Last Minute Holiday Tips May Help You Stand Out

Oct 30, 2011 11:29 PM  By

Preparing for the holidays is about more than just preparing for Black Friday and optimizing ad triggers, timing and calls to action.

Of course, all of these requirements can make or break a merchant’s holiday season, but adding other lesser-asked questions to the mix can help merchants go the extra mile to edge out the competition and win more holiday business. Consider the following five.

Who are you, shopper?
The holidays may affect who visits a merchant’s site. A merchant typically catering to male executive sports enthusiasts can benefit by adapting to the needs of their gift-giving spouses and children during the holidays. Merchants should make sites approachable to these new visitors.

Help shoppers navigate the sophisticated hobbies and tastes of their loved ones, for example, by providing a holiday section and a variety of gift guides: Today’s most popular gifts, people who own this want this, best gifts for Teens, best gifts under $20, most popular in your neighborhood, etc.

Marketers may need to adjust paid search campaign triggers and copy to capture the language of these gift givers.

Are we helping people squeeze in a little shopping?
Holidays make people busy. Marketers should cater to consumers who surf during off hours and from a variety of devices.

Most experts today cite at least ten percent of paid search impressions being served to mobile phones and tablets, and the best performing keywords in mobile paid search campaigns may vary greatly from their online counterparts. Marketers can also reach late night audiences with “daily deal” Facebook postings, offers for those who “like” ads and newsletters with increasing discounts as the season closes.

Can we better serve helpful information to customers?
Marketers can increase holiday relevance by leveraging dynamic insertion of target keywords into paid search titles; layering in additional “holiday guide” emails; promoting video montages of their hottest gifts; and providing holiday imagery and useful information in “holiday shipping,” “gift returns” and other sections on their sites.

Brick and mortar locations should be easy to find, with store address, phone number, hours, driving directions, return policies and confirmation of what is and isn’t in stock all readily available online.
Are we helping customers accessorize?

Gift givers and recipients are likely to purchase accessories — holders, chargers, spare batteries, games, joysticks and such. Marketers ought to stock up, ensure product descriptions include specs on accessories and add suggested accessories within the checkout process.

Can we better capitalize on the gaps?
Does the competition have areas to be exploited? Are they running out of paid search budget everyday at a certain time? Does their lack of inventory represent an opportunity? If demand persists, marketers can increase budget and expand competitive keyword lists to capture competitors’ missed opportunities. Do competitors think the season is over after Christmas? Not so – marketers can promote accessories and second purchase discounts to win here.

Can we capitalize on procrastination?
Marketers can win big by catering to those who have missed standard shipping windows or may not know the physical address of the recipient.

Offer overnight shipping if possible. Consider partnering with local distribution centers to help you capture 11th-hour shoppers. Enable gift cards, premium wrapping services and hand written cards. Enable digital gift cards that can be delivered via email. Affiliates or local brick and mortar employees can even serve as last minute delivery teams.

In some cases, people will pay anything to have something show up in time, and marketers that find ways to extend delivery past FedEx and UPS cutoffs often reap big rewards.

Aimee Reker (Aimee.Reker@FRWDco.com) is partner, media services at digital marketing agency FRWD.