As the first month of 2017 comes to an end and (hopefully) most of the holiday hangover from the largest retail and commerce sales period of the year has worn off. It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but the 44 days preceding it after the new year can easily turn into a promotions slump. However, during any slump, there is opportunity, and now is the time to assess the holidays’ impact on your business and plan for the coming year.
If you’re not planning, you should be acting. We sat down with several ecommerce professionals to chat about how they use the time after the holidays to plan for the year ahead.
Over Deliver With a Side of Great Experience
“The best way to continue post-holiday sales is to deliver an extraordinary experience. If you made your customers happy during the holiday season, they will continue to come back throughout the New Year. We do this by delivering an exceptional experience with our gift lingerie service. For instance, we don’t just offer gift- packaging, we deliver all our lingerie in a keepsake box surrounded by real rose petals,” said Enclosed Founder & Chief Knicker Officer, Antonia Townsend.
A great experience is not just an easy, well-developed customer journey, but involves everything from customer service to ensuring you keep the conversations going.
“To succeed in 2017 and beyond, you need to create an ongoing connection and dialogue with your customer base. We engage customers by creating and delivering content on social media and email that customers actually want to read and look at. We don’t just promote our service, but rather, we offer information about relationships, gift giving and other topics throughout the year,” said Townsend.
Hint: More content about what your customers want and need, and less about you and your products. Townsend gets it.
Dig Into Your Data
“One of the keys to keeping momentum after the holiday’s is doing an analysis of how the holiday season went. What worked? What didn’t? Use this information to help inform your strategy for the rest of the year. To that end, it’s also important to identify new customers you acquired during the holiday season, high value customers, and other key groups for your industry. Once you’ve identified these groups, create a marketing strategy that leverages predictive data to re-engage them across platforms, using social, email, retargeting, and more,” said Windsor Circle’s Director of Marketing, Polly Flinch.
After the holiday intensity, the lull is the perfect opportunity to assess your existing segments, and adjust your strategy based on the past year. Between A/B tests you’ve conducted and the timing for when you sent out new promotions, you should be able to craft even more strategic campaigns this year.
Have A Subtle Touch
Each and every one of us have probably spent a bit more money than we intended during the holidays, and that means pushing a large scale promotion right now just won’t be that effective.
“The most important fact with marketing after the holidays is to remember one single thing: nobody has any money left. The large majority of people just spent a significant sum of money on gifts for their friends, family and even themselves,” said Dupray Digital Marketing Manager Matthew Mercuri. “This means that you have to market yourself in a way that is subdued. It has to come off as being understanding. If consumers smell a cash grab when they don’t have cash themselves, they’re going to tune you out. If you can present your product or service in a way that attempts to ‘help’ these people during their tough financial period, you will definitely find more success.”
Dabble in Content Marketing
Pushing new customers to your site certainly works with ads, but what about improving your organic opportunities? The SEO tactics of yesteryear are not nearly as effective due to changing search algorithms; however, high-quality content still does the trick.
“Create content on your blog related to your industry. This seems like an obvious strategy, but many companies overlook the value of content marketing. If you are a smaller ecommerce site, large vendors such as Amazon and Walmart are your nemesis. It’s a challenge to outrank them for your targeted keywords. However, they are also vulnerable because of their large size. By building focused content on your website that is relevant to your niche, you can improve your SEO and outrank bigger players,” said Bavarian Clockworks Founder Bob Ellis.
Plan For The Next Holiday
If you’re not creating content or assessing your past data, why not plan for the next holiday? While not every brand can tap into Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of other opportunities coming up, and now is the time to prep.
“Plan for the next holiday/event, e.g. I hope most retailers are already working on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day (it’s in March in the UK),” said My Beauty Matches Cofounder and Chief Product and Operations Officer Federico Raoul Cucchi.
Cucchi goes on to suggest offering specific products that ties into how we’re all feeling after the holiday period: “People want to either recover from holidays (e.g. dieting after Christmas) or prolong that holiday feeling (e.g. maintain that tan/look after your summer holiday). Therefore, you can leverage those drivers to sell appropriate products (e.g. firming creams after Christmas).”
Preparing For 2017 Promotions
Whether you’re acting, planning or prepping, the year is full holidays, events and other opportunities to drive more traffic and sales to your ecommerce site. To make things easier we’ve put together a simple promotional planner template to help keep you organized.