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5 Tips to Help Ecommerce Stores Kick Start 2017

Now that the tinsel has well and truly come down, Boxing Day has come and gone, and New Year’s day is just a blurred memory, it’s time to get ready to tackle 2017!

The typical lull that follows in January and February is something all retailers have now come to expect, but the mistake most of them make is that they let it happen. There are a few things every retailer can do to ensure they’re making the most out of the (supposed) quiet period. I’ve listed my top five suggestions which are quick and easy to implement in the post silly season lull.

1. Email Marketing

From Black Friday onwards, most retailers see a 50-100% increase on revenue and orders. From my experience, anywhere between 40-60% of those orders typically come from new visitors. So, not only have you made plenty of sales in the run-up to Christmas you’ve also been growing your email database without even trying!

Now is the time to capitalise on that list. Consider putting together an email marketing plan to best leverage these new subscribers – 2nd order discount, new arrivals, anniversary offers, related products, or something else entirely. There is a lot that can be done outside of the normal email scope.

2. Paid Advertising

Nowadays, paid advertising is so much more than just Google AdWords. Facebook and other social platforms have never been more powerful in terms of being able to reach your target customer. This can include profiling your existing customers based on their email addresses, allowing you to target people that are similar to your current customer. Or, you can target by a specific interest whether that’s extreme sports, cooking, outdoor adventure and more!

If you know your customer, it’s likely you’ll be able to find them and more people like them through social paid advertising. Just remember, not all advertising needs to be sale related.

HOT TIP: If you were using paid advertising over Christmas and were lucky enough to gather a remarketing list, look at targeting those who have already visited your site with an exclusive discount.

3. Reviews, Product and Service

Why is it that we only ever hear from customers when they are unhappy with their product or service?

As marketers, we need to find the people that LOVED their product and the service they received. Christmas is a great time to leverage off that, using the vast amount of products purchased you have a much larger database for reviews. Give your site (and your self-esteem) a boost and ask people to leave a review.

Reviews can be left at product level, website service, Google My Business, Facebook and more. You can do this by direct contact with your customers. Or, you can use the likes of a third-party tool like TrustPilot, Feefo or Yotpo.

If you are automating the process, it might also be a good idea to offer an incentive such as 5% off their next order if they leave a review. In addition to your happy customer review, the incentive gives your customer a little nudge to repeat purchase.

Note: If you are going to incentivise reviews, it’s important to be sure you comply with the terms and conditions of any third party platforms that your reviews are hosted on (e.g. Google My Business).

Also, if you are hosting reviews on your website, it is also important to comply with ACCC regulations. For example, you may need to place a disclaimer on your review page that says:

“Some/all reviewers of [reviewed business] received [benefit] in exchange for their review.”

You can read the full ACCC guide on user generated reviews here.

4. Use Your Downtime

I think we’re all guilty of rushing things over Christmas in the interest of sales – I know I have in the past. It’s easy to get lost in the Christmas rush, you upload subpar quality images because it needs to get online, you rush product descriptions, you miss metadata and just fall behind on general website housekeeping.

It’s OK, it happens. Take this downtime to go back and fix some of the things you might’ve missed. It’ll help your site (and sanity) once those orders start rolling in again.

5. Reflect and Plan

There’s nothing better than celebrating the wins. I for one am all for taking the time to do that.

However, during the Christmas rush we don’t always see the wins or have the time to celebrate them. When it quietens down, take the time to reflect on what you’ve done over the past year and start planning for 2017.

Look at the things that worked well and make sure you include them in your plan, reflect on what maybe didn’t go so well and think about what you could do to change them.

If you found that there were some approaches that totally tanked, that’s OK too! These things happen – it’s how you adapt and learn from those mistakes that will help you grow as a retailer. Don’t ever be scared to try new things, take calculated risks and if you’ve done the right planning you’ll see it pay off.

Good luck in 2017!

Emily Forrest

Digital Strategy Consultant

Emily Forrest is an experienced Digital Strategy Consultant at Reload Media. Emily works on the front line developing completely tailored digital strategies for new-to-Reload clients.