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Smart phone online shopping

By Dan Pratt

Sigh. It’s that time of year again. The abundance of Christmas items starting to line store shelves can only mean one thing: The holidays are sneaking up on us.

For many businesses, the holiday season represents an insanely busy time of year. So busy, in fact, that the National Retail Federation (NRF) reports the holiday season can represent as much as 30% of annual sales . . . 30 percent!

The NRF also reports that consumers begin researching their holiday purchases earlier and earlier every year. More than half of consumers start researching in October or earlier with 33% of purchases starting in November.

With so much at stake, it’s imperative that small and medium sized business owners begin planning a marketing strategy to capitalize on the onslaught of holiday interest as soon as possible. Continued delays or missteps in planning could result in the business equivalent of a lump of coal in your stocking.

Let’s dive into 6 tips to ensure a successful digital marketing effort this holiday season.

1. Pick a goal you can measure

It’s important for every business owner to think about what they want (and hope) the holiday season will bring. That means starting with goal setting is an important part of the strategic planning process. What are you hoping to accomplish this year? Is it higher sales, an increase in awareness, expansion of your existing product line, the opening of new sales channels? Understanding what you hope to see and accomplish by December 31st will help point you in the right direction.

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Once you’ve selected your goals for the holiday season it’s important to understand the best ways to measure your success. For most businesses, the best first step is properly setting up Google Analytics for tracking all website related metrics. If you’re spending money advertising on Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, the most important thing you can do is make sure each conversion pixel is set up correctly and accurately reporting on your goals.

You can’t improve what you can’t measure.

2. Develop a strategy for mobile

It’s more important than ever to be where your customers are, and more often than not those customers are on their mobile phones. Comscore’s 2017 mobile phone usage report details that U.S. consumers spend 71% of their minutes online via a mobile device.  More shockingly, 2016 marked the first time mobile search outpaced desktop search as the defacto way consumers search for things online. A whopping 56% of retail related searches begin on mobile devices.

If your website is already optimized for a mobile e-commerce experience, congrats! That’s one less thing you’ll need to add to your holiday checklist. If it’s not, you should seriously consider upgrading before it’s too late.

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