Updated: 2022-10-27 11:25:07
The winter holiday shopping season is coming! The most exciting time for consumers must be Black Friday - Cyber Monday! For e-commerce sellers, early holiday shopping has made a major impact on sales. Are you ready for early holiday promotions to boost your sales?
So, what do shopping trends will look like this year? How to prepare for holiday promotions and make the most of this holiday season to beat your competitors on brand and products?
Keep reading, keep up with the holiday season shopping trends and follow our guidelines for dropshipping promotion and marketing to maximize your holiday sales!
The winter holiday season includes Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas.
According to NRF’s holiday surveys on consumer sentiment and shopping trends during the winter holiday season last year, consumers planned to spend $998 on average on items such as gifts, food, decorations, and other holiday purchases for themselves and their families!
The total US holiday sales are expected to grow by 3.3% in 2022, at a slower pace than during the pandemic, according to eMarketer.
Holiday shopping will look different this year with inflation and rising prices changing how consumers shop. Starting shopping earlier and looking for more deals and discounts will be the key trends of winter holiday shopping this year.
From Amazon Prime Day to consumers looking for holiday deals (and avoiding shipping delays), the holiday shopping season now takes place throughout the entire second half of the year. And consumers are more willing to spread out their shopping throughout the holiday season.
Consumers are less likely to shop during big sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, due to inflation and rising prices. According to NRF's latest consumer survey, 44% of holiday shoppers say it's better to purchase gifts and other seasonal items now because they worry that inflation will continue to increase and affect prices as the holiday season approaches. Another 31% think it's better to purchase now because the deals won't get any better.
According to a September 2022 poll by NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics, just 45% of holiday shoppers said they were likely to browse and buy in stores on Black Friday this year. So, as a retailer, you won't be able to expect traditional holiday sales periods (Black Friday - Cyber Monday) to perform as well as they have in the past.
Early shopping will continue to be a trend as shoppers look for deals throughout the year. This year, retailers are responding to consumer demand by starting deals and promotions on winter holiday items earlier this year. This also enables consumers to allocate their budgets over a longer period and find the best prices for their holiday purchases.
Higher prices and inflation are top concerns for consumers. Because of inflation and the rising cost of living, 58% of holiday shoppers say sales and promotions are more important to them when shopping for gifts and other holiday items this year than last year, according to NRF. This is a significant increase from 48% in September 2021.
In fact, 95% of holiday shoppers say inflation will change the way they shop and are actively looking for ways to save money. Nearly three-fifths (59%) plan to buy fewer items and 52% pursue more coupons, discounts, and sales, according to Bankrate.
Many consumers plan to prioritize holiday gifts and celebrations, even if it means cutting back on other areas or shopping early. 62% of holiday shoppers agree on the importance of spending on holiday gifts and celebrations. However, 43% of consumers say they won't make enough this year to pay for gifts and other holiday items.
So in the face of the supply chain, labor, and inflation pressures, the challenge for retailers will be to find innovative ways to stand out as consumers seek lower-priced options. Pricing and value proposition will be a big factor in how consumers plan to spend the holiday season this year. Retailers should consider addressing both of these issues in seasonal promotions.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday take place every year, but there always be many dropshipping beginners who don't start preparing for promotion until the eve of the events for various reasons. That would be too late!
On the one hand, consumers are looking for holiday deals earlier this year. On the other hand, you'll need to allow enough time for the ads learning period. If you didn’t set campaigns and test in advance, you will be likely to lose the best ad spaces and early traffic.
So, the best way is to make a whole plan for the holiday shopping season as early as possible. Then you will have enough time for testing, handling unexpected situations, and adjusting your plan.
Also, with a plan, it will be easier for you to look back on the results of the promotions after the shopping season is over. and provide experience and reference for the next shopping season promotions.
First, you can look back on the results of last year’s holiday promotions if you had, especially having a detailed review of your last year’s sales. According to your experience last year, It can be easier to evaluate how many inventories you need to prepare, make your promotion and discount plans, and set your sales goals for this holiday season.
We recommend you make a detailed schedule around the key dates with everything you need to do to ensure that you can smoothly carry out your plan step by step during what could be the busiest online holiday season ever.
Your ultimate goal should be achievable by splitting it into several small goals. It can be encouraging when you achieve small goals one by one.
You may understand that the longer the loading time of your store pages, the higher the bounce rate of customers. For search engines, a high bounce rate means that the page viewers think the content of the page is not helpful to them. And your page ranks in search results would slip.
Especially for your store checkout page, a slower loading speed would be more likely to cause customer losses.
A fact is that 40% of consumers won’t wait for more than 3 seconds before they give up a website. So you'd better control the loading time of your store website within 3 seconds, which is the turning point of the surge in bounce rates.
Before the holiday shopping starts, we recommend you test and optimize the speed of your store website loading on all devices with the tool Google PageSpeed Insights.
Set up traffic tracking tools
It would be best if you already have Google Analytics set up for your e-commerce site, especially if you plan to advertise your holiday promotions with Google Ads and Facebook ads to get more traffic.
Traffic metrics from traffic tracking tools can tell you how many visitors your website has, how they found your store, how long they spend on different pages, and how many of them convert to your customers.
Google Analytics can also connect with your Google Ads to help you optimize the ad campaigns. It can also help track paid traffic from other ad channels.
If you plan to work with influencers for brand promotion, in addition to traffic tracking via promo codes, another good idea is to use URL builders to generate custom campaign parameters for the tracking URLs. And on Google Analytics, you will have a more detailed overview of the traffic that influencers bring.
Simply put, with tools like Google Analytics, you can analyze the sources of traffic to find out the best promotion channels that get the most traffic and benefits during this shopping season
Understand user behavior with heat maps
A heat map is a graphical representation of data. It can display the click position and value of your web page in the form of a special highlight in different colors. It is a great tool that allows you to visualize the visitors' overall visits and click preferences.
Mobile is quickly becoming the preferred device for online shopping. According to eMarketer, US consumers will spend about four and a half hours using mobile devices in 2022, compared to just over three hours watching TV. This year, more than a third of the time spent in media will go to mobile devices.
Besides, according to InMobi Pulse research, 53% of consumers say they find new products from mobile advertising. Google search engines will also prefer businesses with better mobile sites with better search results.
So, when making holiday promotion plans, you should pay attention to the performance of your web pages on mobile devices, especially discount pages. And optimize the mobile shopping experience.
Customers completing the whole purchase process is the most important thing for an e-commerce site. However, the checkout page is where customers are most likely to abandon their carts because of some cumbersome steps and complicated operations. So how to make the checkout page clear and simple?
First, test the loading speed when jumping to the checkout page. Set clear instructions and buttons to avoid leading customers to an error page and not being able to complete the payment.
Secondly, you need to optimize the checkout process, using pop-up prompts to reduce bounces, as much as possible to allow customers to finish the checkout on one page. Besides, you can set up address auto-fill plugins to simplify the checkout process, which can save time and reduce mistakes when typing information.
Of course, don’t forget to provide a timely customer support if possible so customers can ask for help when they have problems to reduce cart abandonment.
With holiday shopping starting earlier than ever, retailers should also start preparing for product inventories earlier than in the past. So for dropshipping businesses, one of the most important parts is to check with your dropshipping agent or suppliers whether the product inventories are sufficient for your holiday sales.
If you work with dropshipping agents who provide warehousing services, you can purchase some inventories in advance to shorten the order processing time during the busy shopping season.
Also, it can be necessary for you to keep an eye on your real-time inventories in case the products run out of stock and cause sales losses.
Especially for customizing products, don’t forget to make sure that your agent or supplier has enough supplies of customized products, thank you cards, packaging, or other customized things.
If you have no idea about the promotion strategy and product discounts, you can keep an eye on your competitors to see where they advertise for products, what kind of promotion activities they have, how many discounts they offer, etc. It is a good shortcut to getting ideas by learning the advantages of competitors' promotional channels and strategies.
Do not discount all products.
Full of discounted items will lower your customer's expectations of your store(brand) value. So it’s better to classify your products first to see which products are suitable for discounts.
Usually, products can be divided into traffic-attracting products, hot-selling products, high-profit products, and regular necessities.
Traffic-attracting products refer to cheap products that have high exposure and clicks. Consumers can be easily attracted by these cheap products and visit your website. As long as a visitor comes to your store, even if he does not make a purchase, he will have the possibility to leave customer information, so that you can carry out follow-up marketing promotions for him to generate purchases.
Hot-selling products are those products with festive features and high sales during the holiday season. Such products carry traffic and popularity themselves. What you need to do is keep up with the trends of hot-selling products and add the best-selling products to your store and have a great combination with your promotions.
Regular necessities usually cover the widest range of life scenarios and are in huge demand. If you are running a general store, you must have these products. Imagine that when someone visits your store attracted by the traffic-attracting products and hot-selling products, if he finds that your store happens to have some necessities he has planned to buy, he would be likely to buy them together.
Generally, you can discount products that have fewer sales volume and higher margins. These kinds of products are usually hard to be sold out because they are relatively expensive. If you discount them during the shopping season, Customers would be likely to purchase the products due to price reduction. Also, don’t forget to highlight the discount value to give your customers a more sincere discount feeling.
In addition to the discounts, you can also set a minimum order amount for customers to get free shipping. In this way, consumers will buy more to get more deals. Or you can set cross-selling product recommendations on the shopping cart page to improve the average transaction value.
