Marketing & Advertising

Christmas-is-almost-here Ecommerce Marketing Plan 2014

This year’s Christmas shopping season is rapidly drawing to a close. But there are still plenty of “Christmas Is Almost Here” marketing that online retailers can use to boost sales.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, and Green Monday — the best days for holiday online sales — are behind us. Many online retailers have already been very successful, others are still trying to pick up every dime, nickel, and penny possible. Those still looking for sales are also likely looking for ways to attract just a few more customers and, of course, earn a little (or a lot) more revenue.

Fortunately, there may still be a lot of customers to be had. Upwards of 75 percent of U.S. holiday shoppers reportedly still have purchases to make between now and December 25. As these shoppers feel more pressure to get Christmas presents and, potentially, ship those gifts around the country, they are likely to be shopping online.

What follows are four marketing tactics that Internet retailers can use to maximize last-minute Christmas sales.

Promote Your Shipping Calendar

Many Christmas shoppers waited too long and are rapidly running out of time to pick up presents for their family and friends. These procrastinating purchasers need to understand just how much time they have left. So consider publishing and promoting a holiday shipping calendar or timeline for domestic U.S. shipments, such as the following.

  • December 15: Last day to ship via United States Postal Service Standard Post.

  • December 17: Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery and similar services for anywhere in the country.

  • December 18: Last day to ship via FedEx Home Delivery and similar service for relatively close destinations.

  • December 22: Last day to ship using services like UPS 2nd Day Air packages.

  • December 23: Last day to ship using services like UPS Next Day Air packages.

  • December 25: Last day to ship via FedEx Same Day in select markets.

Merchants could feature these as a countdown on their sites or in content. It may also make sense to link to the USPS, UPS, and FedEx delivery schedules.

These shipping dates will also make good headlines for marketing emails, social media posts, on-site banners, pay-per-click advertising, Pandora commercials, and even YouTube commercials.

Free Shipping Day

In addition to your last-day-to-ship promotion mentioned above, it can make sense to promote Free Shipping Day on December 18. In fact, there might even be a chance to be listed on the Free Shipping Day website, which could drive a significant amount of additional traffic.

Free Shipping Day is December 18, 2014.

Free Shipping Day is December 18, 2014.

Even if a retailer doesn’t advertise on the Free Shipping Day site, it can still be a good idea to offer free shipping on December 18 with the promise that the package will still arrive by Christmas Eve. In most cases, it will still be possible to ship via a ground service to meet this goal.

Use site banners and notifications, email, and social media to help promote any Free Shipping Day offers.

Last-minute Discounts

Some last minute shoppers may actually be holdouts, waiting for end-of-season sales to try and save money.

These savvy shoppers know that retailers don’t want to be left with too much inventory going into the first quarter of the year when sales are traditionally slow. This excess inventory can hurt cash flow, cause storage and warehousing issues, and, in the worst cases, linger all the way to next Christmas.

So give them what they want, look at items that have not been selling quickly (or that are not the kinds of items a store would re-buy) and offer those products at after-Christmas prices before the holiday actually arrives. Remember, if a retailer is hoping to sell out of an item, it is much easier to do so when last-minute Christmas shoppers are visiting in droves.

Here again, consider using email, social media, blog posts, pay-per-click advertising, Pandora, and YouTube to promote these last minute discounts.

Gift Card Offers

Gift cards can make a good last-minute Christmas promotion, and there are really two ways to use them for holiday sales.

First, gift cards (or electronic gift certificates or codes) are themselves good gifts. American shoppers are expected to spend about $127 billion purchasing gift cards this year, and, in just the next two years gift cards could account for 18 percent of all Christmas purchases. What’s more, gift card recipients frequently spend as much as 40 percent more than a gift card’s value when they redeem it. Gift cards can be a big win for retailers.

Second, gift cards or their electronic equivalent can also be discounted — wherein a shopper can buy a $50 gift card for $45. Gifts cards can also be discounted and delayed, so that the shopper gets the $50 gift card at a discount, but cannot spend it until after Christmas.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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