Small Budget? 3 Tips on How To Compete During Holiday Shopping Season

The holidays are already a stressful time, even more so when you’re trying to figure out how your small e-commerce business can compete with the big guys for ad space and customer dollars during the holiday shopping season. Knowing when, where, and how much to promote can be overwhelming.

Here are three tips to get you started:

Start Now

  • Like, actually now. A large percentage of e-commerce holiday shopping happens a lot sooner than you’d think. Start testing different promotions now — a gift with purchase, refer a friend, free shipping, etc. Promotion averse? Rely heavily on gift guides, holiday outfit guides, recipes, or whatever to get your customers thinking of your brand aligned with the holiday. Show your VIP list sneak-peeks of your Cyber Monday sales. The more you can get your customer to mentally commit money during the holiday to you, the better.

Be Strategic About Your Promotions

  • Try a mix of promotions: Buy one, get one (BOGO), a percentage off, a specific dollar amount off, gift with purchase, bundle pricing, free shipping, etc. Everyone has their own idea of what they’re hoping for in a sale. This will help capture as many people as possible and have actionable data in the future about what your customers react positively to. Along with different promotions, be proactive about segmentation. Not sure how a BOGO flash sale will go over with your customers? Create a VIP list (high lifetime value or average order value) and use it as a testing ground for promotions. These users are already engaged with your brand and are more likely to buy, so they make a great test case for how a promotion will work across your customer base.

Be Strategic About Your Calendar

  • Advertising during large sales periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday is competitive and expensive, and unless you’re an electronics company, it may not be the best time for you. Think of your customer cycle. Are you a family oriented product? Before Thanksgiving when everyone is preparing for the holiday and after Thanksgiving is probably best. This is when your users will be most aware of their family needs. Are you a summer product? Do Christmas in July instead and skip out on the holiday promotions. Really think about when and why your customers buy your product and try to match that with their emotional needs.

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