Holiday Sales: The Ecommerce Channels You Need to Convert

Holiday sales are the Super Bowl for any brand. The year is spent preparing, updating stores, websites, products and offers, nurturing audiences and waiting for the time to strike in order to bring in the most possible revenue at once.

Amidst all the competition, the bonanza of sales also doesn’t seem to stop growing. Holiday sales in the US are slated to pass $1 trillion this year. ‘Tis also the season for ecommerce conversion – Cyber Monday sales are likely to pass $10 billion as well. 

Consumers, however, are getting overwhelmed. With literally a million ecommerce brands to choose from, they’re overwhelmed for choice – even though it’s long been known that brands who simplify product choices are 86% more likely to close sales

This time of year is more competitive than any other. Your consumers have more options than ever. By deploying conversational AI to help consumers get advice, recommendations, shop and feel confident in their purchases online, you can improve conversion across ecommerce sites, landing pages, social media and voice in ways that make sure your brand will be ringing in the season with cheer. 

Where It All Begins: The Ecommerce Website

When consumers love a brand, they often make a point to visit their site over the holidays. They’re on the hunt for a deal, of course, but rarely are these consumers looking only at one brand. 

One Canada-centered study by Think With Google found that 73% of shoppers use three or more channels over the holidays. That channel-hopping is accompanied by 100% increases in personalized searches, and 76% of those same consumers are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites help them easily find answers to their questions

In this environment, your brand needs to provide the kind of assistance that consumers expect. This kind of assistance can be provided through a virtual advisor deployed on your website, and further enabled as a pop-up chat wherever your users browse and review products. 

Helping consumers evaluate their choices makes them more likely to engage, as well as less likely to choose another brand or retailer. In fact, deploying a virtual advisor (like this one from Vichy) can increase average revenue per user by more than 30% compared to traditional web experiences. 

Just in time for the holidays, Automat helped Sephora France launch a Virtual Advisor on their ecommerce site that helps users get recommendations, find their best skincare products and make purchases they’ll love.

The Enhancer: Selling More From Media Campaigns

Both branded and unbranded traffic is a must to capitalize on over the holidays. 70% of consumers will look for known retailers when doing product searches. In fact, that’s the most important aspect of decision-making across a variety of criteria.

However, if you’ve already got a recognized brand, why limit the products a consumer shops for to only the ones they searched for? At the same time, with so many competitors targeting your own branded product traffic (or consumers in your social audiences), why would you limit the RoAS you get to those same, isolated products that consumers search for?

To double-down on your advantages this holiday season when consumers are looking for deals, don’t limit yourself to a one-ad-one-product approach. Use the intent you get for a product or sale, whether advertising through search or social media, as an opportunity to improve conversion, increase the number of products your customers engage with and ultimately increase order value.

A conversational landing page can do this by introducing interactivity to what is usually a static experience. Conversational landing pages effectively deploy your AI in a unique position that allows you to do the work of shopping for your consumer.

So, instead of having them scroll through endless rows and content on landing pages this holiday season, you can include an experience that introduces hero products and then enables consumers to discover more. This process doubles both the add-to-cart and cart value of a given campaign, making it something transformative during the holiday season – a season where your consumers are just so ready to buy!

Conversational Landing Pages help you, as a marketer, get past the limits of traditional landing pages and make it easier to sell more from every entry point you use to promote your products during the holiday season. This kind of experience, powered by Automat, helped Vichy Canada drive higher add-to-cart and cart value through Instagram.

The Topper: Social Commerce and Engagement

Mobile transaction rates jump nearly 40% during Thanksgiving week compared to the rest of the year. Winning on mobile is critical to social commerce, and the combination of social media, messaging and mobile commerce are among the most critical channels and ways to engage that consumers use during the holidays. 

That’s why you can actually use the seasonal engagement that holiday sales create on no more engaged places than your core social channels. As one shining example, in 2018, nailcare brand Sally Hansen deployed a “Festive Reds” conversational AI campaign through Facebook Click-to-Messenger ads. 

This contest promoted a new collection, offered a quiz to find the user’s perfect shade of red and, in exchange for their email, entered them in a chance to win the whole collection as a prize. 

In this single 5-day campaign, Sally Hansen entered users into a contest for a prize, helped them find their perfect shade of red, collected critical first-party insights and captured 11,000 emails with an 85% opt-in rate.

Those numbers are hard to beat, but that’s just one of the benefits of maximizing your most valuable channels (with conversational AI) over the holiday season. (Check out the case study here)

By leveraging interest in the holidays and promoting a responsive AI experience through Click-to-Messenger Ads, Automat helped Sally Hansen rev up their ecommerce customer acquisition with more than 11,000 emails captured in 5 days.

But these aren’t the only ways to engage. The holidays are a unique experience – sometimes it’s hard to find what to get the friend or family member who has everything. Other times, the mystery, the excitement and the ultimate satisfaction of whatever gifts we do receive can be enthralling. 

To create both stronger community, get people buying the right gifts and gather more insights about what their consumers want, L’Oreal deployed a “Beauty Gifter” that included conversational recommendations with 11 of its biggest brands. 

By allowing consumers to prompt a friend with a short quiz, they could find gifts that were perfect for them (check out the case study). This also surfaced unique customer insights for L’Oreal and generated 8x the typical response rate compared to email, with nearly 3x the usual engagement and 20x the email opt-in generated on a website. 

If you’re looking to nurture and feed your ecommerce customer base, conversational AI gives you the ability to offer exceptional and unique experience that your consumers will adore. 

The Dark Horse: Giving Your Brand a Voice

Voice shopping tripled during the last holiday season. While voice payments penetration is assumed to be about 14% this year, within four years it will reach nearly 40%. Voice commerce comprised $2 billion in retail sales in 2018 and will rise to $40 billion by 2022, growing disproportionately during the holidays.

Taking advantage of this requires a variety of approaches, but one is to deploy skills via Amazon Alexa or Google Home that simply enables your brand to be discovered. By positioning yourself to answer informational questions, you can then guide users through branded product recommendations that reveal the exact products that are right for them.

Read up on how marketers can use smart speakers

This two-pronged approach will allow you to capitalize on all the high-intent online shopping that is now migrating to voice assistants. There’s no better time to sell online than during the holidays: everybody’s home, gathering around the fire, maybe looking for the next way to put a gift card or cash to good use. 

Introducing voice to your holiday strategy can, again, amplify the underlying interest consumers have in your brand during this critical time of year. These kinds of engagements, when integrated with a comprehensive conversational AI strategy, can then enable you to turn strong holiday interest into stronger, more lasting customer relationships. 

Putting It All Together, In Time To Be Under Your Tree

You conversational AI strategy is important, at no more greater time of year than during the holidays. In terms of ecommerce sales, Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and other prime holiday shopping days have grown 20-30% year-over-year for multiple years running. 

For most brands, this is an opportunity to convert on all the brand equity you’ve built up throughout the year. Not deploying the latest solutions to engage and convert consumers leaves you at a disadvantage and fundamentally compromises the ROI of all your other marketing efforts.

By taking an omnichannel approach that includes the latest brand-ready channels, you can win the holidays and take advantage of the latest ways that consumers are looking to shop. 

Contact Automat to learn how conversational AI can help your brand grow during the holiday season