Campaigns, promotions, sales, marketing pushes – however you name it – the holidays are upon us and with that a barrage of offers, steals and deals that are too good to pass up and some that fall flat. Many consider the holiday shopping season to be a make-or-break proposition with a strong online sales season having the capacity to set the financial tone for the whole year ahead.

With a somewhat soft Black Friday in the books, its clear that shoppers are opting out of the in store rush (even choosing to #optoutside by suggestion from REI). This does not mean that those couch huggers and tree huggers are choosing to forego the deals, it just means the number of people who are shopping online is increasing- and the longtime tried-and-tested marketing model has is beginning to shift.

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With over an 11% increase in online sales expected over last year via Adobe’s predictive commerce model, online sales for 2015 are slated to be at $83 Billion for the year, while sales for Cyber Monday alone are expected to generate roughly $3 Billion dollars in online spending.

With a captive audience, providing a retailer has an online presence with an ecommerce feature such as Magento, getting in on this game is a no-brainer. The key is positioning the product or service in a light that the consumer is attracted to. Here are a few tips for a better chance at making the sale:

Visual Content

Whether on social media or a website, images that are relevant and engaging to the customer will always make a deal shine that much brighter. Rather than showing a static product shot, depicting the product in use or being unwrapped on Christmas morning will help illuminate the experience so that the user can imagine themselves purchasing the item, bringing the chance of conversion up exponentially. Good quality product photography allows the consumer to ‘window shop’ via the web since they will not see the item before purchasing.

Direct Marketing

Particularly for luxury brands who don’t want to splash deals all over the place, email marketing can be a powerful approach. Offering a more exclusive approach, companies can offer ‘insider’ pricing that are only delivered to preferred or select customers. Many email marketing platforms offer the ability to segment customer lists to offer varying levels of discounts or promotions.

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Responsive Design

For the first time ever, the majority of online shopping visits this holiday season are expected to happen on mobile. If a site isn’t optimized for mobile – the sale will be lost. Put simply, if a company who wants to stay in business and they are not optimized for mobile – a plan for a Responsive Site needs to be at the top of their list.

Experiential Marketing

By using both visual, contextual, graphic and textual elements – a brand can make connections like never before. Through video in particular, a brand can provide a truly immersive experience, leading to faster conversion and brand advocacy. Delivering a campaign strategy that shows emotion and personality – whether its a ’12 days of Holiday Deals’ or ‘How to Wrap a Present’ – the user will come back for more and share the content having connected to the experience.

Personalization

Through social media and direct marketing, targeting customers with relevant messaging has become less of a challenge. A personalization strategy can be as simple as adding a name to an email or customer service response. Using A/B email testing can help to determine the ROI. Twitter and Facebook have also launched a targeting products to promote tweets to users who have visited the brands website or made a purchase.

Collaboration

The holidays, after all, are about coming together. Finding like-minded companies to build a collaboration with can help to expand reach and open up market segments that wouldn’t normally exist to a brand. Additionally,  ‘thought leaders’ and ‘style makers’ like bloggers in a specific market segments can promote products or services to an already captive audience. This provides an automatic ‘seal of approval’.

Tap Into Data

The holiday selling season is such a short lived, but action packed period of time. Its important to not fly blind. Tracking successes and failures via analytics, A/B testing and social media platforms can help to remedy misses and re-create hits. Staying on top of data on a regular basis is key to this strategy.