This weeks guest post is from Rohan Lock, Regional Director APAC at dotmailer. We caught up with Rohan last week and he shared with us five holiday hacks for every marketer getting ready for the holiday shopping season.
Whether you consider yourself festive or not, there’s no escaping the e-commerce opportunities that come with the holiday shopping season; the period generates 50-100% more revenue compared to shopping days throughout the rest of the year¹. The holiday shopping season covers a number of key days. In November alone we have Singles’ Day (November 11), Click Frenzy (November 13), Black Friday (November 23) and Cyber Monday (November 26). As we move into December, we have an extended period of shopping, post and pre-Christmas Day, including Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
This year, with shoppers making the most of omnichannel opportunities, it’s crucial that your marketing strategy can support your customers at every point of brand engagement and through every available means. Email marketing automation is a crucial component in every holiday marketing strategy, from providing a cost-effective channel that facilitates mass-scale personal engagement, to giving time back to time-poor marketers with big ideas.
Here are my top 5 tips that can help you maximise return on the opportunities the holiday shopping period brings.
Implement a welcome email
During the holiday shopping season, it’s crucial for marketers to bulk out their database as much as possible in order to maximise revenue potential. A welcome program is the most important automated campaign you can set up. It may well be the first brand touchpoint for the customer, and will most likely have the highest engagement of any email you send. It’s also a great opportunity to tell your brand’s story and showcase your unique USPs. When it comes to initiating conversation with new subscribers, your welcome email counts as your first impression; and we all know that you only get one shot at those. So let’s get it right!
Persuading a website user to visit your site and make a purchase isn’t the end of your email marketing cycle – it should be just the beginning. Once the purchase is made, it’s time to start using email marketing to reassure the customer, build loyalty and the feel-good factor, and drive repeat purchases, through cross-sells, up-sells and referrals, especially during the busy holiday shopping season.
Abandon cart / Abandon browse
It’s important that no one gets left out over the holidays, whatever their stage in the customer lifecycle. A triggered abandonment campaign is a great way to follow up and re-engage potentials who may be shopping around for gifts. What’s more, engaging with customers at this point can have a massive impact on conversion rates. With an average of 69% of customers abandoning their carts globally², a successful engagement with potentials at this time could help you access some of the healthy return potentials that these customers boast, estimated at $2.5 trillion³.
Automation also aids recovery. Automation makes browse and cart abandonment campaigns simple yet personal, so you can reach every customer quickly and in style. dotmailer’s abandoned carts module combines the tracking power of WebInsight, the flexibility of EasyEditor, and the complete control of our program builder to ensure that you can send customised cart recovery messages to your shoppers via the channel that suits them. The key to abandonment recovery is a diligent and tailored approach. It’s important to make contact within 24 hours of the event, and best practice advises you to use what you know about the customers’ journey up to this point.
Make your customers feel special, especially during the holiday shopping season. This does not necessarily mean sending them huge volumes of emails addressed to their first name. Based on your segmentation, you will be able to target individual customers with tailored messages at the right time, using the right channel, utilising the right communication methods they are most responsive to. Creating an omnichannel strategy, using the media your customers use, is paramount to keep your audience engaged. Email automation, use of social media, SMS, site personalisation, push notifications and abandoned cart messages are just a few strategies that you can employ this holiday shopping season.
Christmas is quite possibly the most long-awaited holiday of the year for consumers, and it goes without saying that most of the shopping action happens more in the pre-season than the day itself. You need to engage with your subscribers at an early stage, given consumers are becoming more partial towards online shopping. That way, when it comes to making purchasing decisions over Christmas, they will have your brand top of mind.
Now that you’ve got some top tips to boost your holiday shopping sales, it’s time to start planning your email marketing campaigns. Keep your audience in mind, execute your emails at the right time, create a sense of excitement and urgency, and you will most likely see an improvement in conversions and sales in the lead up to Christmas. Good luck and happy email campaigning!
Words by Rohan Lock, Regional Director, APAC, dotmailer.
Want more? Why not check out more of the tip sheets and resources from Rohan and the team at dotmailer.
 “Ecommerce Holiday Trends”, 2015 Benchmark Report Series – RJMetrics
 34 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics – Baymard Institute
 Shopping cart abandonment: online retailers’ biggest headache is actually a huge opportunity – Business Insider