Online sales are expected to explode this year. Marketing giant Forrester predicts an 18% increase in eCommerce sales this holiday season over last year. It’s essential to know how to increase sales during the holiday season and ensure you get as big a slice of the pie as possible.
The coronavirus pandemic has put brick and mortar stores to the test, with many of them being forced to close leading up to the holidays and many others seeing a dramatic reduction in foot traffic. Shoppers are concerned they’ll catch COVID-19 if they spend too much time outside, and eCommerce sales are going through the roof as a result.
I’m going to show you how to take your online sales to the next level in time for the holiday shopping rush this year.
- These tricks are relevant for everyone from beginners to seasoned veterans of eCommerce.
- They’re mostly free to implement.
- And they will increase your sales.
Proven ways to skyrocket online sales during holidays 2020
A new study by Dynata for Redpoint Global found that 60% of customers surveyed said they intend to do all of their holiday shopping online this year. That’s big. Very big.
If you want to make bank this holiday season, you’re going to have to focus your efforts online. Here’s how to do that effectively.
Set up a new Facebook Shop
Facebook Shops are a brand new feature from the world’s largest social media platform. It allows you to set up a mobile-first storefront to sell wares on Facebook. What’s best? It’s free to use. Facebook will rely on the money they make through merchants advertising their stores, which will be a lot.
Facebook is moving to become the next big player in eCommerce and product discoverability. The new Facebook Shops feature, combined with the platform’s 2.7 billion users, will fuel these very realistic ambitions.
Use the Socialshop app to set up Facebook Shops
The Socialshop app is a free way to sync your existing product catalog from your eCommerce store to Facebook Shops and update it every three hours. It also allows one-step onboarding so you can save time and effort when setting up your Facebook Shop.
Socialshop lets you optimize your product listings to make the Facebook algorithm happy. This means your products will be more likely to show up when users make a search.
Facebook Shops is still a new feature that hasn’t even launched in some countries yet. This means getting ahead of the competition now could make you one of the big players in the space later on. The key is optimizing your products for the Facebook algorithm.
PRO TIP: Use Facebook Pixel
Amazingly, most merchants that sell on Facebook don’t use Facebook Pixel to track their customer behavior and demographics. This information can be used to optimize your social media content and ad campaigns.
There’s a reason most of the richest companies in the world today are tech-related: they have the data - and while content is king, it’s data that places the crown.
Look out for Instagram Shops
The Facebook Shop feature has also expanded to include an Instagram Shopping platform. This is currently not available for all merchants but is expected to be fully rolled out next year. Keep your eye on this to make sure you get in early.
List your products on Google Merchant Center
Google Shopping is another free sales channel that you should be using to maximize your conversions. You can use the Socialshop app that helped you set up your Facebook Shop to keep your products synced to the Google Merchant Center as well, also for free.
Keep the Google feed happy
The most important thing to consider when adding products to Google Merchant Center is to fill out as much information in ‘the feed’ as possible. The feed is how Google indexes your products and chooses who to show them to and when. It includes information such as:
- Product size, color, material
- Country of origin
- Brand, and so on
Use Google Shopping ads to increase visibility
Google Shopping ads convert well. It’s generally accepted that sellers make more money back from Google Shopping ads than they invest in them. It’s important to plan your Google Ads campaigns, which means researching the best keywords and the best products to include.
You can find out more about how to run successful Google Shopping ad campaigns here.
Keep a consistent content schedule
Content is king for driving organic traffic to your online store. Whether it be blog posts on your website or sharing promotions and positive reviews on social media, content works. The key to having an effective content marketing strategy is to be consistent and always provide value to the reader or viewer - like what I’m doing right now.
Do not blindly post content. It’s important to keep a content schedule so you can plan ahead and make sure your posts are relevant to holidays, seasons, and product launches, as well as to ensure you’re not repeating previous content.
Using a content planner tool, like the Socialpublish app, will help you to plan content ahead and auto-schedule posts to Facebook and Twitter so you have less work to worry about. It’s free to use and will give you a more effective content plan.
The key things to remember about content posting:
- Always provide value to the reader/viewer
- Plan your content ahead to optimize it
- Speak the language of your audience
- Be consistent with times you post
- Post content that is time-relevant, for example, saving tips around Christmas time
- Always have a call to action (CTA)
- Mix it up with videos, photos, blogs, and so on
PRO TIP: Use analytics to measure content effectiveness
You can use Facebook Pixel to see how many people your content reaches, who they are, and how they behave after seeing your content. You can also incorporate Google Analytics to see who comes to your website, from where, and what they do once they arrive.
