Engaging with a seasonal segment

December 1, 2017

By: Susi Weaser,

Rockstar Copywriter

, Nosto

Engaging with a seasonal segment

According to a recent study, the average eCommerce business receives 20 percent of its revenue from November and December alone. Is it the colder temperatures that make people shop? Perhaps a desire to finish off the year in style? No, for most businesses, this uplift in revenue comes from an entirely different set of customers to the rest of the year:  gift buyers.

Gift buyers may have never bought from your shop before. But they are probably buying for someone who loves your stuff. Or perhaps they’ve come via Google, searching for gifts for their nephew/neighbor/father/sister. Either way, it’s often not possible to find and engage with this type of buyer the way you do the rest of the year.

So, what should you do to target this new audience?

Find Them and Create Audiences Like Them

Imagine a store that sells clothing to men, aged between 20 and 40. How could they adapt their existing Facebook ad campaign to target women buying gifts for this type of man?

The first step is to find the audience. You need to create a ‘lookalike’ audience based on recent customers, and then limit it to females aged between 20 and 40. Then it’s possible to target your ads at exactly the right audience.

The next step is to restrict the products that appear in these ad campaigns. By limiting the range to those within a typical gift budget, and those suitable for presents, you can maximize your ROI. During the holiday season, it’s also worth demoting items that you know are more likely to be returned, to mitigate the number of January returns. However, returns can have a silver lining, which we’ll discuss this a little later.

Alternatively, if you’re using AdWords to attract new customers, you can create a landing page directly related to the specific keyword bringing customers to your site. For instance, if they’ve searched ‘gifts for Dad’, you can recommend suitable products. Because you know what they’re looking for, you can use your own site data to display what other customers looking for that item went on to buy. By providing highly relevant recommendations and displaying the products most likely to convert, you’ll increase your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Help Shoppers Buy

Once you’ve successfully directed the gift buyer to your site, there’s a range of seasonal tweaks you can make to maximize your chance at a sale. From dynamic ‘Hot Products’ lists to seasonal filters—such as ‘For Him/Her’, price, and gift type—the key is to make it easy for the customer to find the perfect gift as quickly as possible.

Once they’ve made their selection, you have one final chance to increase that average order value: the cart page. An item in the basket gives you the strongest signals as to what they’re interested in, and therefore crucial data on suitable last-minute purchases. By including recommendations on the cart page, you can potentially increase extra dollars per customer cart size—and that can add up to a very happy holiday season.

Consider displaying items that are often bought with the gift, such as batteries for electrical items, or a belt for a pair of pants. If you offer free shipping over a certain basket value, don’t just show people how far they are from the threshold. Suggest items that will push them over that magic limit. You might be surprised to see how much people are willing to spend to feel that magical glow of free shipping.

Re-engage With Them

An RJMetrics study found that the average eCommerce business acquires 23 percent of its new customers in November and December, versus 17 percent over any other two month period. And while these customers do have a lower lifetime value by 13 percent, the sheer number of new customers still makes them a segment worth re-engaging.

So, if you were thinking that the initial gift purchase marks the end of your relationship with the gift buyer–at least until next holiday period–think again. You can use email marketing to re-engage gift buyers.

That same RJMetrics study found that 38 percent of customers made a second purchase within the same holiday season, so sending an email showing other gifts may prompt another purchase. And since another 42 percent made their second purchase during the following 10 months, reminding the customer about your store is worth it, whatever the time of year.

The message? Don’t be shy about sending that ‘we miss you’ email. If someone enjoyed a positive experience with your brand at the beginning of their gift shopping, there’s every chance they will return later in the season for more gifts, or even to buy something for themselves.

For an extra seasonal spike, optimize your returns policy to make the experience as pain-free as possible for the gift receiver. After all, a bad returns policy won’t stop someone returning that gift, but it will almost certainly stop them from shopping with you again.

In fact, UPS found that 45 percent of people made an additional purchase when making a return online, clearly demonstrating the need to make sure this first interaction with you is a positive one. With 60 percent of people saying that a free returns policy results in the best returns experience, it’s worth considering. It could help you navigate that notorious January sales slump.

By making just a few seasonal tweaks to your PPC campaigns and onsite experience, you can optimize the buyer journey for the gift buyer. Add a touch of automation, and you could enjoy the happiest holiday season yet.

Happy holidays from all of us here at Nosto!

There are still a few weeks left in 2017, so let’s make them count. If you’re a Magento user (or you’re interested in the benefits that Magento could bring to your business), check out our Definitive Guide to Supercharging Your Magento Store to see how you can skyrocket your business.


About Susi Weaser and Nosto

Rockstar copywriter Susi Weaser was previously a journalist and editor for the UK’s first gadgets to girls website, Shiny Shiny, and freelancer for everyone from GQ to The Guardian. Founder of Death to Flowers, the cool guy's alternative to flowers. Nosto enables online retailers to deliver their customers' personalized shopping experiences at every touch point, across every device. A powerful personalization platform designed for ease of use, Nosto empowers retailers to build, launch and optimize 1:1 multichannel marketing campaigns without the need for dedicated IT resources. Leading retail brands in over 100 countries use Nosto to grow their business and delight their customers. Nosto supports its retailers from its offices in Helsinki, Berlin, Stockholm, London, New York, and Los Angeles. To learn more visit www.nosto.com.