Branding your business is crucial at any time of the year, but it’s especially important during the holiday season. The crowded marketplace means it’s not as easy as it otherwise would be to stand out. The good news is that excellent branding can help you remain visible to this year’s shoppers and help you continue succeeding long after the rush passes. Here are nine ways to get started.
1. Consider Aligning Your Business With a Good Cause
One effective way to strengthen your brand this holiday season is to support a worthy cause. More specifically, let people take part in that aim by shopping at your site. Consumers tend to be exceptionally aware of less-fortunate individuals during the holidays, and many feel compelled to help them. Letting shoppers do that through your website reflects positively on your brand and should lead to repeat business.
You might make an arrangement where every item sold results in one donation. Bombas, an e-commerce sock brand, does that by connecting with giving partners that receive socks for homeless shelters and similar facilities across the United States. No matter which method of giving back you choose, be as specific as possible regarding how you help. That’s far better than only saying something like, “Giving back matters to us.”
2. Create Holiday-Themed Content
You probably already know the importance of content marketing for a strong brand but may not have thought about how you can create and publish posts for the holiday season. Many people want and look for advice to guide them through this often-stressful period. High-quality content can provide it while gently reminding the audience that your business can ease some of their struggles.
If your site sells paper goods, you might write a blog post about pretty and efficient ways to wrap gifts. Then, suggest some of the products you sell at the end of the piece. You can also take a broader approach by creating an infographic filled with amazing statistics about the number of packages shipped or holiday treats baked during the season. Then, position your company as able to help guests get what they need easily and save time during an otherwise hectic period.
3. Use Data to Segment Your Site’s Visitors
People arrive at your site in various stages of their purchasing journey. Some are ready to buy right away and know precisely what they want. Others are just browsing and not yet sure they’ll purchase from you. Digging into data can help you segment those visitors and provide them with appropriate content. You’ll then demonstrate an understanding that people need different information before they feel confident enough to buy.
Consider the example of two shoppers on your email list. One went to your site three times in the last week to browse for bath gift sets, while the other came twice in two days to look at the “men’s gifts under $50” section of your website. You might email the first consumer an e-coupon for $5 off any bath item, and help the other by sending a top 10 list of things to buy the men in their life while sticking to a modest budget.
4. Ensure Your Site Can Handle the Increased Traffic
There’s a good chance your site will receive substantially more traffic during the holidays than at other
times of the year. Now is the time to check that it’s ready for the extra business. Doing that ties into branding because a properly functioning site gives people consistent and reliable experiences.
Stress testing can show how your site would perform during traffic spikes. Think about using a content delivery network (CDN), too. It diversifies your server locations and allows caching, so shoppers everywhere experience fast loading times. Load balancing software can also divide website traffic between servers so some don’t become overloaded.
5. Explore How to Differentiate Your Brand Through Packaging
Packaging is more than the material that keeps products safe until they arrive on a purchaser’s doorstep. It represents a critical customer touchpoint that may be the recipient’s first physical experience with your brand. Start by choosing materials that keep the items inside secure and safe from damage. Doing that shows the customer that you spent time selecting the most appropriate options available.
You can also think about how exterior details, such as the color of a box, its logo or a phrase on the side, could support your brand. You might add social media tags and encourage people to take pictures of their just-arrived items and review them on your channels, for example. If sustainability is one of your brand’s aims, capitalize on that by adding text that encourages people to reuse their boxes or dispose of them properly.
6. Simplify the Checkout Process
A user-friendly checkout helps your branding by showing customers your site offers the convenience they crave. If checking out requires going through too many steps or takes a lot of time, people may give up and decide that finishing the transaction is not worth the trouble. Reducing checkout-related friction keeps customers happy and increases the chances they’ll stay loyal to your brand.
Consider creating a single-page checkout so shoppers can see the number of fields left to fill out. Another option is to enable guest checkout, saving people from setting up accounts before proceeding. If you take that approach, be sure to remind shoppers of the benefits of having an account, such as the ability to check order status. You can also tweak the page to save their previously entered details.
7. Understand Which Customer Needs Drive Sales
As you think about how to keep sales coming in this holiday season and brand your company accordingly, put yourself in the place of the consumer. What features or services are more likely to make them buy from you instead of purchasing elsewhere? A July 2020 survey showed that 60% of respondents are more likely to shop online this year due to COVID-19 fears. As an e-commerce provider, you’re already in a great position to help them.
The same survey revealed that 41% do not intend to start shopping earlier this year. Even so, people typically prioritize online stores that promise fast deliveries. You could build your brand by setting short but accurate delivery timeframes and ensuring your shipping infrastructure can meet needs. You could also draw attention to how online shopping could be this year’s safest option due to the novel coronavirus threat.
8. Improve Your Social Media Profiles
Some people will land on your social media profiles before they come to your website. That’s why it’s vital that those channels favorably reflect your brand. Social media profiles help you build a community of
followers and give you opportunities to respond to their questions. Social platforms are also excellent places to post interesting, relevant material that encourages people eager to return.
Scrutinize your social pages and update or remove anything that no longer relates to your brand’s principles. Add content that mirrors your website’s promotions, too. For example, if there’s a buy-one-get-one-free sale on scented candles mentioned on your website, advertise it on your social profiles to potentially boost sales.
9. Provide Outstanding Customer Service
Delivering fabulous customer service is arguably one of the most fundamental ways to enhance and maintain your brand this holiday season and otherwise. Show that people can trust your e-commerce store’s customer service team to answer their questions, resolve their issues and leave positive impressions during every interaction.
The holiday season puts extra pressure on many people and makes them less tolerant of things going wrong. However, mistakes can happen. Top-notch customer service can prove that your company will take care of shoppers no matter what. Your team should always take the time to listen and respond by doing whatever they can to make things right.
Seize the Season’s Opportunities
These nine tips provide the suggestions you need to position your brand as ready to assist consumers this holiday season. Customers have millions of e-commerce store choices, but a strong brand can make them more likely to choose yours and recommend it to friends.
Lexie is an aspiring Olympic curler, a web designer and IoT enthusiast. She enjoys hiking with her goldendoodle and checking out local flea markets. Visit her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.