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Plan Promotions Now to Reach Early Holiday Shoppers

Although the calendar says we have just changed seasons from summer to autumn, ecommerce pros see fertile ground where others see falling leaves. Consumers have been teaching retailers they are willing to shop earlier for their holiday wants and needs. Many online sellers happily work to reach those buyers.

Simon Poulton, who is a Strategist at Wpromote, gave EcommerceBytes a look into holiday preparedness. Poulton suggested sellers need to consider their current customers as they reach out for early holiday shoppers.

Getting attention and brand awareness is very important at this time, as many consumers will continue shopping right up until the final weekend before Christmas.

“If you’re not already actively remarketing to previous website visitors, actively place cookies on your website to re-engage your interested audience with holiday specific promotions,” Poulton said. “When looking at promotions, it’s also important to review previous holiday trends and understand what items will be top performers, both in terms of traffic to your site and revenue.”

“Now would be a great time to start thinking about deals they can offer to previous customers that provide “refer a friend” benefits or other ways to engage new customers.”

Poulton also urged those without a good mobile presence to remedy that quickly. “This past year 53% of those shopping online used smartphones or tablets (up from 41% the previous year) with the trend looking to continue, SMB’s will miss out a large opportunity if these website isn’t mobile friendly.”

As regular EcommerceBytes readers already know, Google is favoring mobile-friendly sites in their searches.

Even though it’s early in the shopping season, Poulton noted how a small slice of the marketplace may be closer to finishing than starting their buying. “While it is hard to pinpoint specific product segments across all retailers, there has been an overall trend to start holiday shopping earlier than in previous years. A recent study from CreditCards.com indicated that 2% of shoppers say they have already completed their holiday shopping and that many of them are parents looking for children’s gifts.”

Again, understanding one’s selling trends becomes very important to finding early sales. “Take a look at things like average order size and develop free shipping promotions early in the season based on these numbers. More than just driving early sales, this is a great way to generate positive word of mouth leading into the holiday season,” Poulton said.

The ancient caveat of the early bird getting the proverbial worm definitely applies. “Retailers that are capturing early holiday sales are organized and have a clear sense of their holiday promotions early. It’s too late to start thinking about promotions for November at the end of October,” said Poulton. “Consumers have a finite amount of money allocated to the holiday season, and gaining that share of mind and share of wallet early is very important.”

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.