Online retailers widely consider Cyber Monday to be a critical benchmark that helps determine a successful holiday season.
This guest post was written by Rob Yoegel, Content Marketing Director at Monetate. Brooks Bell partners with Monetate—and several other leading testing and optimization tools—to provide the best solution for every client.
When examining holiday ecommerce conversion rates from a year ago, it’s easy to see why so much attention is given to Cyber Monday. Last year, Cyber Monday was once again the top online sales day for many ecommerce businesses with the highest average conversion rate (7.42%) and significant increases in website traffic, according to Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly research.
Yet, when looking at the entire months of both November and December from last year, conversion rates were higher overall than the prior year, a clear signal that the online holiday shopping season now runs well beyond just five days.
Assuming that you’ve already reviewed what worked (and what didn’t work) last year, now is the time to make sure that you’re ready for a successful final few months of the year. Here are five tactics the Monetate’s Services Team is currently implementing with many of our clients.
1. Define and target seasonal customer segments.
Don’t get overwhelmed with your own ‘big data.” After all, you can’t boil an ocean. Instead, look for customer segments that you can target immediately. One such segment could simply be called “Gift Buyers,” customers who purchased from you last year during the holiday season, but haven’t been back until the same time this year.
Another customer segment to continue to focus on is the new visitors to your website, as well as returning visitors who have never purchased. As retailers uncover more about their online shoppers, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the more basic customer segments like new versus returning visitors—but these segments can have an immediate impact.
2. Convert more smartphone and tablet traffic.
Within only the past year, total combined smartphone and tablet traffic to leading ecommerce websites has increased from 15% to 22%, while two years ago mobile traffic peaked at around 7%.
While much of your attention may be on creating a native app, retailers that focus on delivering relevant website experiences for both mobile and tablet shoppers are seeing immediate increases in key metrics such as conversion rate and average order value.
A few mobile-friendly tweaks can go a long way. Try simplifying website navigation on mobile devices by deactivating behaviors like mouse hovers. Or streamline the checkout process by eliminating clutter and offering alternative payment options such as PayPal.
3. Make real-time changes to website navigation.
Website navigation has historically been off limits to anyone except web developers or IT staff. But thanks to in-line editing tools such as Monetate’s ActionBuilder, you can now effectively bypass IT queues and test and deploy seasonal changes to your website navigation in real time.
Try creating a holiday gift guide section or highlighting key navigational components, such as “For Him/Her This Christmas,” by targeting visitors based on some of the seasonal customer segments mentioned earlier.
4. Maximize use of email and other inbound channels on-site.
It’s likely that your paid search budget and the number of emails you send will peak in November and December. There’s an equal chance that much of your time, effort and money will be wasted if you don’t echo inbound messaging on your website from the landing page all the way through to check out.
Turn your landing pages into landing sessions. Don’t only reinforce the messages and creative throughout the initial website experience, but on subsequent visits give returning customers who abandoned their carts reminders of the offers that originally caught their attention.
5. Leverage location to be even more relevant.
Online marketers often try to use the visitor’s physical location to personalize the website experience—geotargeting tactics such as mentioning the visitor’s hometown when someone arrives to a website. But as Monetate’s product marketing manager, Adam Figueira points out, using geotargeting just for this simple, albeit somewhat effective, website optimization tactic is really geotargeting in a vacuum.
Consider what else you can do when you know a visitor’s location, such as triggering campaigns based on current weather conditions or the proximity to brick-and-mortar stores, distribution centers, and even competitors. By executing campaigns that automatically switch on or off based on real-time conditions and what the visitor experiences in the moment (for instance a mobile shopper in your store right now), you can convert more browsers into buyers.
To explore these tactics and others even further, register for our next webinar, “The 12 Days of Christmas: A Dozen New Ideas For Your Website This Holiday Season,” on Tuesday, August 27, at 2 p.m. ET.
Join Forrester Research’s Sucharita Mulpuru and my colleague, Nathan Richter, Director, Client Solutions, at Monetate, as they discuss 12 practical areas to focus your 2013 holiday planning, including research, statistics and analysis that support each one.