By Sue Chapman

Last week, we talked about getting a head start on holiday SEO, offering some tips to get your customers excited about the new products and sales they can take advantage of during the holiday season.

In today’s installment of our Get Holiday Ready blog series, we explore some tips to plan record-breaking holiday promotions.

Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year in the United States and it just keeps growing. But there is a lot of competition – and a lot of noise – so retailers need to find creative ways to stand out. It’s not too early to start thinking about creating unique promotions you’ll need to capitalize on key shopping days. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Flash Sales – Whether you choose to highlight special sales during a specific time block or offer hourly specials, flash sales are a great way to keep shoppers coming back to see what’s new. Another great thing about flash sales is that they present a sense of urgency to encourage customers to make their purchase now.
  • Gift with Purchase – Consider giving your customers a free gift with their order. Brooks Running ran a promotion that gave their customers a free technical running shirt & free shipping when those customers spent over $100, and as a result, saw a positive lift in revenue per visit.
  • Contests – Explore contests as part of your strategy. Offering a “win your wish list” contest can increase the number of registered users on your site. This small behavioral change actually establishes commitment to buy and extends customer loyalty. You can also encourage your customers to vote for their favorite products. One of our clients ran a promotion last year to generate customer votes to determine which promotion the retailer would run on Black Friday.
  • End cap cart strategies – Offer your online shoppers those “after-thought” options, like gift wrapping, gift cards and stocking stuffers.
  • Test holiday promotions now – Start testing what promotions resonate best with your customers now. Do they prefer 15% off or $15 off? What is the preferred price point for flat rating shipping options? Do people expect free shipping when they reach a certain threshold? A/B testing is a great way to determine what your customers prefer before the holiday shopping season really kicks off.

Remember: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just the beginning of the shopping season. The majority your customers will be shopping right through the end of December. And don’t forget about other global shopping events:

  • November 11, 2014 – Singles Day in China is the world’s largest online shopping event. Last year, China’s largest ecommerce company reached a record $5.75 billion dollars in sales.
  • November 27, 2014 – Thanksgiving
  • December 16-24, 2014 – Hanukkah
  • December 26, 2014 – Boxing Day is the biggest and busiest day in several countries for online retailers
  • December 26, 2014-January 1, 2015 – Kwanzaa

Stay tuned for our next tip: Managing customer expectations around delivery schedules. And stay up to date on our full Get Holiday Ready blog series: