Have you noticed it too? It seems the e-commerce seasonality landscape has permanently changed. Previously there were a few primary annual, sometimes quarterly, sale events, such as post-Holiday January sales, summer season, Black Friday. Due to social media, it now feels like there are special discounts and online sales going on all the time – everything from International Popcorn Day to World Emoji Day.Last year’s exceptional situation has also significantly altered the e-commerce world by increasing consumers’ demand for 24/7 online service. In a study on the future of commerce, Shopify reported that: “Brands must adapt or risk becoming irrelevant. Never has the consumer expected more of businesses. Not only do shoppers want to buy online, but they also expect it to be fast and convenient.”
The report added that these shifts are sticky with 75% of the consumers saying they tried different online brands during the pandemic, 60% expecting to integrate the new brands and stores into their post-COVID lives. Mobile payments, video calling, and video conferencing, which all took hold during stay-at-home orders, are expected to persist, making competition for online retail sales increasingly fierce.
As the competitive fall holiday season approaches, e-commerce businesses need to plan ahead and develop a strong campaign calendar.
Tips for a successful online retail campaign
1. Know your audience
This by far is the most important tip of all. If you cannot accurately identify your target audience, you can’t know how best to market to them and you run the risk of missing the mark completely. Knowing your audience means identifying the following:
- Various demographic information. For example, age, gender, and location.
- Understanding where best to reach them. For example, what social platforms are they most active on?
- Their specific pain points – what problem are they seeking for your product to solve?
Knowing your audience also leads to providing a better customer experience through personalization. With consumers growing increasingly savvier, generic messages are not as effective as those that speak to them on a personal level. And studies have shown that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences, while 66% of consumers expect brands to understand their individual needs.
3. Deliver what you promise
The worst thing you can do as a business is over-promise and under-deliver. Although it may be tempting to make bold claims and promises, the short-term success you might get will not outweigh the long-term effect of a negative reputation for being a company that does not deliver on its promises.
4. Keep the stock up to date
While having your products sell out is a good problem to have, it can become a downside if your company is not equipped to restock sold out- products quickly. A third-party agent can handle the packaging and shipping of your goods to help simplify the supply chain process and improve overall service. At OGOship, we help our e-commerce customers ship their products quickly and cost-effectively.
5. Have a plan and execute it
Essential to the success of any campaign is a plan that includes the overall goal and objectives of the campaign, target, overall budget, a content calendar of events, strategies and tactics, and KPIs.
6. Have KPIs and measure results
As noted above, it is essential to establish the key performance indicators of your campaign. And specifically how you will measure and analyze the results. For e-commerce businesses, the common KPIs include conversion rate, cost of customer acquisition, shopping cart abandonment rate, average order value, and more.
Key calendar events
When developing a campaign plan, a content calendar is an essential element. It establishes the key events to center your online promotions around, which helps businesses plan better ahead. The following are a few calendar events to play around with, or even worth centering your online retail campaign around.
- Back to School – Great for e-commerce businesses that sell school-related products, as well as children’s clothes.
- World Photography Day – Great for travel-related and other visual companies. Get customers to share their best photographs for a discount or gift.
- International Youth Day – This is a perfect observance for companies that sell kids and teen-related products.
- European Heritage Days – Promotes the care and interest of various European architectural heritages across Europe.
- European Day of Languages – Annual event that celebrates the linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe.
- International Chocolate Day – Great for food-related e-commerce businesses.
- World Food Day – Perfect for food-related industries.
- International Coffee Day – Obviously great for coffee companies, but also coffee-related industries, such as books.
- Halloween – Although mostly an American celebration, many countries across Europe have adopted it as well.
- Father’s Day (Estonia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) – A few European countries, observe Father’s Day in November. If your company serves any of these locations, it’s a perfect observance for an online retail campaign.
- International Men’s Day – Like International Women’s Day, this celebration is perfect for an online promotion across multiple industries.
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday – Another celebration that originated from the US but was adopted across many European countries. Read how to prepare for Black Friday in this post from 2020.
- Christmas – Needs no explanation. Unquestionably the most important and most competitive celebration for retail companies.
- Boxing Day – Arguably most consumers experience shopping burnout by the time Christmas Day arrives. However, many consumers do shop post-Christmas as they realize it’s the perfect time for stores to offer special deals on post-Christmas items.
- New Year’s Eve/Day – Many individuals either host a New Year’s celebration or attend one, making it a perfect opportunity for online retailers to offer special deals.
Promotional campaign strategy
Once you have established the specific holidays and observances you will leverage for your online retail campaign, and have a solid plan in hand, the next step is to work out the details of your campaign. Here are some additional aspects you might want to consider.
- Pick a tactic – What are you specifically going to offer customers in your promotion? For example, it may be a buy one, get one free offer, which is one of the oldest tricks in the book for retailers because it works. Two is always going to be better than one. If a customer can get twice for the price of one, they’re unlikely to pass up the offer.
- Focus on building a seamless checkout experience – A good customer experience is essential to the success of any campaign, particularly an online retail one. If the checkout process is arduous or confusing, there is a high risk of losing a sale and potentially a customer forever.
- Get creative with custom packaging – The visual presentation is vital in the online shopping experience as the customer cannot physically touch and directly experience the product. Great packaging can help ease some of the customer’s anxiety about the product meeting their expectations.
- Promote reviews – Piggybacking off the above point, despite the continued increase of online shopping, many consumers are still wary of completely trusting e-commerce businesses to deliver what they say they will and with their private banking information. Customer reviews are an excellent way to establish credibility and build customer trust and loyalty.
The fall season is one of the most lucrative for the retail industry, which as a result, also makes it the most competitive. To stand out in a sea of competitors, it’s important to plan ahead and develop a solid campaign that targets the right audience and takes advantage of the best opportunities.