Last year, Fortune predicted that online shopping sales in in the 2016 holiday season would, for the first time, surpass $100 billion…

That’s A LOT of stocking stuffers. But surpass they did.

Retail powerhouses like Amazon and Target wasted no time in capitalizing on the immense lift in spending. Amazon launched its Black Friday Deals Store in anticipation of the holiday season, while Target revealed its 10 Days of Deals by combining discounts with good old fashion presentation for an added dash of holiday cheer. Their game plan? They kicked their personalization strategy into overdrive. Much like you’re, no doubt, planning to do.

If you’re already using Nosto for your online personalization strategy, you’re already well on track to deliver strong results this Q4. And since we’re drawing closer to the sales frenzy, we’ve made it easy for you to kick your plan into high gear and truly maximize your ROI. Cue the Nosto Optimization Center: a series of tips to help you take advantage of Nosto’s full capability during the holiday season.

Step 1 of your journey: attract qualified traffic to your store. Here are 3 ways to get started and learn why they’re so important to your holiday sales plan.

 

1. Promote selected gift and decoration ranges in ad campaigns to maximize relevancy.

Sure, it’s tempting to promote your entire catalog to drive more holiday sales, but focus on the items that will inspire your customers to race to the checkout page. Target Marketing reports that 78% of consumers will provide marketing data on their in-store purchases in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience. But, surprise: when you run a Facebook ad campaign and install the Facebook Pixel on your store site, the pixel already does this work for you by delivering data that helps retarget these consumers automatically.


Blue Vanilla leverages Facebook Ads to attract consumers with items relevant to their interests.

 

So to take Facebook ad personalization a step further, instead of showcasing your entire catalog of offerings, filter your ads to showcase certain categories appropriate for the holiday season.

One thing to remember when leveraging this strategy: timing is everything.

A 2014 study by Marin Software found that CTRs on Facebook ads are higher when campaigns are run in advance of a heavy shopping date. Their research showed that CTRs spiked during the weeks leading to Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two crucial dates where consumers are hungrily sniffing out the interwebs for the next best gift idea.

 

2. Display the relevant range of items to your customer segments in holiday emails.

Personalized emails aren’t exactly the new kid on the ecommerce block. Marketing Land reports that personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates, yet 70% of brands don’t take advantage of it. Of course, if you’re already segmenting your emails based on demographic and behavior, pat yourself on the back for being the 30% who gets it right. Now, let’s kick things into overdrive.

Take your email strategy to a new level by incorporating personalized product recommendations within your emails. Not only does it provide an additional layer of personalization to your emails, but it’s a way to promote your product offerings via a highly visible platform.

Nosto’s email personalization widget helps you achieve both of these objectives. Email widgets can be tailored to work for a variety of campaign types, including:

Best sellers, showcasing the hottest items in your store
Personalized recommendations, based on a customer’s previous shopping behavior
Browsing history, reminding customers of products they’ve shown interest in
Browsing history related, recommending products based on a person’s browsing history
Product-based cross selling, displaying recommendations that are related to a given product

A quick and effective way to increase relevancy in your holiday emails with an email widget is to filter by product attributes and popular seasonal ranges.


Carré d’Artistes uses email widgets to promote their top selling items and items that complement a browser’s interests.

 

A tip for the pros: to make sure your widget fits the style of your email, flip on the advanced styling mode to increase flexibility of your design.

 

3. Leverage your existing customer data to drive quality traffic to your store by using Facebook lookalike ad campaigns.

Our ebook on Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns covers the nitty gritty of leveraging lookalike ads. But when social media accounts for a 240% increase in traffic during the holiday season, it’s information worth tattooing on your arm (for the less extreme, bookmarking the ebook works, too). Since you already have the customer data to create these campaigns, leverage Facebook’s small degree of separation to reach prospects similar to current buyers.

A small degree of separation, you ask? Yes, it’s a actual thing. Researchers at Facebook found that the majority of the people using their platform have averages between 2.9 and 4.2 degrees of separation.

So where does Nosto come into play?

Our lookalike ads enable you to reach shoppers who share similar interests to your current customers. The feature automatically generates what we call a “seed audience” – primarily based on prior purchase and browsing behavior – and generates a target audience based on this group.

Check out this quick video from our Product Manager, Lari, to learn how we manage lookalike ad campaigns:

We’ve only scratched the surface of optimizing for the attraction phase, so head over to the Nosto Optimization Center to learn more personalization details, watch our how-to videos and, if you’re extra curious about personalizing your store for the holidays, have a chat with one of our ecommerce experts.