No matter where you are in your planning, there are ways to ensure your 2015 holiday season truly sparkles. You have probably already established the foundation and framework for your holiday marketing, although the season is always packed with unexpected shifts in consumer shopping habits that necessitate last-minute changes.
As you make the transition from preseason planning to the beginning of the 2015 holiday season, take on these holiday to-dos to punch up some often overlooked aspects of your holiday campaigns and prepare yourself for the time when your plans don’t pan out.
Prepare an Apology
The holidays can be a stressful, chaotic time for commerce marketers. Now that you have started to lock down your holiday plan, take the time to create an apology-themed email template that will help you quickly react when your shiny strategies turn into a lump of coal. Bronto studies indicate that 4-5% of brands will send an email apologizing for mistakes in email content or problems on the website during the holidays.
Additionally, create an email production and crisis management plan. Meet with your extended team – marketing, designers, production, email service provider, etc. – to discuss the entire process, from program conception to post-deployment analysis. Together, you can identify potential glitches and how to address them. Make an emergency contact list and protocol so you can take rapid action if things go wrong.
Maximize the Email Navigation Options
Having a holiday-centric navigation in your email provides additional shopping opportunities for your subscribers and gives them something new, fun and festive to see. It can also serve as a key area in which to highlight the gifting section of your site, staff picks, customer service information, shipping deadlines, store hours and more. Start thinking about how you can introduce different holiday-centric visuals in your messaging as the season progresses, to help keep things fresh.
Identify Remailing Opportunities
You are probably close to finalizing your email communication plan for the holidays. If you’re like most retailers, you are going to really increase your email cadence at this time of year. But be strategic with your sends. Identify remailing opportunities to specific segments that could help you boost sales and engagement without having to send to your entire subscriber list. Those who opened but didn’t click could receive bolder calls to action or other creative variation in the email. Subscribers who clicked but didn’t buy could receive an extra incentive to encourage them to complete their order.
Finalize a Shipping Deadline Communication Plan
Create a sense of urgency and avoid shopper disappointment by clearly communicating shipping deadlines throughout the holiday season. If you haven’t already, consider dedicating a secondary section of your email to consistently inform shoppers about shipping deadlines. This not only helps keep the customer informed, but it will also help increase a sense of urgency to start shopping! Additionally, consider sending dedicated messages close to expiration dates, such as the last day for standard, priority or overnight shipping. When those deadlines have expired, highlight the options for in-store pickup and gift-wrapping services, which can encourage the procrastinators to keep shopping.
The holidays are already upon us. Many retailers have already launched their early holiday campaigns, and shoppers have started checking off their lists. While preseason planning is essential to holiday success, commerce marketers should continually audit performance and find ways to optimize the shopping experience for the holiday shopper.
Jim Davidson is the head of research for Bronto Software