Last Minute E-Commerce Holiday Prep Tips

Let’s be honest, 2020 has done a number on us all. So if it just recently hit you that the holidays are rapidly approaching and your marketing plan is not ready, it is safe to say you’re not alone! During an unprecedented year when more people than ever will be doing their holiday shopping online, it is important to have a solid plan in place for your e-commerce business. Not to worry though, we’ve rounded up our best tips for maximizing revenue and setting your store up for a successful holiday season that you can get started on right now.

1. Gift Guides

You can take advantage of all the inventory you already have in stock and curate a stellar gift guide to help your customers easily find things for everyone they are shopping for. Gift guides are typically launched in early November but if they are set up to have evergreen URLs, they can be stripped of holiday creatives on December 31 and used year-round. Evergreen gift guide landing pages are great for SEO so when planning your URL, use something like site.com/gift-guide. Some ideas for departments to use in your gift guide are things like Gifts Under $100, Gifts for Kids, Gifts for Him, Gifts for Her, Stocking Stuffers, and Fan Favorites. Check out the 2020 Holiday Gift Guide from The Beatles Official Store for some inspiration if you need it!

Need help? Reach out to your Musictoday account manager to start reviewing gift guide examples and assortment for holiday.

2. Email Marketing & List Prep

We all know that email marketing is a pillar of any healthy e-commerce business and that any and all holiday promotions happening in your store must be included in your email schedule. But before panic-scheduling a million email campaigns to make up for lost time, take a moment to pause and be sure you’ll be getting the most out of any email marketing you’ll be doing between now and the end of the year. Take a look at last year’s promotions and see where you were the most successful. This will help you prioritize where to push and pull. Making sure your list is updated and segmented in a way that makes sense will also help set your email plan up for success. For example, creating a list of active customers from the last 12 months to send the most emails to, identifying your top spending customers to offer exclusive rewards to, and reaching out to lapsed customers with your best offers to reactivate them during peak selling season are all great ways to use your list to its highest potential. Once you have your lists refreshed and your campaigns planned, make sure to also schedule a re-send to unopeners after each of your big emails. This will ensure that you get the most eyes on each email as possible.

Need help? Reach out to your Musictoday account manager to get your email campaigns scheduled.

3. Retargeting & Social Media Marketing

Paid social marketing on platforms like Facebook and Instagram continues to be an important and reliable marketing channel and an ever-increasing source of e-commerce revenue. In the same way that all important holiday promotions should be included in your email schedule, they should also be factored into your paid social plan. However, unlike email campaigns where the bulk of their revenue will be generated in the first 24 hours, paid social campaigns tend to perform best over a stretch of days or weeks. For longer running promotions such as a gift guide campaign or an extension of the big ticket days like “Black Friday Week” or “Cyber Week” (which are becoming more and more popular with e-commerce retailers), fully fleshed out paid social campaigns with robust targeting, eye-catching creative, and various iterations of each ad are an excellent way to go. However for promotions that last only a day or two, this type of campaign is not ideal. In those cases, having dynamic retargeting ads already set up will ensure that you capture customers who have either browsed your store on those big days but haven’t completed their sales, or folks who have purchased recently but may not be aware of the current promotion in your store. Retargeting ads are unique to each person seeing them and make use of your product catalog to show customers items that they’ve viewed but not purchased or items that they may like based on their purchase history, depending on how you choose to set your campaign up. Facebook Ads Manager has recently introduced some new and more visually appealing formats for retargeting ads including video slideshows and collection ads that open up into a full-screen experience. The ad copy in retargeting campaigns is also fully customizable so you can call out any pertinent details you need to. Having a Facebook Pixel and a Product Catalog set up for your store are requirements to launching retargeting campaigns so start there if those are not ready, but once they are, you’ll be able to launch a successful retargeting campaign in minutes.

Need help?
Reach out to your Musictoday account manager to get dynamic retargeting and other paid social campaigns set up.

4. Paid Search & SEO

In addition to maximizing communication with your engaged customer base through email campaigns and re-targeting, you’ll also want to make sure that new customers are able to easily discover your store for the first time via a thorough paid search & SEO strategy. If you’ve added new departments to your store, or you’re getting ready to stage holiday landing pages like gift guides, now is the time to prepare by reviewing your AdWords account and adding new search campaigns and keywords where needed. Keywords should be refined and built around the categories and products you expect to perform well during the season. Use holiday specific terms like ‘gift ideas’, ‘Black Friday promotions’, or ‘Cyber Monday deals’ in ad copy. Additionally, promotional holiday themed sitelink extensions should be added and linked to holiday landing pages like gift guides or Cyber Week specials. Be sure to adjust budgets and bids as needed to get in front of more potential customers as they search for products. When it comes to planning for SEO success, you’ll want to make sure your store taxonomy is up-to-date and makes it easy to find your top products, in addition to providing robust product descriptions to help with ranking.

Need help? Reach out to your Musictoday account manager to set up some time to learn more about this from the Search Marketing team.

5. Key Shopping Dates To Plan For:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the possibilities and don’t know where to start, here are some key holiday shopping dates to plan your store’s promotions around.

  • “Not Black Friday” (Nov 20 or Dec 4) – This promotion is a great way to either introduce some early deals or capture the attention of customers who may have missed your big Black Friday sale. This promotion could really be run on any Friday in November or December, but we typically see clients schedule this for either the week before or after Black Friday.
  • Thanksgiving (Nov 26) – This is a great day to launch some early Black Friday sneak peeks and grab the attention of shoppers dreading the Black Friday chaos.
  • Black Friday (Nov 27) – This U.S. phenomenon started in 1952 and marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It has been adopted by retailers around the world.
  • Cyber Monday (Nov 30) – The purely online version of Black Friday also marks the first day of Cyber Week, which ends December 6.
  • Manic Monday (Dec 7) – The name says it all. Manic Monday is when there’s a rush to order gifts in time for Christmas.
  • Boxing Day/Post-Christmas Clearance (Dec 26) – Boxing Day is a UK national holiday primarily known for shopping and family time. It’s also celebrated in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and more. If you’re primarily marketing to U.S. customers, a post-Christmas clearance sale will help you push through leftover seasonal merchandise to customers flush with gift cards. 
  • New Year’s Eve (Dec 31) – It has become a common practice for retailers to use the final week of the year to make room for next year’s new merchandise by offering steep discounts and clearance sales on their existing inventory – customers will be on the lookout for these deals. “Final Day Countdown to Midnight” sales can also be a fun way to promote these offers.