Looking back to this time last year, to say that times have changed would be an understatement. 

The silver lining of the pandemic for ecommerce merchants is, of course, that more people are shopping online than ever before. And with a holiday season and new year just around the corner, now is a great opportunity to plan some sales promotion ideas and refresh your marketing ideas for January 2021 and beyond. Sounds like a lot of work? It sure is. 

Well, consider this blog our gift to you this holiday season. We here at Climbing Trees have put our collective minds together and come up with some critical (and fun!) new years marketing strategies and promotional ideas for you to try. These ideas are based on years of working on ecommerce projects with clients of all sizes, so no matter the size of your company, you can be rest assured they’ll work for you. 

We’ve broken down our suggestions into two sections: 

  1. Marketing Ideas for 2021 
  2. Ecommerce Promotion Ideas for January 

In the first section, we look at longer-term strategic things you should be thinking about – if not now, then in the new year. In the second section, we look at some specific areas of your site that will surely require your attention in the hectic holiday sales period just around the corner. As you probably know, small tweaks here make a big difference in both your workload (hopefully not many fires to put out!) and your sales performance. Onward!

1. Marketing Ideas for 2021

With no clear end to the pandemic in sight quite yet, the fact that more UK residents will be doing the bulk of their shopping online in 2021 is a blessing. But what sorts of channels should you be focusing on? And what do you need to be doing on said channels to reach your audiences? 

Go where your customers are. When it comes to converting visitors into concrete conversions, highly targeted merchandising is the key to ensuring those post-holiday sales keep rolling in. This means having the tools in place to not only take note of each visitor’s individual behaviours and preferences but also put this data to work in a way that translates to relevant results. 

Meanwhile, more and more people will be engaging with their phones, and mobile bounce rates are about 25% higher than they are for other devices. This means that it is all the more important to be ready to engage users with the type of attractive design, layout and eCommerce sales promotion ideas that will have them hooked at their first click. 

Bounce Rate Graph

Image Source: RocketFuel

Level Up the Overall UX Factor. The first thing to look at is the overall experience. It is important that the experience of visiting your site not only feels unique in relation to all that stiff competition but is also personalised to deliver a custom shopping experience like no other. 

An example of smart strategy here would be to take advantage of a New Year’s Promotional event to cross-sell and upsell recommended complementary products to the sale items that a buyer is interested in.

Up Sell VS Cross Sell

Taking advantage of individual data points garnered from search, purchase and cart items is not only a smart way to maximise conversions, but will also help increase customer satisfaction as a whole. Who wouldn’t be happy to discover a new product that they love without having to lift a finger or pull up research? In fact, according to research conducted by Think with Google, 63% of users are more likely to engage with a site that lists product recommendations that are relevant to their interests. 

Enabling the cart abandonment notification function is another no-brainer. Once those leftover cart items are out of sight, they also tend to fall way too easily out of mind, and push notifications will keep those remaining cart items fresh on the top of their minds so that they are up to 20% more likely to follow through on the purchase. 

With these types of smart eCommerce promotion ideas, you can help ensure that marketing campaigns are future-friendly in a way that everybody wins. 

Not sure how you can leverage UX strategies to improve your ecommerce site? Give us a shout

Improve Site Speed. In order to hook audiences with those clever new year marketing ideas, you need to make sure they aren’t bouncing before the page has time to load. If page loads speeds are not clocking in at three seconds or less, it is safe to assume that bounce rates are also way higher than they should be.

Page Speed vs Bounce rate

If your page loading times leave something to be desired, optimisation tools like  Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, and GTmetrix will help ensure that those sleek marketing ideas for January 2021 aren’t inadvertently bogging download times. 

Make Sure the Overall Infrastructure is Up to Snuff. Is your site really ready to handle more traffic, more orders, more action? People are getting stocked up to fulfil those resolutions from the comfort of their own homes, and you need to be ready. 

How do you know if your site infrastructure is healthy or not, you might ask. Well, we’re glad you asked! Start by reaching out to a popular performance testing service provider like ScienceSoft, Prolifics or Mindful QA. These technology providers specialise in helping eCommerce providers get a concrete picture of their vital traffic patterns and visit numbers so that you will know just how much of a boom those eCommerce sales promotion ideas can generate without sending the campaign crashing. 

Third-party integrations also need to be able to cut the mustard in terms of the potential for dramatically increased conversions, so don’t forget to subject them to testing as well. Remember that last-minute add-ons have the potential to slow down a site during a crucial holiday boom, so avoid making any new additions until the holiday rush has levelled out. 

2. Ecommerce promotion ideas

With longer-term marketing optimisation checked off the list, it is time to tailor a specific strategy to deliver targeted New Year Marketing ideas for this 2021 holiday season. But here again you might be asking yourself more questions than answers. What actually works? And where can we stand out against the competition? Competition is always fierce, but here are some ideas born of experience that should help you make the most from every pound spent. 

Steal the Show with Standout Products That Everybody Loves. Before you can start putting that data to work, it is important to have some attention-grabbing headlines. The purpose here is to both let people know about your New Year’s marketing campaign while also dropping the type of teaser that will ensure that everybody wants to stick around to find out more. 

