Santa shopping online

How to Effectively and Efficiently Plan a Last Minute Ecommerce Holiday Campaign

If you haven’t started planning for the holiday season, it’s time to start!

This year, hopefully most people will be enjoying quality downtime with their families. For brand marketing and communication professionals, the winter holidays are the busiest. This time of year is most important for a lot of companies, especially those in retail or Ecommerce. With COVID-19 still impacting in-store foot traffic, it’s important to have a plan that involves digital marketing and social strategy.

Holiday campaigns can seem overwhelming and repetitive because they’re done year after year, but although you’re creating the same type of content every year, you can still find simple ways to pull out fresh inspiration. Marketers have been taking full advantage of the festive year-end spirit in their holiday campaigns. Countless creative and thoughtful holiday marketing examples are out there—here are a few examples from Learn Hub you can incorporate into your brand’s strategy.

But before we dig into creating the perfect holiday campaign, it’s important to understand the impact of COVID-19 and what that means for digital and social media marketing.

Digital Focused

Ecommerce was growing at an all-time high before COVID-19 hit. But the pandemic pushed even more U.S. consumers online, contributing an additional $105 billion in U.S. online revenue in 2020 and accelerating Ecommerce by two years, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. Online sales hit $791.70 billion in 2020, up 32.4% from $598.02 billion in the prior year. That’s now the highest annual online sales growth of any year for which data is available.

Since people weren’t allowed to shop in brick and mortar, and frankly people were scared to contract COVID-19, Ecommerce thrived in 2020. According to Digital Commerce 360, Q1 results from this year show that the coronavirus is still making an impact on retail spending. Online sales increased 39% year over year in Q1 2021, nearly triple the 14% increase in Q1 2020, and faster than Q3 2020 and Q4 2020.

It is promising that retail and Ecommerce companies have already jumped on board to accommodate the current situation we live in today. With each of the above trends rising, Digital Commerce 360 has indicated that the below statements should become mandatory capabilities.

The ability to give shoppers a greater choice at something while saving them time is more than easy to like.

  1. Speed=same-day delivery
  2. Convenience=curbside pickup
  3. Concierge services now available virtually

The importance of understanding the data from last year determines this year’s promotions, sales, shopping trends, audiences and production highlights. Since the capability of curbside pickup, for example, became the fastest and easiest way consumers could receive what they need, that data shows that consumers this year are going to expect more of the fast-and-easy. Your holiday campaign will be effective if you align your digital strategy with the findings of last year.

As we approach the holiday season, we know that these three capabilities are here to stay for good. Consistency and a lot of creativity among retailers will go a long way toward satisfying their customers and shoppers. Hitting them with efficiency and all the information by channel they need to know to make their holiday shopping experience easier, will build performance and satisfaction.

Social Media

One avenue that grew even more in 2020 was social media. As the world was forced to keep distance, social media was there to connect us with our family, friends and all the brands we love.

There are 3.96 billion users on social media worldwide. That means 50.64% of the populationuses social networks, regardless of age or internet access. Until last year, most brands knew where they stood on social media and had already figured out the perfect balance of engagement, listening, content and advertising. According to MarketingWeek, in 2021, marketers will continue to use social media to meet the growing and expanding trends and use the below imperatives, especially during the holiday season:

  1. Deliver short-term ROI with targeted performance marketing tactics
  2. Build innovative digital experiences to win long-term loyalty

To effectively build your holiday campaign, the channel that is most successful due to last year is social media. Whether you deliver organic content, paid media or both, consumers are looking and searching on social media for shopping trends and the best deals. What better way to get your brand out than to put your content in front of consumers who are constantly on the main social apps.

You’ll need to learn what to measure, when to measure and how to measure. In order to achieve these goals, plan and search for ways to measure effectiveness in your company by aligning analytics with financial goals, gaining customer engagement from social feeds and, like mentioned above, have a digital-focused plan for an easy user and shopping experience.

Holiday Campaign Planning

This year, planning the perfect holiday campaign can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Shoppers have shifted their purchasing experiences but the same goal still remains: Increase sales, generate valuable leads, have an effective inbound marketing strategy, create more unique content, refresh content that works, improve the customer experience, improve customer retention, create more upsell opportunities and get more site traffic.

Not sure where to start? After reviewing last year’s audience behavior, take a moment and answer these questions to build your campaign efficiently:

  • What is the idea or concept behind your holiday marketing campaign this year?
  • What is the focus of your holiday marketing efforts?
  • What products or services will you be focused on marketing primarily?

Once those general planning questions have been answered, you’ll need to start a calendar of big shopping and giving days:

  • Black Friday: November 26, 2021
  • Small Business Saturday: November 27, 2021
  • Cyber Monday: November 29, 2021
  • Giving Tuesday: November 30, 2021
  • Last Minute Shoppers: December 13 – 23, 2021
  • Gift Card Deals: December 13 – 23, 2021

Then, you’ll need to keep in mind that the below planning tips by Constant Contact, will elevate your brand over any of the top companies.

