Christmas Digital Marketing Strategies For eCommerce Stores

$11bn of online sales. 34 million online transactions. $785 average holiday shopping spend. These stats don’t lie… Christmas stands as Australia’s largest annual online shopping event! The sound of these figures are like music to eCommerce ears. With the right digital marketing strategy, eCommerce stores can reap the benefits of the festive season. This is of course easier said than done: to be the purple cow in the crowded online room, you’re going to have to present a pearler of a strategy that cuts through the competitive clutter. And that’s why you’re here! Read on to discover Devote’s suggested digital marketing strategies for eCommerce businesses to implement this Christmas season. The blog covers the bare basics any serious eCommerce business should jump onto. First, a number of marketing calendar suggestions are presented. This is followed by content & communication suggestions, Facebook advertising strategies and Google advertising strategies.

1. Marketing Calendar Suggestions

The marketing calendar is a golden tool for any eCommerce business. Marketing calendars are living calendar documents used to organise annual digital marketing efforts. With several handful channels to juggle, a number of major sales periods/campaigns to action and countless to-dos to tick off the list, a marketing calendar is a must-have for all eCommerce businesses! With the Christmas season well into swing, Devote recommends adding a number of the following suggestions to your digital marketing calendar. Keep in mind: these suggestions should be actioned throughout your content (section 2), Facebook advertising (section 3) and Google advertising (section 4) at the bare minimum!

a. Gift guide

Customers are lazy. By spoon feeding your target audiences with a tailored gift guide, you’re removing some purchasing barriers from their plate, of which boosts the likelihood of conversions. When approaching gift guides, our advice is to keep it simple. Make gift guides price-based (“Gifts Under $50”, “Gifts Under $100” etc.) or category-based (“Gifts For Her”, “Gifts For Him” etc.). You can send gift ideas via numerous channels: a website landing page, email campaigns & Facebook campaigns. Example: Client Adreno Spearfishing’s “Christmas Gift Guide” Campaign

b. Gift With Purchase

Offering a free gift with each online order is another way to win potential customers over. There are many ways to approach gifting, and would of course depend on your type of business, customers and products. While many eCommerce businesses offer a free, low-cost gift for online orders (e.g. “free towel with each wetsuit purchased!”), a successful alternative we’ve witnessed for clients is offering a free gift card (e.g. “spend over $150 and receive a $30 gift card!”). Since many online shoppers tend to buy Christmas presents for themselves (no shame), offering a “free gift card” kills two bird with one stone, as they can score themselves some sweet gear and present a gift card to a loved one! Example: Client AMA Warehouse Black Friday EDM Campaign

c. Gift Bundles

Depending on your business type & product, gift bundles can really separate your gift from competitors! Since customers are lazy (remember?), they’re likely to latch onto any easy gifting idea possible. Extra brownie points if the gift is unique too, right? It’s a win win! Example: Beer Days Beer Subscription

d. Free Shipping

Let’s be real: customers demand free shipping. A online trend has been sweeping across online shopping the previous 5 years, where eCommerce businesses offer free shipping as a USP to win over customers. It’s becoming the norm, and very will will be in due time. If your online store currently offers flat rate shipping, why not offer free shipping over the Christmas season? If you sell bulky items and free shipping is not viable, offer cheap shipping (e.g. “$5 Shipping!”) while increasing product retail prices to absorb the shipping expense while maintaining your margins.

e. Merry Christmas Emails

‘Tis the season to be festive and spread joy. And what better to spread old fashion joy than an (electronic) letter? Every eCommerce business should be sending email campaigns throughout the Christmas season (and all year, at that!), both to push promotional efforts, and also to wish customers a Merry Christmas and thank them for their loyal support! One unique EDM campaign idea is to offer customers a genuinely personalised present: customised coupon codes. A number of external integrations exist to sync randomly-generated Mailchimp promo codes with your CMS (e.g. Coupon Carrier & Voucherify).

f. 12 Days Of Christmas

While a rather cliché campaign to consider running, the classic “12 Days Of Christmas” digital marketing campaign can be a winner if executed creatively. 12 Days Of Christmas campaigns typically offer 12 unique deals towards the lead up of Christmas. For a 12 Days campaign to be successful, you’ll need to nail the following: huge savings on popular products, creative promotional design & strong advertising campaigns (ideally a sales funnel, including campaign awareness, lead generation & abandoned cart remarketing). Example: AMA 2017 12 Days Of Christmas Campaign

g. Don't Forget Boxing Day!

