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The Last-Minute E-Commerce Holiday Checklist

Over the last few years, I’ve written several posts about preparing for the holidays, including Five Tips for Maximizing Success This Holiday Season and 3 Extra Holiday Readiness Tips from a 15 Year Veteran.

I wrote those posts assuming you were planning ahead with some time to spare. Sometimes that’s a luxury, though, and by now, if you’re not already into your holiday season, you’re pretty darned close. So these are a few last-minute tactics you can still do to improve holiday conversions.

1. Create a last-minute promotion.

Holiday shoppers love a good promotion. This holiday season, 77 percent of consumers intend to make a sale or promotional purchase during the holiday season, and one in three transactions will involve a coupon or promotion (Deloitte). Act now, and within a short time, you can have a new promotion up and running.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to building a promotion from idea development to launch, with examples and tips to help you reach your holiday revenue goals.

If you’ve read my previous advice, I talk a lot about the importance of planning for sales to go bad. So, you may already have a last-minute promotion ready to go. If that’s the case, I still recommend downloading our new Promotions Best Practices Guide and making sure you’ve covered all your bases and chosen the right promotion for the success goal(s) you want to drive. Pay special attention to what you can do to target mobile shoppers (see #4 below).

2. Run a micro-campaign targeting wish list shoppers.

One of the classic ways that shoppers show purchase intent is by creating and adding to a wish list. So if you have wish lists available on your site, promote them! Then, for shoppers who already have wish lists, target them through a micro-email campaign – this is a great way to encourage last-minute holiday sales. Consider testing these email reminders with and without a promotion and/or with different content and offers to determine what best incentivizes the sale, and encourage shoppers to share their wish list with friends and family who still need gift ideas.

Here are some other ways to use intent data to your selling advantage.

For those of you who are already Oracle Commerce Cloud customers, you can take advantage of the additional wish list functionality that comes with the solution, including Group wish lists which allow shoppers to invite friends and family to a wish list, increasing engagement, collaboration, and gift idea discussion on your site.

Using intent data will give you a real competitive advantage. 98% of companies aren’t set up to identify, deliver on, and measure moments of intent in the purchase journey (Adept)!

3. Use merchandising hooks.

In the midst of holiday season excitement, sometimes we overlook the basics, which yield high return for relatively low effort. Using effective merchandising hooks is quick, easy, and improves your customer’s shopping experience by simplifying product discovery and lowering the barrier to purchase.

It can be as simple as grouping top-selling products together and promoting them on a high-traffic page or in email communications, and creating compelling call-outs such as:

  • Trending in [top category/activity/brand]
  • Popular with [customer segment]
  • Back in Stock
  • Gifts Under $[amount]
  • Most Favorited
  • Most Gifted
  • Top Rated

Find a list of other compelling merchandising hooks to entice your holiday shoppers.

If you have access to an A/B testing tool (such as Experiments, the A/B testing tool we provide out-of-the-box with Oracle Commerce Cloud), use that to test content, title text for these groupings, and more, to determine which combinations perform best.

4. Take advantage of mobile.

2015 was the first year ever that Google mobile searches surpassed desktop, so it shouldn’t be surprising that mobile accounted for nearly 1 in 5 holiday purchases last year (Internet Retailer) and 56% of holiday season searches resulting in a click to a top retail site was conducted on either a smartphone or tablet (Connexity).

Think about context and experience—what would shoppers need to know if they’re not in front of a computer and want to make a purchase from you? Enable easy ways to research, close the consideration gap, and make the sale, including having ratings and reviews easily visible in all channels, making payment on mobile devices painless, and targeting mobile shoppers with specific marketing campaigns. For example, there's still time to make sure your ratings and reviews are promoted on your site--whether by focusing on top rated products, displaying ratings of products on listing and detail pages, or encouraging post-purchase reviews of products to help customers with decision-making. 

The most obvious way of catering to mobile shoppers is to make sure your site and communications are as mobile-friendly as possible. Keep that in mind when designing new pages, emails, and marketing assets.

If you’re an Oracle Commerce Cloud customer, your site is natively responsive by default, but you have the additional capability of easily creating adaptive layouts for specific viewports. (Check out how to create and manage separate layouts for different device types in Design Studio.)

For more on understanding and catering to mobile shoppers, and other key insights, check out our E-Commerce Learnings from 2015: Preparing to Win in 2016 webinar from earlier this year. You can watch the replay and/or download the slides.

Interested in finding out how Oracle Commerce Cloud helps drive conversions during the holiday season and beyond? Request a demo today.  

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