The countdown to Christmas started earlier than ever this year — with holiday-related searches on Pinterest spiking by 77% this past April compared to 2019. After a tumultuous 2020, consumers are looking ahead and daydreaming about the comfort of the holidays, even if festivities may look a little different this year.
This year’s holiday shopping season is gearing up to be longer than that of previous years, with 74% of consumers looking to spread out their gift buying over several months, according to the National Retail Federation. Not surprisingly, due to the pandemic and social distancing, ecommerce purchases are expected to increase, with 71% of U.S. adults planning to do more than half of their holiday shopping online this year, according to eMarketer. To make the best of this trend, ecommerce players should focus on providing a satisfying, enjoyable, and hassle-free digital experience.
Even though traditional U.S. shopping holidays are in a state of flux due to COVID-19, the following dates still serve as good reference points for advertisers to keep in mind:
Black Friday, November 27, 2020
Cyber Monday, November 30, 2020
Super Saturday, December 19, 2020 in the U.S.
Now, let’s explore some ways in which advertisers can best connect with customers to drive sales and ensure a great ROI.
Tip 1: Nudge Customers to Order Early
While many people will shop earlier than usual this year, it’s important to note that 32% of consumers are planning to wait until November to start shopping, according to recent data from Blackfriday.com. Perhaps there’s something normal about 2020 after all!
As we get closer to Christmas, however, shipping volume is bound to increase. Early November marks a crucial time for advertisers to highlight their companies’ shipping speed. Shoppers in 2020 expect shipping to be free and incredibly quick — with 44% of U.S. consumers ranking free two-day shipping as the most important consideration when buying things online. In November, there’s ample time before Christmas, and advertisers should thus emphasize their shipping speed and encourage people to place orders early to avoid rushed shipping or out-of-stock items — especially in the midst of the pandemic as free shipping cutoffs may end earlier than usual.
As for last-minute shoppers, a recent study found that 89% of consumers are willing to give retailers extra time to deliver packages this holiday season in return for perks like free shipping.
Tip 2: Get Festive With Your Content
Throughout the holiday season, consumers see and interact with hundreds of ads. It’s thus essential to make sure that your content is unique and eye-catching. Native advertisers should prioritize the use of seasonal keywords, ensuring that they grab the attention of relevant consumers and maximize their CTR.
For example, many people search online for “gifts for friends,” “holiday gift ideas,” “presents for mom,” “fun stocking stuffers,” etc., in the hopes of finding the perfect presents for their friends and family. Knowing this, native advertisers should consider working these words or phrases into their content – both in the ad itself, and on their landing page(s). This exercise will help grab peoples’ attention if they happen to come across your ad, and will also help with SEO efforts. If you’re planning an SEM campaign, it would be wise to consider bidding on keywords like these.
Native advertisers will also benefit from creating festive, optimized landing pages. As an example, for consumers who are looking for gifts for friends and family, a gift guide would serve as a great type of original content to offer gift suggestions and also promote your own products at the same time. There are myriad ways to approach landing page content, but as a general rule of thumb it’s best to provide truly useful information to complement your sales pitch. Otherwise, readers are likely to be turned off by a “hard sell” approach.
Tip 3: Offer Special Christmas Deals
As covered in our Cyber Monday post, high discounts run the risk of negatively impacting sales, as consumers associate a massive discount with high risk or untrustworthiness. Moderate deals of 30% off tend to be a more appealing and brand-preserving choice, and actually convert quite well.
Regardless, ecommerce brands can leverage scarcity or “limited time only” specials when it comes to offering holiday deals. For example, Bombas, a socially conscious, direct-to-consumer sock company, last year ran a one-week long promotion offering its customers free two-day shipping on orders of $75 or more. This move helped Bombas drive 2019 holiday sales and is a strategy the company looks to replicate in 2020. The success of this campaign stems from the limited-time offer and promise of a timely delivery.
Despite any pre-holiday jitters, we hope this post leaves you more prepared to navigate the coming weeks and execute your best holiday campaign yet. As a reminder, people have been looking forward to the holidays since April — with this in mind, you should be excited and ready to embrace this one-of-a-kind season.