Christmas is the biggest online sale period of the year, but Boxing Day is the biggest online sale single day of the year by miles. This is a trend experienced by all Devote eCommerce clients. In the past we’ve had to encourage clients exhausted from the busy Christmas period to trust us and run simple Boxing Day campaigns. The results are always astounding. The example below is one client’s results from their 2017 Boxing Day sale, highlighted as the peak.

h. Gift Cards

Remember again how customers are lazy? Well, gift cards are a wildly popular match. Gift cards serve as a go-to easy win for eCommerce businesses during the Christmas period, due to the popularity of gifting gift-cards. Gift cards campaigns are especially ideally to push after the Christmas shipping cut off date.

i. Urgency

A sense of urgency works wonders with converting online shoppers. During the Christmas sales period, it’s best practice to incorporate countdown timers on your emails and website to make it as clear to glass to customers when they must order before the sale ends or so they have guaranteed delivery for Christmas. Example: Wetsuit Warehouse Christmas Sale Timer

2. Content & Communication

If you want Christmas success, you have to assure that it’s not just your marketing calendar events that scream red and green. All other communication touchpoints should capture the Christmas spirit! The following suggestions are ways you can achieve just that:

a. Christmas-ify Your Channels

If you want your brand to stand out during Christmas, make sure all channels are jolly. These include your website, social media channels (Facebook, Instagram & others) and your EDM campaigns. Actioning little Christmas flairs throughout your web design, profile pictures, social media bios and email templates take a few hours at the most, and leave a lasting warm impression in your customer's eye. Example: Client Louenhide’s Christmas-ifying (Website & Email Campaign)

b. Get Punny

‘Tis the season to be silly, too. How to you achieve this? Puns of course! Throughout your communications, ensure that you’re keeping the Christmas spirit alive with humour (a.k.a. puns). We suggest putting together a list of 15 Christmas puns, and using them throughout the season in social media & EDM campaigns, as well as organic content. Here are some witty pun examples, that you can start with. Remember to be creative!
  • Make it rein with these gift i-deers!
  • Don’t be elfish this Christmas, share the love and stuff some stockings with these!
  • Have the final sleigh, Boxing Day sale on now.
  • We’re feeling a little Santa-mental about our customers this year.

c. Video Content

When it comes to Facebook, video content is king. And if you’re going to want to hold your organic and paid reach throughout the saturated Christmas season, you’re going to need to get producing, pronto! An example of fun, Christmas video content that almost any brand could produce is a gift guide video: Example: Adreno Spearfishing Gift Guide Video

d. Packaging - Old School Flyer & Christmas-ify packaging!

eCommerce is purely online… Right? Not exactly! The way your customer receives their parcel from the postman should represent your brand as much as you website homepage should. Get creative with your Christmas order packaging, keeping onbrand, while incorporating some Christmas flairs. One way to achieve the Christmas spirit is to include an "old-school" flyer in parcels with a thank you note and incentive to repurchase next year. Another way, is of course to get Christmassy from a design perspective!

3. Facebook Advertising Strategy

Facebook & Instagram are two social media channels that every eCommerce business must advertise on during the Christmas period. You can’t just ‘rely on organic posts’ during the busiest sales period of the year! In your Facebook/Instagram tool kit, it’s best practice for your eCommerce business to implement the following ads as part of your sales funnel:

a. Awareness Campaigns

b. Remarketing Campaigns

c. Afterpay Campaigns

d. Dynamic Abandoned Cart (Or Remarketing) Campaigns

4. Google Advertising Strategy

When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, you’ve got to let our good-friend Google help us out, too! Christmas-ifying evergreen Google paid search, display and video campaigns takes a mere few hours, but is truly worth the efforts. Not only do you boost click-through rates through the roof (particularly if you’re mentioning a massive sale!), but you’ll stand out from competitors as many industry eCommerce players don’t bother touching their Google Advertising during the Christmas period. We recommend making the following adjustments to your Google Campaigns:

a. Paid Search Ad Copy

Mention your online store’s Christmas sale via all of your paid search ad copy. It’s best practice to get granular, and adjust copy for all ad groups (e.g. dedicated “motorcycle gloves” and “motorcycle helmets” ad). Example: Granular Christmas Sale Ad Copy

b. Keywords Strategy

During the Christmas season, a number of keyword trends shift in certain industries. Namely, particular search terms spike in volume. It’s best to undertake some research via Google Trends, the Google Keywords Planner Tool and SEMRush (paid tool) to identify trends and ensure your business is catering to all opportunities on the plate. For example, if your product offering is seasonal and spikes during the Christmas season, adjust keywords & boost budgets significantly during the peak season to capitalise on high search volumes. Example: SUP Board Searches: seasonal spike during Australian summer (Christmas months)

c. Video Awareness Campaign

YouTube awareness ads are a must-implement during the Christmas season. Pre-roll ads are an ideal choice for both raising awareness with colder audiences (interest or behaviour based), and remarketing to warm audiences (previous web traffic). Example: Adventure Moto Christmas Sale Pre-roll Ad eCommerce businesses: don’t be a mistle-toad this Christmas. It’s not too late to jump to it and capitalise on the biggest sale period of the year! By implementing into action a number of the marketing calendar suggestions, Christmas-ifying your communication/channels and executing creative Facebook/Instagram and Google advertising campaigns, you’re on your way to smashing your eCom goals this Christmas.