Practical Ecommerce

Keep the Buying Momentum Going in January

For most online retailers, the holiday shopping season accounts for up to 40 percent of annual sales. While we await final numbers for the 2015 Christmas season, the following 2010-2014 chart from comScore shows us what to expect: a lull in sales during the final weeks of the year.

comScore Desktop buying chart Holiday shopping

This chart shows what to expect with desktop shoppers as the holidays come to a close. Source: comScore.

January is, for most merchants, one of the slowest months. You can still generate sales, though, by marketing gift accessories and appealing to people’s new year resolutions. Popular items include:

  • Games and accessories for gaming systems, tablets and smartphones;
  • Organizational products for the home and office;
  • Fitness gear, including workout apparel and tracking software;
  • Timeless gifts for upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, and even next year’s holiday season;
  • Unique gadgets for the car and home;
  • Health products of all types;
  • Journals, logbooks, and related paper goods;
  • Safety products.

Keep in mind that resolutions vary, and there are always wish list items that were never received as gifts. With that, nearly any product line can be categorized as an accessory, a “gift for myself,” or a new year resolution item.

Change Up the Home Page and Sections

The home page should spotlight any end-of-season or end-of-year sales, as well as sections for popular accessories and ideas for accomplishing one’s goals in 2016. Each stellar graphic should link to appropriate landing pages or categories. Use trigger words to help shoppers decide what they want or need.

Organization.com Trending Items

Organization.com’s home page features trending items for various rooms of the home.

Use section headers to illustrate what shoppers will find. Belkin, for example, calls its mobile accessory section a “One-Stop Charging Shop.”

Belkin hypes accessories

The header graphic conveys that the shopper will find accessories for all types of tablets and smartphones for the home, car, and travel. Source: Belkin.com.

Using graphics, rather than just text, to hype subcategories gives shoppers a better visual of what to expect.

The Container Store organization section.

The Container Store uses sub-categories to help guide customers.

Make sure shoppers can easily identify what they need. Yankee Candle’s Wax Melts section is a great example of cross selling while also educating. This area provides links to both refill melts and the units to which they fit. It serves two purposes: It allows the shopper to find the right product that goes with a gift received, and shows him other styles available.

Yankee Candle wax melts

Shoppers can find wax melt refills and can also browse other warmers they may want to buy for themselves or others. Source: Yankee Candle.

Running the Right Sales

Shoppers have come to expect just one thing from retailers after Christmas: clearance. So think about additional ways to promote post-holiday buying.

By offering up-sells, you can prompt more shoppers reach thresholds on purchase amounts. You could also offer volume pricing or bulk buy discounts. This works well on smaller items that can be used as supply stock-ups or as simple gifts throughout the next year. And what about shipping? Flat-rate or free shipping still wins in ecommerce.

Run a loyalty or rewards program? Offer incentives for January purchases to both new and existing customers. Double points are attractive, as are additional points for performing certain tasks. You might also want to discount gift cards or certificates to help build revenue more quickly.

Compare Analytics

Hopefully you annotated in analytics changes made before and during the holiday shopping season. Instead of reverting everything, keep appropriate changes and further analyze over the next several weeks. You’ll likely find that attempts to streamline shopping pages and checkout are good for year-round shopping.

Pamela Hazelton

Pamela Hazelton

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