With the holidays approaching, shopping for deals is top of mind for many Americans.

In fact, in 2016, more than 108 million consumers shopped online over the Thanksgiving holiday, a 5 million increase from 2015, according to NRF data. Compare those internet sales to the 99 million shoppers who went in-store in 2016, a 3 million decrease since 2015.

It’s no question that in 2017, we can predict that there will be even more people shopping online, and less of them dashing to the stores. Marketers and business owners can prepare and optimize their online promotions for the holiday season – on Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and beyond — in the following four ways.

1. Make finding products and services easy.
According to a survey by ViSenze, 52% of consumers said it’s hard to find the products they’re looking for online, despite enjoying online shopping more than hitting the store. Thus, it’s important to make it easy as possible for customers to find your stuff online, whether that’s on Google, Amazon, Facebook, your website– you name it. Here are three ways you can do that.

  • When products go out of stock, make sure recommendations are replaced in real time so consumers can continue adding to their cart.
  • Post enriching organic and paid content with strong visuals on social media. For example, think about how your products can be used in inspiring video, images, and GIFs.
  • Tease consumers about the upcoming sale with sneak peeks or special promotions leading up to the holiday weekend.


2. Give deals to people who shop early.
Since some people work overtime during the holidays, they want to shop anytime they are free to catch their breath. Provide multiple sales and special discounts to hit these customers so that they can shop early – and even late. For example, Steam has been providing their gamer audience with digital gift cards, available since end of October. You can do something similar, get creative with one-day flash sales, or offer free and fast shipping (same-day delivery, even).

3. Ensure that shopping on mobile is seamless.
NetElixir forecasted that 35% of online purchases will be made on mobile for the 2017 holiday season. Get your team to test devices and check out methods for every possible way a customer can buy. This means giving shoppers a choice to check out as a guest, different ways to pay (PayPal, Credit Card, Apple Pay), and screens that load fast so they don’t go to a competitor for the same product.

4. Review your return policy and gift exchange.
Target released an exchange service for gifts, called Gift Now, where those gifting to their friends and family can do so by sending a quick email. Gift receivers will then have the option to accept or exchange the gift for a different Target product or a gift card. There’s no doubt that this will help Target meet their holiday sales goals while improving the overall online shopping experience, and many other retailers like Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue do the same thing to keep their sales. We all know what it’s like to get a gift we don’t like– make returns and exchanges easy for consumers.

Cat Trestini


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