store.
It can be tricky to set up though, so you might want to have a technical partner who can help you implement the tracking. In my experience, most shops have room for improvement when it comes to conversion tracking and event-based tracking. But I have yet to find a shop that didn’t benefit from implementing better tracking, as you’ll be able to make much more informed decisions in your day-to-day business.
eCommerce Marketing Strategy 3: Use Spending Thresholds to Unlock Selected Discounts
The final tip in this series of eCommerce marketing strategies after the holidays is a simple yet powerful one. It leverages a psychological principle that we can see being used by old school print catalogs for ages: the free gift that unlocks after a certain cart value.
Chances are that you are already tracking your average order value in your shop or a dedicated spreadsheet. The formula is fairly straightforward.
Average order value (AOV) = total store revenue / total store orders
AOV is one of the most important metrics for any eCommerce marketing strategy because it gives a good starting point in calculating related numbers such as cost per acquisition, average revenue per customer, etc. And there’s another way we can leverage AOV in our eCommerce marketing strategies toolkit: to use it as a threshold for unlocking discounts or free gifts!
Most often on the back of print catalogs, you’ll see an order form that already has a product entered with a small note. That note usually says you’ll receive the product for free if your order is above a certain threshold. Why not implement that exact strategy in your eCommerce shop?
By knowing your AOV and your best-selling products, it should be possible for you to find a bestselling item that’s below your AOV and could serve as a free gift. Or you can add a discount automatically, once your customer’s cart value reaches a certain amount.
You can implement this strategy in countless ways, but the end result should always be the same: to reward your customer for spending more than your current AOV. Testing needs to show where you want to set the threshold and how big the reward needs to be, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula here. But if you have the guts to implement automatic discounts or free gifts, you’ll almost certainly see a higher AOV over time.
Order bumps work completely independent from holiday seasons. While they can be specifically powerful when used in conjunction with your holiday marketing campaigns, they can also add quite a bit of revenue throughout the entire year.
Implementation Tip: Do Your Research on Plugins That Can Add Discounts or Free Gifts
If you’re running a WooCommerce shop, you’re in a lucky position. You’ll find many so-called “order bump” plugins that let you add discounts or upsell products in the checkout process. I’m not going to recommend any particular plugin here on purpose though, as plugins that might be good today might not be optimal choices three months from now.
Here are some things you need to have in mind when researching these plugins:
- Ensure that the plugin does not cause any friction in the order process. Customers should be able to add products with a single click and discounts should be applied automatically to their carts.
- Everything needs to happen on the cart or any pre-checkout page. We’re not talking about funnels here that offer upsells/downsells after an order has been done. You want to incentivize adding more products to the cart before checking out.
- The order bump needs to automatically load order data like shipping address, shipping method, payment gateway, etc. so that the customer does not have to enter data twice.