7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid During the Holidays

Harmanjit Kaur

The holiday season comes up with a set of challenges that e-commerce merchants face every year. This article entails the common mistakes that marketers and e-commerce store owners make, resulting in a decrease in sales. The key takeaways include tips on how marketers can avoid the 7 deadly sins and make holiday season sales a success.

Online shopping over the holidays continues to increase: the U.S. Department of Commerce estimated total e-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2019 would be 16.9% higher than those from the third quarter in 2018.

During this time of the year, e-commerce merchants are looking forward to the revenue from holiday sales – but the hassle that comes along with so many orders such as sites crashing and lost or stolen orders can turn the whole thing into a nightmare.

Thankfully, there are things e-commerce business owners can do to mitigate these risks. Below, you'll find the 7 deadly sins marketers and e-commerce store owners make this time of year which can help you from falling into these traps.

Common Mistakes to Avoid This Holiday Season

  • Not optimizing your mobile site
  • Slow website loading issues
  • Poor or nonexistent email marketing
  • No voice-related search capability
  • Ignoring the importance of a strategic holiday sale calendar
  • Not upselling and cross-selling products
  • Preparing for shipping challenges

Mistake 1: Not Optimizing Your Mobile Site

Around half of consumers shop on mobile more often than they shop in-store.

That's on top of the fact that 30% of all online shopping takes place on a smartphone, which is up by 120% over last year.

30% of all online shopping takes place on a smartphone.

This should be obvious to us all, but you would be surprised how many times I've gone to a site on my mobile only to have it be glitchy and hard to read.

Even though I was interested in the product I was researching, I didn’t make a purchase because their mobile site was glitchy and had a terrible user experience.

Optimizing your website for mobiles using effective mobile e-commerce SEO will help your products list top the search results and let customers easily browse through the website and products they want to purchase during their busy holidays.

Mistake 2: Slow Website Loading Issues

As you've probably heard by now, Google is starting to take your page loading speed into consideration for your website ranking. You’ll want to pay attention to the following.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Use this open-source framework for quick, smooth-loading pages on mobile devices. A small delay of 1 second for the page loading speed can decrease conversion rates by 7%.

It also says even an extra second of mobile loading time for a business can cost too much. To overcome these, accelerated mobile pages were introduced.

Accelerated mobile pages are the framework that enables developers to build lightweight experiences for mobile users by simplifying the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Instead of using author-written Javascript, accelerated mobile pages ensures compatibility, reduced server load, and speed.

Check Your Images Sizes

Captivating, clear images are vital to your e-commerce success, but make sure you're using the right size – images that are big enough to be clear, but no so much so that it bogs down your site. Image size is one of the biggest culprits in your site speed!

Checkout Page

It is advisable to run your checkout across every platform to avoid a slow-loading cart, as this is the quickest way to lose potential customers.

The frustration of going through choosing the perfect gift and then having a checkout page lag can turn off a customer for life. So, optimizing your checkout page in custom website design and development process becomes very crucial.

Mistake 3: Poor or Nonexistent Email Marketing

Any e-commerce that wants to be ahead of the competition knows they need a solid email marketing campaign.

With an email list, you can send targeted offers to your buyers' list and to new buyers. Additionally, if you built your list correctly, you can use the customer's name in clever ways to get their attention.

If you have a compelling offer where you can grab the customer's email, you can easily send out cart abandonment emails.

For example, an average cart abandonment rate of 77.24% was observed from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in 2016. And, in 2017, it rose to 78.65%.

an average cart abandonment rate of 77.24% was observed from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in 2016. And, in 2017, it rose to 78.65%.

This just goes to show how much you could be losing out on without a good email capture as soon as customers land on your site.

One of the best email campaigns during this time of year is to create a "Holiday Gift Buying Guide.” Everyone is always scrambling for the perfect gift for dad, the kids' teachers, and Aunt Joan, who “already has everything and we never know what to get her”!

Mistake 4: No Voice-Related Search Capability 

According to new marketing trends, voice commerce is on the rise and will reach $40 billion in sales by 2020. Digital marketing agencies can help you integrate voice search into your marketing and SEO strategy.

To take advantage of this growing segment, add question phrases and your website's most frequent searches.

Mistake 5: Ignoring the Importance of a Strategic Holiday Sale Calendar

With all the competition out there for your customer's dollar, the e-commerce sites who build the best shopping calendar strategy are going to come out ahead. To create a holiday sale calendar:

  • Write out the major holiday milestone dates
  • Look over last year's ads and sales and create a strategy on what worked and what didn't
  • Plan when you will extend your holiday promotions for those last-minute shoppers
  • Create seasonal marketing content that will appeal to your ideal customer's emotions
  • Create daily deals and let your customers know about it

By approaching the holiday season strategically, you can give your customers a reason to keep coming back to check out what's new in your store.

Mistake 6: Not Upselling and Cross-Selling Products

It's no secret that some of the most profit comes from upselling and cross-selling. In fact, Forbes says that Amazon attributes 35% of its revenue from cross-selling!

Upselling means to encourage a customer to purchase items relevant to their primary purchase (e.g., offering a customer ink with a printer). Cross-selling means to encourage a customer buying one product to buy a related product (e.g., offering the purchase of a scanner with a printer).

Some of the tried-and-true methods to upsell and cross-sell include:

  • Sell in bundles
  • Link frequently bought together items to pop-up at check-out
  • Show "best seller" items and "most reviewed" products as well as "most relevant" articles to add to the order
  • Use curiosity to get the customer to click onto the next addition for the upsell

By cross-selling and upselling, you can sell more products while giving customers more of what they need.

Mistake 7: Not Preparing for Shipping Challenges

Imagine: You shipped an item to your customer and did everything right on your end. However, the shipping company lost the package. Moments like these are frustrating because you didn't do anything wrong but your customer is angry. And they're not blaming the shipping company for the error. They're blaming you.

It’s not fair but it’s the reality e-commerce businesses must expect from time to time.

Have a great customer service response to situations like this. Saving a customer and preventing a bad review is worth the price of a few extra items here and there.

Businesses Can Succeed by Approaching the Holiday Season Strategically

It's true that this time of year is hectic for all of us in the e-commerce business. It has its ups and downs, but there is nothing quite like the thrill of knowing our items are being sent to homes around the globe and brightening someone's holiday season.

And, if you avoid the 7 deadly sins above, you'll be well on your way to a smooth and profitable holiday season, because you deserve some peace and joy, too.


Harmanjit Kaur

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