Arizona Advertising Agency, Off Madison Ave, Provides Recommendations to Enhance Holiday Online Sales

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For retailers relying on their e-commerce engine to keep up with the deluge of forthcoming holiday transactions, Off Madison Ave provides the top 10 holiday tips.

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Our online marketing group, Mighty Interactive, compiled their best practices and tips to share with e-commerce outlets in the name of enhancing the online results for retailers and improving the shopping experience for customers.

As fall has arrived and the holidays will soon be looming on the horizon, Off Madison Ave, a full-service collaborative marketing communications firm, is offering a series of tips for improving e-commerce results and customers' Web shopping experiences during the 2007 holiday shopping season.

"While it's still too early to plan for decorations, festive foods and holiday parties, it is never too early to prepare your Web site for the impending surge in online shopping during the holiday season," said David Anderson, president and managing partner of Off Madison Ave. "Our online marketing group, Mighty Interactive, compiled their best practices and tips to share with e-commerce outlets in the name of enhancing the online results for retailers and improving the shopping experience for customers."

For retailers relying on their e-commerce engine to keep up with the deluge of forthcoming holiday transactions, the Phoenix internet marketing firm advises that before investing valuable marketing dollars into a full-blown online campaign, take stock in your current e-shopping capabilities and assess where you are as an online retailer and where you want to end up after the frenzied buying season. The firm's recommendations for refining Web shopping functions follow:

Off Madison Ave's Holiday Tips for E-Commerce Retailers:

1. Find Out What Makes Shopper Click: Conduct offer and message testing now with email and search advertising
Take this opportunity during the fall months to find out what your customers want to hear. Learn what encourages them to purchase. If possible, conduct split testing with email lists and paid search ads to determine what elements will lead to an online purchase. Such revelations can help you get holiday promotions off to a stronger start.

2. Try to Break Everything: Perform exhaustive quality assurance on the site
Broken links translate to busted reputations and lost sales for online retailers. Conduct a thorough check of all your Web site links, forms, shopping cart steps and verify your content for accuracy. Also, be sure that your last day to ship before certain holidays is communicated clearly. This can be the difference between a long-term, loyal customer and a dissatisfied dissident.

3. Deliver on Promises: Ensure all back-end technology matches up with your inventory
You probably have no doubt that you will get sales, as you should. However, be sure that you don't make promises you cannot keep. Does your supply of live inventory match up with what you are currently offering on the Web site? Do you have measures in place to pull products off the online shelves if you are running low? Is there an established process for procuring more product if necessary?

4. Keep It Consistent: Synchronize catalog mailer call to action and look/feel with Web site
Effective integrated marketing has one common thread - consistency. Communicating with prospects via traditional means such as direct mail, print advertising, broadcast, etc. can lead to online results. To improve effectiveness, be sure that all of your creative elements are consistent across multiple venues. Present one unified look, feel, tone and message to users. This will help your site visitors know they are in the right place once they arrive at your Web site and set expectations accordingly.

5. Nothing Says "Holidays" Like Keywords: Optimize for holiday search phrases and include them in your PPC (pay-per-click) campaign
Several online merchants carry seasonal products later in the year, and others offer items year-round that are typically purchased more often during the holiday season. Regardless the scenario, conduct research on seasonal keyword phrases and implement them in your campaign. If you sell scented candles, experiment with "christmas candles," or if you own a gym, try "gym membership gift."

6. Track Online Behavior Early and Often to Identify products That Are Selling
Web site analytics can be used to tell the story of a holiday campaign. Review traffic spikes from online and traditional media placements to determine when traffic is occurring during the day and throughout the week. It is important to assess which Web sites and search engines are referring the best quality traffic. Use your analytics program to learn about what products are more popular with shoppers than others, and adjust your promotions, pricing and placement strategy accordingly.

7. When is Your Prime Time? Day segment to increase efficiency and communicate with shoppers
Find out what times your visitors are buying during the day, and if possible, graph it out or place this important information in a chart for careful analysis. Once you determine when visitors are most likely to buy, adjust your online marketing campaigns (search, online advertising, email, etc.) to generate traffic during those times. If implemented correctly, this strategy can improve the efficiency and ROI of your campaign.

8. Include Up-Sell Cues Throughout the Checkout Process
During or immediately after the online checkout process, look for additional ways to entice eager shoppers with promotions and offers for complimentary products and/or services. For example, if you sell tires, offer rims, an air pressure gauge or tire cleaner as well. Use special incentives such as discounts or free shipping to encourage visitors to take action. All these messages can be included on "thank you" pages, sale confirmation emails and in your shopping cart.

9. Collect Email Addresses for Remarketing Throughout 2008
The holiday season cannot only provide immediate sales, but also methods of garnering invaluable contact information for future online marketing efforts. Whether visitors decide to purchase online or not, take every opportunity to promote your email program. Collect email as part of the checkout process and tie this information with purchase history if possible. This data can be used to provide details on products in which specific email recipients have interest. A well-designed email opt-in process can translate into long-lasting, tenable revenue from existing customers.

10. Create a Strategy to Mitigate and Respond to Shopping Cart Abandonment
It happens. Your site visitors will place items in their card and/or suddenly leave. Do your best to win them back. You can include special features throughout the Web site to instill user confidence such as live chat and security certifications like HackerSafe. For those that abandon your shopping cart, try instituting programs that display pop-unders with special offers on products the user had placed in the cart. To recapture attention from visitors who have visited your site without converting to a sale, try a retargeting campaign, which allows you to place a cookie on visitors' machines that will display your online ads to those same visitors when they visit various Web site networks and content providers.

About Off Madison Ave
Off Madison Ave, a collaborative marketing communications firm located in Phoenix, redefines what it means to be an agency, not just on paper, but through delivering integrated, results-focused strategies. As a full-service agency, Off Madison Ave develops comprehensive communications strategies that raise clients' brand awareness and revenue. Named one of the "Best Places to Work" in 2006 by the Business Journal of Phoenix, Off Madison Ave specializes in marketing and business consulting in the areas of new media, strategic planning, interactive, public relations, advertising, research and media.

In 2005, Off Madison Ave acquired Internet marketing firm Mighty Interactive to provide its clients with industry-leading interactive marketing services. The agency continues to earn the ranking of No. 1 public relations and Internet marketing firm in the Valley, and one of the top two advertising firms, by Arizona Business Magazine. Off Madison Ave is an active partner of the Worldcom Public Relations Group, the world's largest consortium of independently owned public relations counseling firms. A sampling of current clients include: Nike, DMB Associates, Inc., APS/Pinnacle West Corporation, Cruise America, Farnam Pet Products, Fairytale Brownies and many more. Visit http://www.offmadisonave.com for more information.

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