Making Holiday Incentives Work for Your Business

As the holidays fast approach, why not make consumers feel like they’re getting a gift (that goes well beyond the physical product or service) when they shop with you. The gift of a great price, a charitable donation, or free shipping can go a long way in enticing shoppers to choose your brands. There are going to be plenty of competitors clamoring for their business this season, so you should be convincing consumers that shopping with you is going to offer them the greatest overall benefit.

Below are just a few ideas for how you can use holiday incentives to target shoppers, increase conversions, and even get customers to come back after this holiday season is over.

Use Your Home Page to Direct Shoppers

Make sure that web users know about your holiday incentives as soon as they get to your site by including an announcement about your promotions on your home page (you may also want to re-design your home page to have visual holiday elements, signaling to the viewer that you are getting into the spirit of the holiday and offering special deals). If you use a rotating slideshow on your home page, make sure that at least one slide is highlighting your promotion (or multiple slides, if you are offering multiple deals). Test out any changes you and your web designer make on a smartphone and tablet to ensure that your home page looks good and is compatible with all devices and screen sizes.

 

Be Charitable

The end of the year is a time when many people think about how they can give back to their community and organizations that they care about, so why not help people give back by committing to donate a percentage of your holiday sales to a charity? Choose a charity that is important to you and fits well with your business’s mission—and that you believe customers will find meaningful as well. Use your web pages, social media channels, emails, and potentially even a press release to get the word out that your business is committed to supporting charity this holiday season.

Create Categories with Great Deals

You’re probably already grouping products into categories on your site (clothing retailers frequently group clothing into categories such as Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s, often with subcategories under each of those general categories, for example). If you offer products in a wide range of prices, consider creating special low-cost categories just for the holidays. For example, you might have a “Gifts Under $20” category or a “Great Stocking Stuffer” category for small, relatively inexpensive items. These items don’t necessarily need to be marked down from their normal price, but many customers will feel like they’re getting a great deal because you’ve made items in a particular price range easy to shop for.

Create a Sense of Urgency for Limited Time Deals

If you’re offering exclusive deals—such as a huge markdown on Black Friday only, or a 10-day sale at the beginning of December—make sure shoppers know they have a limited time to take advantage of the deal. In my last post on holiday marketing, I discussed how you can send a sequence of emails to tease an upcoming promotion, let shoppers know that the promotion is currently going on, and then to let shoppers know that the promotion is over but that there will be upcoming promotions that they can take advantage of. You can also create a sense of urgency around “limited time only” deals by adding a countdown clock to your website and posting about the time-sensitive promotions on Facebook and Twitter.

Offer a Good Deal on Shipping

Plenty of people hate the crowds associated with shopping at brick-and-mortar stores over the holiday and love the convenience of online shopping. The primary benefit that shopping at a physical store still offers over shopping online is that there’s no shipping cost (since you’re picking up the gifts yourself). However, you can encourage people who might have otherwise gone to a brick-and-mortar store to shop online by giving them a great deal on shipping. Consider participating in National Free Shipping Day on December 18th, and offer expedited or overnight shipping for last-minute shoppers. Make sure you also have a calendar on your site showing customers the last day(s) that they can order using regular shipping and still have their gifts arrive on time.

Emphasize Gift Cards

Target indecisive shoppers—or shoppers who are looking for a present for that person who seems to have everything—by offering gift cards. Highlight your gift cards on your home page, and also consider sending out an email about them close to Christmas (when stumped shoppers may be getting more anxious about finding the perfect gift for their loved one). Consider offering both a digital version of your gift card for the sake of convenience and an actual card that can be placed in a nice envelope or box and mailed to the recipient so that they have a physical present to open.

Encourage Customers to Take Advantage of Future Deals

The holiday season is a great time to build your loyal customer base. After someone has made a purchase, direct them to a confirmation page or send them a transaction email that thanks them for their purchase and tells them that they can take advantage of future promotions by subscribing to your email list.

Another great way to get customers to come back is to offer them a reward for bigger purchases. For example, if someone spends over $60, you could offer them a gift card for $10 so that they’ll be more inclined to shop with you later.

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