November 1, 2016

Time to boost your last-minute Christmas sales

It’s official: We’re a last-minute shopping nation! Last year’s busiest shopping date was the 23rd December with shoppers spending big both in store and online. So, even though you’re no doubt up to your ears right now delivering orders and gifts to customers, it’s not time to wind down your marketing activities. In fact, it’s time to prepare to rev up your promotions to capture these last-minute shoppers.

Here are some ways to boost your last-minute purchases:

1 Run countdown deals

‘Countdown to Christmas Deals’ generates excitement and creates urgency for consumers to make a quick purchase. Countdown deals are ideal for keeping you in close contact with prospective customers. By sending them regular or daily emails means you’ll stay top of mind just as they are searching for last minute gifts.

Try discounting different products or slash prices by a different percentage each day to generate anticipation in your audience so they are keen to open your emails. But when you discount, be strategic – maybe only offer free shipping if a customer buys over a certain amount rather than just offering it as a giveaway. And why not use this pre-Christmas time to discount items that aren’t selling well so you’re not left with excess inventory post-Christmas?

If you can’t afford to discount give people a reason to visit your store by injecting a bit of festive fun into their shopping experience by running an entertaining event, competition, or by price matching.

2 Open earlier and close a little later to capture last-minute shoppers

Check back to see what your footfall was last year and offer extended hours if this offsets the cost of staying open. If you don’t have a physical store, then it’s a case of offering longer Customer Service hours or delivery times.

3 Use the immediacy of social networks to showcase your special offers and include a link to your website to drive sales

  • Use holiday shopping hashtags e.g. #stockingfillers etc. and include your special offers in body of your tweet to encourage people to check out your store.
  • You could hold a flash sale on a specific product or a total purchase discount on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Always use clear, concise messaging on social media, so your customer understands how long the sale lasts for and what’s included.
  • Try adding in an element of exclusivity e.g. a Christmas discount ‘Just for Facebook Fans’ to make people look twice.
  • And don’t just rely on Facebook and Twitter – spread the message across a varied selection of social media, and link campaigns together. For example, create a ‘Last-Minute Christmas Gift’ pin board on Pinterest then tweet people to head over to Pinterest to find it. Post a Christmas idea on Facebook featuring a picture you took on Instagram. Get visual and use beautiful holiday images on social to put consumers in the Christmas spirit.

4 Use email marketing

Send out emails to targeted mailing lists detailing your flash sales and promotions to inspire the last-minute spontaneous gift buyer. Keep emails short and sweet and feature product pictures. Segment gift ideas into ‘gifts for her’ etc. to make the email easy to read and navigate. Use keywords like ‘last minute’ or ‘last chance’ to entice those last-minute shoppers.

5 Always advertise your delivery times clearly

Ensure customers know when the last cut-off dates for Christmas delivery are. You will get negative feedback if you disappoint shoppers because they weren’t clear when they had to order in time for Christmas. Also, be upfront about returns and what customers must do to adhere to your policy. You can put this information on social media, on your website, on your product listings and on all other forms of communication e.g. on invoices or dispatch emails.

6 Speed is critical when it comes to converting last minute shoppers

They’re pressed for time and need to complete their purchases ASAP, so make sure they can browse, shop and pay with ease, removing any potential friction points. In store set up signage so that shoppers can navigate your shop effectively, and instruct staff to keep aisles tidy and organised. This applies to your online store too – make any navigation improvements you need to your e-commerce shop and create special banners or even special links for the season. You could set up a page featuring your top selling gift items and include a link to this page from the navigation bar. Put holiday-themed banners on your home page so visitors can get to your offers quickly and buy in as few clicks as possible.

Site speed is crucial too. Studies indicate that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. So, optimise your images and keep plug-ins to a minimum so pages load quickly.

7 Gift wrapping is an option to consider since time-pressed Christmas shoppers are always looking for convenience

This will only make sense for you if you have the time, space and staff for it. There are various ways to offer gift wrapping. For example, you could offer wrapping as a complimentary service to add value and give people more reasons to buy from you. Alternatively, you could include free wrapping if customers spend over a certain amount – or you could add it as an option to upsell and increase basket values.

So, make it your aim to capture last minute shoppers using clever late onset marketing tactics. We hope these last-minute tips have given you some ideas on how to boost your bottom line at this lucrative time of year.