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How to prepare for the festive season

All I want for Christmas is profit. Lots of profit.

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Ah, the summer is coming to an end...

Getting back to your usual rhythm can be a challenge when your head is still full of memories of palm trees, naps and granitas. However, this is not the time to slacken off when you are an e-merchant: on the contrary, it is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of your competitors and to plan your marketing strategy for the long succession of holidays that awaits us in the fall.

The figures are there to prove it: online shopping has never been so popular. In 2021, according to a study by Retail Dogma, online sales increased by 9.4% over the holiday season compared to 2020. Impressive, isn't it? It would be a shame not to respond to such a collective spending spree.

That's why it's a good idea to start thinking about your holiday marketing strategy as early as September, or even August; it may seem a little premature, but believe us, it's worth it. Come on, follow us to the land of elves, turkeys with chestnuts and discounts by the bucketful, you won't regret it.

Choose the dates that best suit your targets

From October onwards, as you can see from our carefully designed calendar just for you, there are many different holidays. As you know, it is necessary to know who you want to address when you are developing your brand. This information is also relevant when choosing the holidays you want to honor: not all of these dates are celebrated by the same audience.

The most "neutral" events are probably Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which will bring together savings and bargain seekers of all nationalities and beliefs. At the same time, holidays such as Thanksgiving, for example, will not be accessible to everyone; only Canadians (for October 10) and Americans (November 24). Even if you are addressing an audience of one of these two nationalities, the event can be tricky to cover because of its political connotation.

Similarly, Christmas is far from being a holiday celebrated by everyone: it will be by Christians as well as by Westerners, especially in countries where the date is a public holiday. Halloween will also have a particular target group: rather young and Western. It's up to you to decide which of these events are relevant to your audience. You are far from being forced to be present on as many dates as possible, don't forget our credo: quality prevails over quantity.

Adapting your catalogue to better appeal

Each holiday has its own lexicon, customs and palette of colors . Draw inspiration from this and hit the bull's-eye by offering products specially designed for the holiday in question, not least because this will give your products an aspect of exclusivity with real marketing power. Indeed, customers are more likely to take the plunge if the limited nature of the offer gives them a sense of urgency. If you don't have an idea for a seasonal design, you can remix your greatest hits to suit the holiday you're interested in: don't be ashamed to recycle - you can't change a winning team. And don't forget to offer customizable products: as we saw in a previous article, these are extremely trendy and make very popular gifts.

A little tip to better engage your audience: the famous site PlaceIt offers, among its thousands of virtual settings, mock-ups that are perfect for illustrating the atmosphere of certain seasonal events. There is nothing better to optimise your impact on your audience than to display a super-clean catalogue composed of visuals that seem to be taken straight from a photo shoot planned for the occasion. Here is a small example of how this can be done:

You can almost smell the comforting aroma of hot chocolate and cinnamon biscuits through your screen: believe us, an atmosphere as elaborate as this one is a big seller.

Another essential point: the relevant selection of products adapted to the sales of the season. An overly extensive catalog can confuse the consumer, so make sure you handpick your products to offer only the best, the must-have, the crème de la crème. The T-shirt, for example, will always be a hit, since it will be worn in summer and winter, under sweaters and hoodies. The mug, whether enamel or ceramic, is a natural favorite for the hot beverage season. Home decor items such as posters and cushions, during a time when we enjoy our cocoon more than ever, are also real bestsellers. If you wonder about the popularity of a certain product, don't hesitate to test the field with Google Trends by putting to the test the keywords of your choice.

Bring out your best marketing assets

An attentive public, wallets ready to be drawn... The end-of-year celebrations are the perfect time to bring out the heavy artillery of marketing tools: among these, we can count for example cross-selling, thanks to which you offer your customers products that match those they are interested in or that they have already ordered in the past, but also the elaboration of famous gift boxes or guides, increasing your chances of making larger orders while facilitating the quest for presents on the part of your customers.

What would Black Friday and Cyber Monday be without their breathtaking promotions? A Friday and a Monday that are all too ordinary, in short. As an e-tailer, it would be a shame to miss out on these two opportunities to optimise your conversion rate: put all your chances on your side by offering discounts on the prices in your catalogue, promotional codes specially designed for the occasion or even by offering delivery to your customers. Once again, the feeling of exclusivity of an offer is a very effective marketing lever.

It would be unthinkable to develop a marketing strategy without even considering an e-mail campaign; according to CampaignMonitor, e-mail is responsible for 20% of online shop visits during the holiday season. Similarly, customers who receive a promotional e-mail are likely to spend 138% more than other consumers. Convinced? What are you saying? More than ever? We know what you mean... Don't neglect the power of e-mail and use it without hesitation to announce your exclusive offers, your cross-selling suggestions or your gift guides.

Optimising your shop for mobile

Have you noticed that the practice of online shopping, not so long ago exclusively reserved for computers, is declining on mobile devices at a simply staggering speed? The figures don't lie: according to the WesternUnion website, during the 2018 holiday season, 48% of purchases worldwide were made on mobile. What seemed impractical just a short while ago is now becoming the norm: even though screen sizes haven't increased all that much, it's actually online stores that have adapted to mobiles to become increasingly ergonomic.

It is therefore essential to optimize your theme for use on smartphones, especially if your store is hosted by Shopify or Woocommerce. Certain themes with little functionality will discourage consumers, which is why it's a good idea to choose a mobile-responsive skin (i.e. one that's flexible according to the width of the screen used).

If your store is aimed at a younger target audience (such as millenials or Generation Z), it may also be a good idea to activate the store option on your Instagram account, as so-called "Social Shopping" (i.e. shopping via social networks) has been gaining momentum in recent years. This practice favors a quick purchase and centralizes brand image, consumer reviews and sales in one and the same place, reinforcing the consumer's sense of trust.

Want to explore ways to make your shop more mobile-friendly? Look no further! We recently put together a comprehensive guide especially for you:

Life is so good.

... Not forgetting practical information

Selling is good, but selling AND keeping your customers is even better. Don't hesitate to be transparent with your audience and to provide them with as much useful information as possible, such as the return policy or the expected production and delivery time, taking into account the increased number of orders. This last point is important, especially in Print on Demand, as it is not only about shipping the products but also about printing them. Usually around 2 to 3 days, allow 5 days for the production and shipping of your customer's order. To save your customers the trouble of calculating, you can also provide them with a deadline before which they can order to receive their items on time.

The point of keeping your customers well informed is, first and foremost, to maximise their satisfaction; after a bad surprise, the customer will be very unlikely to come back to you, and this is particularly unfortunate as customer retention can be a major facet of a profitable e-commerce. Similarly, displaying useful information before you are asked for it en masse will allow you to avoid spending precious hours answering each of your customers individually on your technical support, so that you can instead spend that time designing your bestseller and/or enjoying your loved ones, a little like them:

The whole year is full of marketing events that your e-commerce business can take advantage of, but if there's one time when you can pull out all the stops, it's during the holiday season. Consumers are in the starting blocks, ready to rain down hundreds (or thousands, for the greediest) of bills. It's up to you to beckon them to come and spend them with YOU, thanks to good preparation, transparency and marketing tips. We hope you monetize your business about as much as we love you (that is, ad infinitum).