Combining this information, you can measure the effectiveness of your social media content and see how ad campaigns are working. For example, if you target content to people in Alberta, you can then use Google Analytics to check out the increase in traffic from that region and how many people from there purchased from you.
Like I said before: content is king, but it’s data that places the crown.
Build more landing pages
Landing pages are a great way to drive up conversions. You might be reading this thinking “I already have one of those” - that’s actually the problem, you should have 30 of them, not just one.
Companies that have 30 or more landing pages get 700% more leads on average than those who have less than 10. Better get building. You can use a free landing page builder app like PageFly to create a new landing page for each campaign you launch.
Tips for building high-converting landing pages
You can’t just build any old landing page and hope for high conversions. You should follow some tried-and-proven tips to ensure they’re effective.
- Focus on one CTA per landing page, never more, such as selling a single product or collecting an email sign-up.
- Remove website navigation, like the menu and footer, to keep the visitor solely focussed on the conversion you’re trying to make.
- Add a video to your landing page. Landing pages with videos convert 86% higher, on average.
- Follow a proven landing page layout, such as the one used by Shopify.
- Keep things simple and don’t overwhelm with text. Minimalist layouts are easier to scan and allow more attention to be drawn to your CTA.
Share user-generated content (UGC) to build trust
User-generated content (UGC) is anything that customers or other people share about your products or brand. This includes reviews, photos posted to social media, blog posts that feature your products, video unboxings on YouTube, and more.
According to Shopify, ads that feature UGC are 4-times more likely to get clicked on. This is because up to 70% of people trust UGC over brand marketing. The core of this is that customers have no incentive to promote a brand and thus their reviews will be more honest.
- Incentivize customers to leave photo reviews, then share these on social media
- Use written reviews as testimonials on landing pages and product pages
- Send your products to influencers on YouTube for unboxing videos
- Set up hashtags on Twitter and enter people into a competition if they retweet
You can use the Socialwidget app to showcase your Instagram feed on your eCommerce website, helping to boost your social proof. The free app allows you to change the widget design to match your store’s aesthetic.
Talk to your customers directly - with minimal effort
People are much more likely to buy from you if you have a direct line of communication with them. Of course, any business owner knows that chasing potential customers making sales calls is a lot of effort and money. Fortunately, you don’t have to do any of that outdated BS.
Use the Socialreply app to set up a Facebook Messenger channel on your store so you can automatically ask customers if they need help. If they respond, you can set up automated responses or have someone on hand to respond in-person. You can also sell directly within Facebook Messenger, making it much easier to boost conversions during the holiday shopping season.
This allows you to put shoppers’ doubts and questions to rest, and it makes people trust your brand more knowing that you take customer service seriously.
The key thing here is that you can continue sending Facebook messages to these people after having the first conversion. Stats show that 80% of people open Facebook messages from brands, so this is a great way to reach people - just make sure you’re not too spammy!
Let shoppers save money with bundles
Bundles are a proven way to up your average order value (AOV) and make customers feel like they’re getting a great deal. By grouping related items in a special offer, customers buy more products and get to take advantage of a special discount for buying a bundle.
Important pro tips for bundle offers:
- Always have the option to buy the products individually for a higher price. This makes the customer see more value in buying the bundle.
- Only bundle products that work well together. A great example is a skincare set with four products that are used together. Another famous marketing folklore example is beer and diapers, oddly enough - young fathers were doing late-night diaper runs and grabbing a few cold ones while they were at it.
- Offer free shipping on bundles to increase the perceived value of the order. You could also make a free shipping threshold and price your bundles just below it, leading customers to buy one more small item to reach the minimum cost for free shipping.
Final thoughts - Gift wrapping and happy holidays
One last point, it’s the holiday season and people are buying gifts, so have the option to gift wrap products. It’s best if you do this for free and also have a paid option for fancier wrapping. Also, don’t forget to wish customers a happy holiday season and thank them for shopping with you.
It’s been a difficult year for most of us, so letting them know that you appreciate them choosing your brand and wish the best for their families will go a long way towards them liking your brand - and shopping with you again.
On that note, happy holidays and best wishes to you, your business, and your family!