July may seem early to be talking about the holidays. But for e-commerce companies, it’s not. For companies that drive a major chunk of their revenues during the holiday shopping season, it’s never too early to start planning campaigns — or even just testing new techniques that you can roll out later. When you consider that, according to the National Retail Federation, as many as 40% of holiday shoppers start buying before Halloween, the period preceding the holiday season has shrunk dramatically. With that in mind, it’s exactly the right time to start thinking about the holidays.

Last week, Alice Williams (Program Manager of Optimization and Personalization at Lenovo, a Fortune 500 technology company) and Logan Goulett (Senior Customer Success Director at Evergage) presented a webinar entitled “Planning for the 2018 Holiday Season.” In this webinar, they described a number of use cases to give online retailers some inspiration for their holiday campaigns. I’ll describe three here, but check out the webinar replay for the full list of ideas.

Re-Engage Last Year’s Shoppers

There’s always a large group of shoppers who are itching to get started with their holiday shopping. Use this knowledge to target last year’s holiday shoppers as early as you can.

You have historical data on how they shopped last year and what they purchased, so try targeting this segment with a message telling them they can get early access to your holiday collection and direct them to the categories that they are most likely to be interested in (see example in the image below). With this approach, you can target early birds with holiday campaigns — without requiring the holidays to take over your site for the rest of your visitors for the next six months.

e-commerce holiday campaign ideas

Mitigate Comparison Shopping

We all know that the internet makes it easy to comparison shop, and comparison shopping can be particularly appealing for holiday shoppers looking to get the best price and stick to their budgets. As a consumer, what is the first thing you do when you’re about to check for a better price on a different site? You select the name of the product, copy it, and then paste it into a search engine. You can be pretty sure that shoppers that select a product name on your site are about to do just that — seek the best price for the item...which may be somewhere else.

Target these shoppers with some relevant content to address their concerns and demonstrate the benefits of buying from your site over others — as Lenovo does (see example in the image below). This message can help you catch their attention at a critical moment.

e-commerce holiday campaign ideas

Drive Urgency with Inventory Notifications

Finally, no matter how well you have planned your inventory levels, stock-outs are an inevitable part of the holiday season. Fortunately, the threat of decreasing inventory levels can drive shoppers to act sooner rather than later.

There are many ways to drive urgency on your e-commerce site (check out this blog post for some suggestions). But one good way is to target shoppers who have already left the site with triggered emails. For example, if a shopper has recently engaged with a particular razor on your site but hasn’t purchased it yet, you can trigger an email announcing when there are only a few left in stock to drive prompt action. You’ll want to think beyond products as well to alert shoppers when categories, brands, or styles they like are selling fast to create urgency.

e-commerce holiday campaign ideas

Final Thoughts

According to RetailMeNot’s Retail Marketing Trends survey, 76% of retailers are planning to increase the number of promotions they’ll offer this year. However, as summed up perfectly by Alice in the webinar, “There’s life outside promo codes.” We hope that the use cases in this blog post and the on-demand webinar give you some new ideas for the holiday season.

To learn more about how Evergage can help you with the campaigns I’ve described and more, request a demo today.