As October creeps to a close, the Holiday season is fast approaching. Faster than we’d like to admit, really. But this is also an exciting time for publishers; not only because it’s the most profitable time of the year, but also a time to roll out and test your well-planned campaigns and strategies for your consumers.
But the traditional trends in shopping and consumer habits have radically changed in a relatively short period of time. Shoppers are smarter and savvier than they were before;
|• they have the wealth of the world’s knowledge at their fingertips|
|• they have the resources to research and compare prices like never before (including blogs, and alerts)|
|• they’re mobile as they shop—no need to be tied down to a desktop|
With E-commerce channels predicting a 13% growth in Holiday sales for this 2016 Holiday season—similar to the growth experienced in 2015 (CJ Affiliate, 2016)—publishers know that their key to success lies in their own hands… and maybe taking a tip or two from the OPM Pros team.
After careful thought, consideration, strategizing, and overall analysis, the ‘Pros have put together a definitive guide on how our affiliates can succeed in this year’s peak-week.
Timing is everything
Like most things in life, timing is everything. Knowing when to roll out promotions—or knowing when to hold back—is a tricky game where the stakes are high, and the rewards even higher. Though difficult to anticipate, implementing strategic timing in your placements and marketing campaigns is an integral part of your success for the 2016 peak-season.
Not convinced? Here’s some quick numbers about our Peak-Days, courtesy of Adobe
|• Black Friday is the fastest growing online sales day to date|
|• Cyber Monday is the largest online sales day (Refer to point 1)|
|• Thanksgiving Day is the biggest mobile sales day|
Time your messages to your community: Generate interesting topics or native content that begins a conversation. It’s a noisy online world out there, so make sure your community is hearing, and identifying with you!
Now that you’ve got your reader’s attention, it’s time for affiliates to start digging into shopping patterns. Look at the trends from previous years and see if you’re optimizing your website and products to attract the right kind of traffic.
For example, in most cases shoppers who are looking for beauty products tend to begin their purchasing during the last week of October and into the first week of November, whereas those shopping for electronics, like FitBits or mobile phones (which also happen to be some of the most sought after gifts during peak-week) begin their shopping (or browsing) only in the first and second week of November. Scheduling your campaigns and targeting this community should reflect this trend.
Shipping strategy; timing, timing, timing!
For a client, there’s nothing worse than placing all your holiday orders and realizing they won’t come in on time. Creating a Shipping Calendar for your customers and community is a great way to add value to your business, and helps your shoppers keep on track. It’s also cost-effective for you to push products that will actually reach your customers on time, rather than dedicate resources to products that won’t make the cut.
Our ‘Pro Tip: Make sure your schedule is foolproof. Set reminders, notifications, and tiered-deadlines to make sure your products get to your customers on time!
Mobile friendly is the make-or-break factor
Knowing how and where your customers shop is just as important to your success as timing is. In a recent study conducted by CJ Affiliate Network, it was noted that over 29% of shoppers in the US use their smartphone or tablet when making a purchase, and in Canada, that number is as high as 35%. That’s a lot of people making purchases on devices that aren’t tied to their home or desk. Optimizing your mobile websites has never been more important than it is now.
Thanks again to Adobe Digital, consumers spent a whopping $1.73 billion dollars last year (2015) during Thanksgiving Day alone. That’s a 25% increase from the year before, and a similar forecast is expected for the 2016 Holiday season.
|• Make sure your campaigns and sales are displaying properly on mobiles! Test, test, test!|
|• How’s your load time? According to Google, 53% of mobile sites visited are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load (Sampled 11.8k global mWeb homepage domains 2016)|
Capitalize on your trust & trends
There’s a lot of competition out there, but not matter the size of your competitors, you have something unique: you have the trust of your community. Their loyalty is what supports your program; these customers shop with you because they trust your products, and trust that they’re getting the best deal.
Giving something back to the community is a way to reinforce their loyalty.
|• Send out your own product reviews to customers|
|• Prepare guides that indicate special selling points or offers, or that promote things of interest to your community (for example, which products are express shipped, or have full guarantees, etc.)|
|• Make sure you’re staying on top of trends, and market your products following those guidelines. (Ex. Many gift givers are opting on giving “experiences” rather than “things.” Knowing this, craft a story around the product you have)|
|• Offer what your customers want, not what they don’t want: according to CJ Affiliate, promotions that involved in-store pick up fared better than promotions with indicated free shipping.|
Though peak-week has yet to begin, making sure you have a complete strategy that’ll outline your post-mortem is crucial. Whether it’s strategizing your way out of overstock, or seeing what the most popular items were, these are all tools that’ll allow you to keep track of what your customers want, and capitalize on emerging trends.
Whether you’re an industry vet or a timid newbie, don’t stress about the upcoming Holiday madness. Getting organized and following OPM Pros’ advice is sure way to lead you to your most successful Cyber Weekend ever!