1. Create a great holiday offer

The key to a successful offer is that it needs to be compelling enough for people to want to get on board. Adding a discount offer to any email communication that customers can redeem online is a great way to connect the user from one channel to the next. An easy tip is to add a hard-hitting word like “exclusive” or “VIP” in front of your offer to make the user feel appreciated.

Another way to keep users engaged throughout the holiday season is to run a simple contest via your social media platforms. You can generate a lot of buzz by coming up with a prize your users will love. Plus, you can add a lot of new subscribers to your email list.

There are also numerous ways to give your customers an offer they can’t resist without giving them a discount or promotion. Constant Contact has listed 7 Ways to Add Holiday Value Without Offering a Discount that can help your brand succeed.

2. Leverage the marketing channels that matter

The two key components discussed throughout this blog are digital marketing and social media marketing, especially those planning for holiday campaigns in 2021. It’s important to not only leverage the marketing channels that matter for your brand but to do a few housekeeping items before launching your holiday campaign.

It’s important to constantly optimize your website with important information for your users throughout the holiday season. Make sure that reviews and listings like Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook also have pertinent information for your user (i.e. updated hours of business, updated offers, etc.).

You’ll also want to update your website prior to launching your holiday campaign. Ultimately, you’ll want to drive people to your site to make a purchase and sign up for your email subscription to receive an exclusive offer and therefore, all information needs to be spruced and up-to-date.

Updating your profiles on social media so that they share helpful and valuable information will keep you top-of-mind to users when they are browsing for holiday gifts. Think of the hard work everyone is putting in due to the impact of COVID-19 and that users will appreciate things like behind-the-scenes pictures, tips to save time for holiday shopping, and gift guides or trends to look out for.

Another significant action to leverage your cross-channels is to encourage people to join your email list to receive exclusive holiday offers. You can announce your brand’s holiday plans, remind users about important timelines like sale offers for only a specific timeframe, and thank people for shopping with you during the holiday season. This is also a great time to collect birthday data, and anniversaries and have your users complete quick surveys to help with post-holiday and future sales. Also, it’s important to take into consideration open rates, click-through-rates and engagement within your email campaigns. To be successful, you’ll have to be agile in updating on the fly if the results aren’t where you want them.

Lastly, if you have the efforts behind it, increasing paid media efforts throughout the holiday and multiple channels increases the chances that people will find your business. Social media, Google and any other like-publication for your brand are all avenues to gain new customers or retain an existing one. Driving people from your ad to your website will increase the profitability of your holiday sales.

3. Get organized and plan your schedule

It’s inevitable that plans will change throughout the next few months, like running into stocking issues or shipping delays, but it’s important to stay organized and plan your schedule for anything to shift while the holiday season approaches.

Most importantly, running a successful holiday campaign involves a lot of cross-functional team members, who are the backbone to every process, project and campaign. It’s a great reminder to stay transparent with your team members about changes and to give them encouragement and recognition when hot fires arise that they tackle in record time. This is also why you should get started now so your holiday campaign is ready to go by mid-October, when all other companies begin launching theirs. The goal is to have the plan completed and ready to execute so you can focus time on UX updates and/or last minute adjustments based on the consumers’ feedback and shopping trends.

4. Plan to stay connected during and after the holidays

It’s very important to plan a post-holiday direction because many shoppers continue to shop past January 1. Encourage your users with a special end-of-year or after-holiday sale. This way you can reach new customers and influence repeat customers to stay with you.

From ads to email to social media, you are collecting holiday-driven data to use for new future campaigns throughout the new year. By collecting this information, you can target specific demographics or utilize specific keywords to better monetize your ad or email spend in the future.

In order to build an effective strategy, you’ll want to build content that provides answers to the questions that people have and search for online. This type of information helps your brand stand out while it helps your customers utilize your products or services better. Right after every holiday season, people start to plan for their New Year’s resolutions. What can help you stand out that offers value to them?

Now you’re ready for this holiday season!

With some deep dive planning and strategic scheduling, you can build a successful holiday marketing campaign that drives your seasonal (and post-seasonal) sales up. By focusing on digital marketing and social media marketing, your brand will see positive impacts and results from your holiday campaign. Digital sales hit $211.70 billion in the second quarter this year, up a modest 9.3% from $193.62 billion for the same period in 2020, according to Digital Commerce 360. This trend is about to impact the 2021 holiday season in the best way, so it’s important your holiday marketing campaign is perfected.

The year 2020 taught us that digital presence is only going to increase in retail and Ecommerce as the years go on. Find that festive-spirit and bring the energy to your brand presence. We all need it! Contact us if we can help you with your Ecommerce holiday campaign.

Marissa Locher

Marissa Locher

Senior Digital Project Manager

Marissa is currently a Senior Digital Project Manager at TBA but has held a variety of marketing and communications positions throughout her career. Originally from Wisconsin, Marissa got her Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. When Marissa isn’t in the office, she enjoys being outside whether that is hiking or living on the beach, live music and camping with her husband and dog.

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