4 ecommerce essentials for a very merry holiday season

By Marc Hummel

December 3, 2015

The turkeys have been carved. The family members have been appeased. Black Friday has been survived. Good job. Now get back to work.

Forrester predicts U.S. ecommerce holiday sales will reach $95 billion this year, up 11% from 2014. That’s about 237,500,000 hover boards!

Here are the 4 basics for holiday ecommerce success.

1. Mobile

No surprise here. Mobile sales grew 87% from 2013–2014, and Forrester expects that momentum to continue through 2015, and our analysis of current holiday ecommerce trends supports that hunch. From November 24 to the current date, mobile metrics such as AOV, conversion, and add-to-cart rates are up by double-digit percentage points.

Suggested reading:
Our guide to mobile retail apps.

2. Email

Forrester reports that email is the most cost-effective way to drive sales. It beats out every other digital marketing tactic, including PPC and SEO (although search and organic traffic are in second place). It also turns out that email is where most customers find out about sales and other special promotions.

We suggest:
Make sure your website experience is connected to your email campaigns. When your promotional messaging is consistent across email and web, you not only get to deliver a better user experience, you improve conversion rate, too.

3. Product

Another intriguing finding from the recent Forrester report: Nearly 75% of total ecommerce holiday revenue comes from just 1% of products. See, that really is a lot of hover boards!

We think you have two things you can do here: Join ’em or ditch ’em.

If you join ’em, promote the crap out of that best seller. Put it all over your site, emails, ads—and offer a good discount (or include some intriguing extras).

If you ditch ’em, make sure your website has personalization capabilities so you can make the most out of the long tail. Focus niche products to niche audiences, and you might be able to beat the best sellers fair-and-square.

Suggested reading:
5 ways to create segments that convert this holiday season.

4. Timing

Use the holiday shopping calendar to your advantage. Shoppers need and expect different things from the online shopping experience in early November than they need on December 12.

We suggest:
Create relevant, helpful, and time-saving messages for Green Monday (Dec. 14), Free Shipping Day (Dec. 18), and your “deliver-by-Christmas” shipping deadlines.

Marc Hummel is a former Content Marketing Associate for Monetate. He's also a part-time grad student at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys biking to work, reading, listening to podcasts/music, and eating ice cream. Usually not all at once. For more about Marc, go here.

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