Ecommerce Strategies for the 2021 Holiday Season

A recent survey from The NPD Group reveals that 51% of U.S. consumers plan to start their 2021 holiday shopping before Thanksgiving Day, which is up slightly from last year. Of those early shoppers, more than two-thirds planned to start shopping in October or sooner.

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Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD® reports, “Holiday 2021 continues the early shopping trend, with the added layer of inventory concerns motivating many shoppers to grab what they want when they see it, instead of waiting for better deals later in the season.”

After a stellar year of ecommerce growth during the 2020 holiday season, 2021 is set to be another record-breaking year. Forecasts by eMarketer put revenues for the 2021 holiday season at $206.88 billion –  11.3% higher than last year.

Don’t miss out on this excellent opportunity to increase revenue and elevate your brand this year. Here are some solid strategies to help support your ecommerce efforts:

Begin your campaign early

Don’t wait to launch holiday programs – Look at the current landscape in your industry and how your competitors might have pivoted in the wake of the pandemic. Determine your holiday budget for marketing, staffing, and inventory ahead of time.

Strive to launch your holiday campaign before November or December.

Although many shop last minute, you’ll probably have a segment of your customer base who purchases early. Reward these shoppers with special discounts, hopefully inspiring them to shop with you year-round.

Refresh your website

A healthy small business website should be regularly updated with fresh information, products, news releases, blog posts, and more. Fresh content not only keeps your visitors coming back, it can also boost your SEO rankings. It’s especially important to update for the holidays, highlights products and specials.

The following articles from the SmartBiz® Small Business Blog offer actionable strategies to help you enhance your website before the holidays:

Elevate your profile on Google

Before you start improving website user experience, it is important to ensure that your prospects are finding you easily on the search engines in the first place. If they can’t find you, the chances of them ever getting to your website are minimized significantly. Employ ways to  optimize your site for SEO. For instance, if you are a gym owner, a good SEO for gyms starts with determining the most searched keywords by gym enthusiasts. You can then create valuable content using these keywords to raise your ranking on the online search engines. In addition, you can use a   Google My Business ®   page, usually featured in the ‘Map’ section.

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Provide free incentives

Everyone loves “free”, and the holidays are a great opportunity to give regular and new customers a benefit. For example, you can give a product with purchase or free shipping. This is an excellent way to spotlight new products or those you’re trying to phase out.

Consider putting exclusive deals, savings, and free promotions in place and promote to improve your profits this holiday season.

Launch Email marketing

Email marketing remains a strong customer outreach tool for small businesses. Launching an email marketing campaign might sound overwhelming but the payoff can lead to increased brand awareness and holiday sales.

Customers don’t want to have to hunt for bargains and holiday specials. Aim to deliver the information they would want to know via targeted emails.

Check out the following blog posts for more information about the benefits of email marketing:

Create fun social media advertising

The most economical way to advertise in this digital age is via social media. Consider following these guidelines to increase attention and engagement:

  • Style your posts with festive content (it’s a holiday season, fill your customers’ feed with magic)
  • Create gift guides (show off your products and offer unique ways of gifting to your customers)
  • Use holiday hashtags (many people browse social media via hashtags to find what they are looking for, for example: #halloween, #pumpkin, #christmas2021, #giftideas)
  • Outline any specials, such as discounts, free shipping, and other promotions

Retarget customers

Astonishingly, 96 percent of consumers will leave a website without purchasing. Customer retargeting is a marketing strategy for online businesses geared toward those who have bounced from their websites. You can place a tracking pixel on your website that follows customers when they leave and then places an ad for your business on another unrelated website that they land on.

Market your brand

Of course, highlighting your products and services is key. However, it’s also a best practice to promote your brand during the holiday seasons. Branding is a way of identifying your business. It is how your customers recognize and experience your business. A strong brand is more than just a logo — it's reflected in everything from your customer service style, staff uniforms, business cards and physical premises to your marketing materials and advertising. You may also have evolved your brand during the pandemic, so be sure to highlight your new branding across all your marketing efforts. These blog posts can help you get started:

The bottom line

One of the best ways to scale for the holiday season is to get an infusion of funds. SmartBiz® facilitates both SBA loans and Bank Term loans from lenders in our network. There are other funding options out there like credit cards or merchant cash advances, but they can be expensive. For more information about funding your business, check out the SmartBiz® blog post:  5 Ways to Fund Your Small Business: Pros and Cons.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.

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