Prepare for a Merry Holiday Sales Season with the Ecommerce Holiday Handbook

It might feel like summer is only just drawing to an end, but let’s face it – you work in ecommerce, and you start thinking about those crucial holiday months way before mere mortals! That’s why we’ve put together The Ecommerce Holiday Handbook – in September!

It’s got everything you need to make sure your holiday season is record breaking. Split into sections devoted to November, December and January, it’s packed full of actionable tips and replicable case studies to help you apply our learnings to your business.

According to the RJMetrics 2015 Holiday Trends Study, November and December each account for 10% of your annual revenue for the year, while the average month is only 7.9%. And while January’s revenue typically takes a dive, at 7.5%, this can be mitigated with some careful planning earlier in the year.

Let’s see what November has in store…


NOVEMBER – Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Your customer is focused on: Getting that deal.
You should focus on: Picking the right sale for your business, and communicating it effectively.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday have their roots in North America, but increasingly, they’re recognized by businesses around the world. This year Black Friday is on 24th November, and Cyber Monday on 27th November. Last year saw record breaking sales – according to Adobe, $8.26 billion was spent online over the course of those four days.

But short-lived sales aren’t beloved of every shopper – Bronto’s data shows that while 54% of 18-24 year olds love a flash sale, this declines with age, and only 15% of those over 65 appreciate them.

As well as deciding the duration of your sale, you also need to choose the type of promotion. Percentage discount sales are the most popular, chosen by 71%, while the least popular is BOGOF and free gift sales – probably because receiving extra items when you’re buying a gift isn’t really that useful!

Free shipping isn’t considered a promotion by most shoppers – 38% of shoppers won’t shop somewhere if it’s not offered, and only 16% of people say it doesn’t affect their buying decision.

To make sure you’re maximizing the Average Order Value, you might want to consider offering free shipping once shoppers have reached a certain order value. In that case, personalize the cart page to show shoppers how they can reach the threshold, by adding last minute items to their cart.


Designonline show customers which products they can add to achieve free shipping.


Email marketing
The holiday period is a busy time for the average email inbox, as brands compete for space. In fact, Mailchimp reported that last year, their users sent 2.9 billion emails between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, how do you cut through the noise to not only get your email opened, but clicked on?

Personalized email content greatly increases your chances – Nosto data shows emails with tailored content have an average CTR of 24% and an average conversion rate of 6%. That’s no surprise, given that 42% of buyers prefer to receive an email with personalized content.

meli melo combines items that were previous browsed by the individual with a selection of the best gift options, to create a great email for the holiday gift buyer.


But it’s not just about the sales – good engagement with your email campaign indicates to ISPs and email providers that you’re a trusted source. In turn, this makes them more likely to deliver your email to the primary Inbox.

You’re at risk of lowering your email reputation if people delete your emails without reading, don’t click the links, or worst of all, mark them as spam. So, while a lengthy list of email addresses is great, if it’s full of disengaged people your overall reputation will suffer. 76% of people dislike being automatically added to an email list after making a purchase, so make sure you have proactive permission from the people on yours.

While auto-adding people to your mailing list is inadvisable, it’s important to do what you can to build your list in more transparent ways, as this is going to be crucial to re-engaging with holiday shoppers come January.

This is where pop-ups come into play. Ask for an email address in exchange for a percentage discount (the previously mentioned most popular promotion…), or serve a pop-up inviting shoppers to have their basket emailed to them so they can return to it at a later date.

Vulpine don’t let the customer leave without offering them an easy way to return to their shopping, which also allows them to send a Cart Abandonment email at a later date.


Cart abandonment spikes during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as people shop around for the best deal. And that’s particularly the case on mobile. According to IBM, the average conversion is only 2.6% on mobile versus 5.8% on desktop. However, that’s not as bleak as it might appear. Baymard found that 61% of people who browse on their mobile complete the transaction on their desktop. The key is to be able to track your customer across devices, so they can pick up where they left off. Email Me My Cart emails are a great way of doing that.

So that’s November’s plan for your store, but what about December? How are you going to maximize the holiday month? And let’s not forget about January – historically a slower one for ecommerce, but full of important customer interactions and opportunities for re-engagement.

Well, fear not, because that’s just what we dive into in the Ecommerce Holiday Handbook. To download your copy, click here.


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