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Best Practices for Holiday Sales

MeganBush 12-03-14

Best Practices for Holiday Sales

What are some testing wins you've tried on eCommerce sites during the holidays?


We've tested a variety of ways to promote our clients' holiday sales, and for us placing product attribute badges on category and product pages highlighting the sale has had the most impact. Definitely greater than Category banners, homepage banners and sale messages sitewide in the header. Calling out the sale on the specific product was a stronger message to the customer, and ultimatley ended up increasing revenue per visitor by over 10%.


Has anyone tried any crazy ways to promote holiday sales specifically?


Looking forward to hearing about them!

Megan Bush

Re: Best Practices for Holiday Sales

Wow, great topic, Megan! Thanks for posting.

To add a bit to your excellent recommendations -

This is a great time of year to nudge scarcity and urgency. People are are bit stressed, in a hurry, and want to make a decision.

These are a few strategies that we've employed with some success:

- Countdown timer until sales ends. This can be in the form of "sale ends in 48 hours" or an actual clock with ticking time. This can also be used for bonuses such as free shipping, free upgrade, etc. Order now to receive in time for Christmas, reminding people of cut off dates to receive in time for Christmas etc.

- As Megan mentioned calling out specifics can also boost conversion rates. This is where your customer personas and personalization can be very helpful. "Perfect gift for Dad", "Stimulates Learning For Preschoolers" are a few specific call outs that we've seen success with.

As always - Choose and test these carefully, because we've seen success with these and then applied them to other ecom websites and see conversion rates fell. Before deciding go through any qualitative data that might clue you into which will work best.

Hope these are a bit helpful.

Happy Testing!
Keith Lovgren

adzeds 12-04-14

Re: Best Practices for Holiday Sales

On Black Friday I ran 9 hotfixes into our site using Optimizely.

What we tried to do was follow the money and optimize content on the fly based on where the user journeys were moving around the website. It is a very intense piece of work as you have to constantly be flipping content up and down pages based on availability. So with Google Analytics real-time open on one screen and Optimizely on the other we could see where the visitors were and make sure the best content was in the right place on these pages at any given time.

Our site has content that switches in and out and up and down throughout a day so we had to try and ensure the best stuff was always available!

In terms of providing something actionable for eCommerce my advice over the holidays is to make sure you are always offering something that is 'available' now. So try and avoid showing products on list pages if out of stock.

If a visitor lands on a page for an out of stock product, offer them similar products, maybe with an incentive because the product they really wanted was out of stock.

Finally, Upselling and Cross-selling... There is no better time to do this than during the holidays. I tend to find bundling products works really well at this time of year and can really help to increase average order value.

If anyone has any specific questions about their websites and want me to take a look then feel free to send me a DM and I will take a look for you and offer up some potential changes/tests I would consider trying.
David Shaw
Level 11
dcederholm 12-24-14

Re: Best Practices for Holiday Sales

Great question and responses. I think the urgency idea is very valuable. I have seen that improve results both during the holiday season and non-holiday time periods. It really helps push the user to purchase due to consumer uncertainty. If a visitor isn't sure if they will get the same deal later on they often make the purchase just to protect themselves.

A unique idea we have tested with some positive results was adding 'free shipping - our present to you' text and an image of a present combined together as a single icon. We placed the free shipping icon next to the shipping options on the payment page. The icon took the place of a drop down where a buyer would normally select a preferred shipping option. Although we had free shipping banners on the homepage and product pages, this icon seemed to have some intrinsic value and helped us improve our abandoned cart rate. It most likely imparted more faith that the buyer would get free shipping causing more people to complete the process.

I'm sure there are many other great ideas out there. I hope the community will continue to share what they've learned from their own testing.

Be your best!
Dustin Cederholm
Fluid Advertising

801.295.9820 ext. 223