Digital Strategy

Quick tips for maximizing holiday sales from digital marketing experts who know

by Holly Hilton | October 7, 2021

Yes. You’re reading yet another guide on how to boost your sales during the holiday season… however, this time you’re reading from the POV of a collective of digital marketing ninjas who live and breathe digital all. day. every. day. We know.

First, some fun and festive statistics:

  • 11% of global retail ecommerce revenue in 2020 was from social commerce, generating $474 billion [Grand View Research]
  • 2021 holiday sales are expected to climb 11.3% to $206.88 billion [source]
  • Digital’s role in shopping has been cemented, as more than 70% of surveyed participants reported their shopping journey involved online touchpoints [source]

Think of it as a marathon not a sprint

Thanks to factors such as the global supply chain shortage and concerns over shipping times, the holiday shopping season has already kicked off, and it’ll run past Christmas, Boxing Day, and right through the new year.

To avoid burning through your entire media spend before even hitting the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, we recommend taking your promotional calendar and overlaying it with your budget to predetermine where it makes sense to ramp up, and where you can afford to be more conservative. Competition will be extremely high on days like BFCM, so you may also want to consider a more sophisticated audience targeting strategy to ensure your ads are hitting the right people to maximize conversion and spend throughout the long holiday shopping season.

Promotions aren’t optional—they’re expected

Speaking of promotions… during the extended holiday shopping season, promotions aren’t just a nice-to-have, they are now considered a must. We recommend employing one (or all!) of the following promotion types:

  • Free shipping
  • Season-long “sales” or discounts
  • Buy now, save more later coupons

Since the holiday buying season is so long, we also recommend doing some A/B testing on any promotions you try out. A/B testing provides the means to control the risk of deciding in favor or against a particular promotion type.

Giving Tuesday gives warm fuzzies all around

Not only is it simply part of being a good human or a good organization to give to charity and to support causes you believe in, it feels good. And not just to you, but your customers, too! Messaging around Giving Tuesday can lead to long-term customer engagement, supporting sustainability. By leveraging the following search engine optimization (SEO)-related tactics, you can maximize the positive impact of your Giving Tuesday messaging: 

  • Select a URL that’s optimized for Giving Tuesday, like “/giving-tuesday” (and then plan to use it each year)
  • In addition to onsite SEO of the page with your Giving Tuesday messaging, we recommend generating a buzz around it through social media, which will gain the page backlinks (translation—it’ll help your page rank higher in search results)
  • For smaller businesses, consider focusing locally—for example, “Giving Tuesday California” or even more granularly, “Giving Tuesday San Diego”

Factor in the Amazon Effect

As retailers and brick and mortar (B&M) adjust to the on-demand societal needs of consumers, it’s critical to factor in the Amazon Effect (that is, the impact created by the digital marketplace on traditional B&M business, including shopping patterns and customer expectations). Almost half (47%) of brands selling on Amazon got 51% or more of their 2020 ecommerce sales from Amazon (up from 42% in 2019). Here are a few things we recommend doing to gain an edge:

  • Maintain sufficient inventory to support traffic, because a lot of Amazon sellers will experience delays in inventory—this is an opportunity to offer the goods sooner
  • Adopt a flexible return and exchange policy—Amazon offers extended returns and exchanges, so do the same to be competitive
  • Offer free expedited shipping for as long as it makes sense timing-wise
  • If you have a B&M presence, provide an express checkout option so your customers won’t dread waiting in long lines

Be social…

Have you heard the news about TikTok’s recent expansion of their Shopify partnership? You can count on this having an impact on holiday shopping! We recommend adopting the TikTok for Business new shopping tab, which allows for mini storefronts on profiles.

It’s not just all about TikTok either. According to Google, 91% of its feed users took some
kind of shopping or product-related action immediately after discovering new products, services, or brands on their feeds. And, 70% of shoppers report buying from a brand after seeing it on YouTube.

There’s a long way to go before we can call it a wrap on this holiday season, but with these expert digital marketing tips and insights, we wish you a warm, fuzzy, and profitable holiday season. If you need some last-minute help to implement any of these digital marketing tactics, reach out to see how Apiary may be able to help!

A special thanks to the following Apiary Digital consultants for their expert insights: Ayonija Gupta, Jessica Baker, Amanda Shelley, Morgan Mischler.