Are you prepared for the upcoming retail holiday season? Every year, online merchants get ready for the inevitable onslaught of customer orders on Cyber Weekend. That may sound a bit scary, but fear not because Cyber Monday can help push merchants and online retailers into the black and create an extremely profitable holiday shopping season.
I’m going to give you some tips and tricks on how social shopping can boost sales this Cyber Weekend, but first let’s go through a rundown of some trends that happen during this time of the year.
Activity during Cyber Weekend can be exhilarating with many merchants seeing an average increase of new orders by 135% in 2012 alone. This change is incredible and can mean the difference between a successful or unsuccessful year. You should also be prepared, provided you have great marketing and social strategy, to see revenue go up (average of 28%) and visits to your site increase too (average of 68%).
So what should you expect from Cyber Weekend? On average, 48.9% of your customers will be expecting free shipping and 31.9% will want coupons for all of your merchandise. And remember, it has also been forecast that e-commerce sales will increase by 14% over the five year period of 2012 – 2017. That is a huge increase in sales and no doubt social commerce will play a huge roll in this impact on the bottom line.
So, how do you take advantage of the extra traffic and potential new customers? Here are the top ways to utilize social commerce to boost sales this holiday season sales.
‘Tis the season for social
Make your content easy to share quickly, especially since just 1% of your audience can drive up to 10-20% of your online traffic. Sharing your content from anywhere even easier and when your customers share your content, your visibility increases. And the visibility increases to people who have the potential to be new customers.
Keyword research and selection for your brand must be carefully used along with your SEO strategy. Convert more customers by offering coupons or other incentives through your targeted campaign. Remember, many of your customers may be expecting deals on many of your products or services and creating coupons can enable direct targeting of your customers even further. One absolutely fantastic resource for creating this type of campaign is Facebook Advertising.
Social retargeting toward your brand advocates and influencers will boost the awareness of your products a great deal. Many key influencers are early adopters who can help spread the word of your brand and products to a great majority of potential customers. Knowing who they are and targeting them specifically will increase your chances of getting your brand known. And this is especially important right before the holidays.
Ensuring that your overall experience is optimized for mobile is a vital aspect of ensuring that your traffic is converting. In one day, Alibaba sold $9.3 billion in merchandise. The company noted that of those purchases, it had shipped 278 million orders — 43% of which were placed on mobile devices. Using a mobile-optimized website, ensuring that your shopping cart and checkout interfaces function well on mobile devices and minimizing the steps to get from product page to checkout will all help avoid shopping cart abandonment.
Finally, be sure to measure, analyze, and optimize your results. Having a trusted analytics platform set up so you can understand who are you are reaching, when you are reaching them, where they are located, what strategies are working, and why your campaigns are or are not working is incredibly important for a successful campaign.
The holidays can be a time of immense pressure and stress for merchants, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Having the correct strategies in place and knowing where you are targeting your potentially new customers will help your brand survive Cyber Weekend successfully.
Joe Rodriguez is Marketing Manager for social commerce application Shoppost at Zantler.