Q4 can seem like a magical time for online retailers, and for good reason. It’s the only time of year that virtually every person in the country is looking to purchase multiple gifts. Revenues generally go up for retail businesses, whether online or brick and mortar. However, since nearly all of them are looking to advertise, the price of paid messaging increases. We’ve talked in the past about the specifics of Black Friday, but Q4 hinges on much more than a single day. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips and tricks to make sure that your holiday boon doesn’t become holiday blues.
Set Goals Early
Going into Q4 without a specific, predetermined goal is unwise. Setting the bar high is standard for Q4 since it tends to be the busiest quarter of the year. However, it is vital to define exactly what that goal is; otherwise, it is difficult to know whether or not the quarter was successful. It is also important to keep goals reasonable. While ambitious projections are certainly to be expected, it is important to ensure that they are realistic. Examine past Q4 revenues to inform your goals for this year. Setting reasonable, achievable goals is important for any quarter, but it’s especially vital in Q4.
Gather Emails Early and Often
The shopping-rush of Q4 means that you will almost certainly see increased traffic to your site. Even though not all of those people will buy from you, Q4 is the perfect time to make sure your email strategy is working effectively. Whether you offer customers an inboxed incentives or early access to new arrivals, the important thing is to capture their email address. Once you have it, you no longer have to rely on them re-discovering your site all over again. You’ll be able to directly send them updates and product recommendations that can quickly turn into conversions, especially if they’re still shopping for gifts.
There is one main caveat regarding this strategy; it won’t work to wait until December to get these emails. The sooner you get them, the sooner you’ll be able to engage customers with product offerings and discounts. People begin shopping for holiday gifts as early as October, so the time to start gathering is now.
Reiterate The Positives of Online Shopping
Although it may feel old-fashioned in the world of Amazon, the tradition of holiday shopping is something that many people feel more comfortable with in a brick and mortar retail environment. This is evidenced by the fact that traditional retail still continues to see its biggest gains in the fourth quarter. There are plenty of reasons for this: customers know exactly what they’re buying when they purchase it, there’s no waiting for a package to arrive, they don’t have to pay for shipping, and making a return is relatively uncomplicated.
The key is to mollify those concerns by reassuring customers of the benefits of online shopping and more specifically, shopping with you. “Skip the lines” and “delivered right to your door” are old standbys that still work today. You can also try offering free shipping, because research shows that there are still a substantial number of consumers who simply will not pay for shipping, regardless of circumstance. The benefits of shopping online may seem obvious to you, but reminding your customers of what they are can go a long way.
Q4 has the potential to be your best quarter of the year. However, these high expectations can easily lead to disappointment without proper planning. By setting realistic goals early, you can keep yourself on track to achieve reasonable expectations throughout these next few months. Then, by positioning your brand properly and refining your email strategy, you can set yourself up for both short and long-term success. Finally, by reiterating the benefits of online shopping as a whole, you can increase your customer base and consumer confidence in the industry at large. When you have a game plan for Q4, it can truly be the most wonderful time of the year.