Showcasing some top-selling, newly released or otherwise highly desirable products right off the bat will not only make the right type of the first impression on almost any visitor but will also becken them on to explore more in terms of what is in store. This Black Friday banner from Argos UK is a stellar example.

Argos - Black Friday

Seasonal-specific categories are a great way to make sure that those marketing ideas for January 2021 get noticed. Rotating banners are controversial, but they can be effective with a minimal amount of slides. Otherwise, you risk presenting too much information and distracting viewers from what’s important. 

Get Personal. Content is king, but that’s only if it’s being shown to the right consumers at the right time. This is why it is so important to put data to work to analyse visitor behaviour. 

This will not only allow merchants to narrow down and zero in on their ideal target audience, but also tailor their site in a way that allows for a one-of-a-kind visitor experience that is streamlined to deliver just what they love to see. 

For instance, Analysing factors like demographics and geo-locations can help turn conversions and prevent cart abandonment. For example, online retailers can use this information to take advantage of New Year’s trends that are popular in a certain area or with a specific age group, exposing them to the type of products that they really want to find so that they don’t have to put in extra steps to seek it out. 

Ideally, these recommendations can be crafted to unfold page by page as the viewer continues to reveal more about what they are looking for. At the very least, aim to sneak in at least a couple of location-tailored gift recommendations per page. Being personal and adding in some surprise to your copy will help you stand out in a crowd of product copy emphasising oft-mentioned holiday themes. Take some risks with your copy! Be brave – it will help you stand out. 

Fine Tune the Website’s Search Feature. Another way to make sure that your eCommerce sales promotion ideas are always hitting the mark is to ramp up your on-site search capacity. 

Put bluntly, people who run into issues or can’t pull up what they are looking for on a search are much more likely to bounce. According to the Student Journal of Law, three-quarters of internet users rely on Internet searches to find what they are looking for, and internal search bars are certainly no exception. 

By maximising control over the search bar and the pages, results and keywords that it triggers, you will not only reduce the margin for error so that you can ensure a seamless user experience, but you can also guide your viewers to the products that they really want to see end up in their results. Even better, search bar capacity can be refined and integrated using the same data that you should already be using to optimise your SEO rankings. 

Autocomplete is a wonderful tool, but it is important that customers have a visual display that is in the same search box that they are working with too. Good error tolerance is also important here, and well-designed site engines will integrate an automatic “Did you mean…?” function without requiring any extra pre-programming on the part of the vendor. 

Don’t forget the importance of creating an intuitive visual interface either. Search filters are a must, and they should be clearly displayed in an open side or topbar so that they are always easy to locate and navigate. Check out, for example, this intuitive search interface from our excellent client, Slims Detailing.

Getting Your E-Commerce Site Ready For the January Sales 1

Customers who find exactly what they are looking for in the least time possible are not only more likely to follow through on the purchase, but have a better chance of using the time that they save to stock up their basket with extra recommended goodies that they didn’t even know they needed until their search showed them they did. 

Create a Checkout Page Designed to Deliver. The Checkout page might be the eCommerce answer to the homestretch of a racetrack, but just because you get a customer there doesn’t mean the race is won. There are few things more disappointing than losing a sale at the last minute, and this is why it is so important to make the home stretch easy peasy for the user. If they have come this far, it is already pretty clear that they are serious about making a buy. These are the type of customers that are going to convert, if not on your site, then on somebody else’s. 

One of the most intuitive tweaks to make is to declutter the checkout experience by ensuring that the whole process is a one-page deal. The more a potential buyer has to click, the more opportunity that they have to fly the coop, so seal the deal as smoothly and efficiently as possible by minimising frustration and making checkout a satisfying experience for everybody involved. This not only reduces page load waiting times but allows the buyer to enjoy a predictable checkout experience. 

Another key one: don’t forget to ensure the guest checkout function is always enabled. This way users can capitalise on those great eCommerce sales promotion ideas on the fly while still accommodating anybody who doesn’t feel comfortable saving their information (or doesn’t feel like putting in the extra time to create an account). Meanwhile, loyal customers can use the sign-in process to speed through their checkout process. This page from Urban Outfitters UK is a great example of how to design a simplified checkout experience that anybody can appreciate.

Getting Your E-Commerce Site Ready For the January Sales 2

Features like multi-recipient functionality are particularly important during the holiday season when people are moving around a lot and the ability to arrange for no-frills shipping of all those gifts is bound to be appreciated.

The Takeaway: Make These eCommerce Sales Promotion Ideas a Resolution

The future of eCommerce sales might be looking merry and bright, but with stiffer competition than ever, vendors need to be prepared to go the extra mile to ramp up their site. 

When it comes to marketing ideas for 2021, both merchandising and the overall user experience both have a vital role to play. But just like anything, balance is the key here. A site with a stellar crafted merchandising campaign, but frustrating checkout experience is just as likely to see unnecessary bounces as is a merchant that presents a user-friendly platform but doesn’t know how to capitalise on their eCommerce promotion ideas. 

January is all about new beginnings, and in 2021, the way that eCommerce promotion ideas are marketed matter more than ever. 

We hope some of these ideas resonate with you. If you’d like to discuss more, don’t hesitate to leave a comment – we’d love to hear what’s working for you, what issues you’re dealing with, or what you think about our suggestions.

Written by Jason, Account Manager