Allow for potential shipping cost fluctuations when pricing for products.
With the arrival of the peak season, the demand for shipping capacity is tight, and shipping costs are likely to rise. Therefore, when setting the pricing of promotional products, it is necessary to leave enough profit margins to cope with the fluctuation of shipping costs.
Also, you should keep in touch with your suppliers to learn about real-time shipping prices, and adjust pricing and promotion strategies in time for unexpected situations.
Another way is to work with dropshipping agents because they usually work with multiple logistic providers so you’ll have more shipping choices. And you can get the latest shipping information more conveniently and change to cheaper shipping options in time. Then you’ll have more time to focus on marketing.
You can remind your store visitors that the holiday promotions are coming up with a creative and attractive landing page or store banner. Or you can set up pop-ups with specific discounts and times for Black Friday, making visitors expecting for the coming of the promotion.
It is a great idea to add discount countdowns to the banner, pop-ups, or checkout page, giving your customers an extra boost of urgency when they're hesitant.
This kind of countdown is better to send via emails with promotion products. Because, for example, pages with countdowns are likely to be banned from google ads campaigns.
Advertising is a must-have activity for online retailers because it can bring traffic and sales faster than other forms of marketing activities.
We recommend you start ad campaigns early for the ad learning period. In addition to advertising for products, you can also advertise for promotion activities and get potential customers as early as possible.
When setting up campaigns, you should clearly show product images, discounts, and promotion times so that consumers can be more likely to be attracted by your ads and visit your website.
Also, you can make standalone promotional pages for your promotional products, for example, a page listing the best holiday gift ideas.
Another important thing is to optimize your product listing according to different promotion activities. For example, People would love to search for promotion information by keywords such as "black friday /cyber monday + deals /sales", "holiday + gift...”, or “gaming laptop + black friday”, etc.
Christmas is one of the days people most expected, you can optimize your product listing around keywords like “christmas decorations”, “christmas gift ideas”, “christmas party supplies”, etc.
And for thanksgiving day, a traditional day of families gathering together, you can use keywords like “thanksgiving 2022”, and “history of thanksgiving” to boost exposure before the holiday season.
The standalone product listing pages are good and easy for ad testing. Different pages and product listings designed for different promotions are easier to manage than a cluttered home page with various products during the busy holiday shopping season.
You should focus on the following aspects when preparing ad campaigns.
First highlight the selling points of products, including product features that meet customer demands and spark customer interest.
Secondly, convey the urgency of promotional purchases, including display discounts and promotion countdowns to encourage customers to place orders as soon as possible.
Third, show the scene of the combination of bundled promotional products, driving customers to increase the customer unit price.
If you have set up Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your website from the start to track and record your customers’ information. Then now for the holiday promotion, is the best time to make full use of the customer information.
Your store visitors, subscribers, and those customers who abandoned their cart a long time ago may forget to check the latest things about your store. You can retarget these potential customers via ads and tell them about your promotions. And retargeting these customers who already know your store and brand is easier than converting new customers.
With the holiday shipping season approaching, competition is getting fiercer, and the difficulty and cost of driving traffic via advertising on no matter Google, Facebook, or other platforms is increasing. If you have a listing of the emails of your potential customer, it will be of great help. Email marketing would be one of the best ways to save your costs on marketing.
You can use some marketing automation tools to automate your email marketing, which is a more cost-effective option for dropshippers who don’t have enough time.
Then the key point is that you’ll need to have a list of as many potential customer emails as possible. So before the promotions kick out, you can use pop-ups to collect visitors’ emails in the name of participating in your promotions.
Once the email listings are ready, you can categorize potential customers based on user behaviors and then send personalized promotion emails in themes such as coupons for new users, discounts for subscribers, reminders for abandoned carts, etc.
Consumers may be flooded with promotional emails during the peak shopping season, so don’t send emails too frequently to avoid being marked as spam.
Then even after the shopping season, you should not forget to keep in touch with the customers by sending greeting and thank you emails to improve customer loyalty.
More and more people prefer to find and purchase products on social platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. You can use product tags, and store links in your bio, or run Facebook Shops, and TikTok shops to get more potential sales.
The benefits of marketing on these platforms are not only to attract more consumers but also to allow you to set up stores or put links on the platform for consumers to make purchases easily. Ordinary posts that make good use of keywords and product tags can even reach better results than ad posts.
Finally, don’t forget to reflect on your whole promotion plans and results after the holiday shopping season. Including summarizing the results, checking the completion of your sales goals, summarizing your mistakes in the promotion process, and the advantages and disadvantages of the marketing process. The valuable experience you gain from this will provide you with the best reference for your next holiday promotion.