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Get the Word Out: eCommerce Marketing Strategies and Holiday Sales Tips for 2020

Get the Word Out: eCommerce Marketing Strategies and Holiday Sales Tips for 2020

This blog is part of a series devoted to providing businesses with an action plan for Holiday Season 2020.

In the last five years, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the December holiday season sales have become more virtual, thanks in large part to Amazon’s major digital holiday presence with events like Prime Day.

This year, however, that digital transformation is supercharged. With shoppers wanting to avoid large crowds and in-person shopping, more traditional retailers are moving completely online (Walmart is closing all their stores on Thanksgiving) and more eCommerce websites are doubling down on their digital experience.

The result? The 2020 holiday season will offer huge opportunities for digital merchants as nearly everyone will do their shopping online this year. But, at the same time, there’ll be more businesses clamoring for a piece of the pie than ever before, forcing them to find creative ways to stand out.

While it may feel scary to invest in a robust marketing strategy when the world is constantly changing, rest assured: it’s worth it. Brands that heavily focused on marketing and promotions during COVID-19 saw sales increase 70% year over year.

But, like everything else in 2020, your eCommerce marketing strategy for the holidays will need some tweaks.

In this article, we’ll dive into five expert eCommerce marketing strategies for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond. We’ll highlight the data behind each tactic and share actionable ways you can implement them for your online store.

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5 eCommerce marketing strategies and tactics to help Your business stand out during Holiday Season 2020

Here’s some good news for eCommerce marketers: COVID-19 won’t slow down the holiday shopping spree. A recent survey by technology provider Radial found that consumers across the US do not plan to significantly change their spending. With the right marketing strategy and tactics, you can tap into this audience and help ensure a successful holiday season for your online store.

Here are five eCommerce marketing strategies and tactics for the holidays:

  1. Dive into data to understand the new normal

  2. Uplevel your digital experience

  3. Adapt to changing consumer lifestyles

  4. Concentrate your marketing budget on tried-and-true channels

  5. Expand your target audience

01. Dive into data to understand the new normal


One of the best ways to predict the future is to study the past. In preparing for any other holiday season, you would look at how your business performed the previous year to adequately plan your inventory, revenue, and marketing budget. But, of course, this isn’t any other holiday season and 2019 comparisons won’t offer much help.

Instead, focus on sales trends since March, when stay-at-home orders gained traction, customers started seriously investing in eCommerce, and average online transaction volumes increased 74%. Analyzing how your online store performed during this peak period can help you plan for your holiday rush.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Have certain product categories in your store increased in popularity?

  • Are there certain marketing campaigns that performed especially well that you can reuse for the holidays?

  • Did specific social media posts lead to a large number of sales?

  • Did customers respond especially well to a certain promotion?

  • Are ads on certain social media platforms receiving more engagement than others?

Wix Merchants can leverage their analytic reports to gain key insights into their customers’ shopping behaviors. Look at which pages received the most views, which products had the most sales, and which items are trending up in terms of popularity.

02. Uplevel your digital experience

online clothing store

Our culture has gone digital, with millions of people turning to a computer or smartphone to work, shop, connect with friends and family, do errands, and more. This nearly constant digital state has shifted expectations. As the marketing team at Google wrote in a blog post, “Consumers are no longer expecting only the experience they were offered before, instead they have developed much higher digital expectations.” These consumer expectations will only be magnified during the holidays, as millions of people bombard the internet trying to complete their shopping lists. You can create delightful customer experiences during this frenzy and help your business stand out by upleveling your digital experience.

Here are 5 best practices for optimizing your online store ahead of the holidays:

  • Create a mobile-optimized experience: Mobile devices account for almost half of web traffic worldwide and this trend will certainly extend to the holiday rush. Ensure your shopping experience is optimized for mobile with large CTA buttons, hamburger menus and easy-to-navigate product pages. If you built your site with Wix, you can also use the Owner app to send push notifications of your latest promotions to your site members.

  • Offer diverse payment methods: Help your customers feel comfortable and confident when making a purchase on your site by supporting a variety of payment methods. PayPal offers an established, credible payment option that also makes the checkout experience more convenient by letting customers use payment information already stored within the app. For customers who are tight on money, offer subscription packages to let them buy thoughtful gifts for their loved ones without needing to put down a large chunk of money up front.

  • Help customers find your products: Guide customers towards your most exciting holiday promotions and items by creating new product collections. For customers who enjoy perusing your store, add a search bar and filtering options to make discovery easier.

  • Consider your funnel: Any unnecessary clicks in your purchase funnel can lead to customers dropping off and abandoning a transaction altogether. Look for ways to minimize clicks whenever possible, like including a Buy Now button that skips the shopping cart and immediately drops customers in the checkout flow.

  • Add clear CTAs: Make sure your CTAs are worded and designed clearly to eliminate any ambiguity. Use active words like “Start Shopping” or “Buy Now” so customers know exactly what will happen when they click the button. Design with bold, contrasting colors and large fonts so your CTAs don’t get lost on the page.

03. Adapt to changing consumer lifestyles

corgi surrounded by house plants

Your digital experience isn’t the only thing that will need to change—you should also reframe your eCommerce marketing strategy around your customers’ new lifestyles and interests.

In Criteo’s “Peak to Recovery” survey, US consumers said their habits and behaviors have changed, and more than half (55%) said the crisis was a good opportunity to make lifestyle changes. Many people discovered or rediscovered activities that they plan to continue, which will no doubt affect holiday gift choices and shopping behavior.

These findings echo our eCommerce growth report during COVID-19, which found that the top 10 eCommerce product categories all showed growth rates of more than 100% during April and more than 600% in the leading category of food and groceries.

wix eCommerce Growth Report: Top 10 Product Categories during COVID-19

Use these insights to reevaluate your shopper personas. Who are your customers and what do they want this holiday season?

Don’t continue marketing products that are no longer interesting to consumers in 2020. Instead, highlight your top products on your homepage or in your promotions. Consider creating bundles or special product packages targeted at the home exerciser, home schooler, or home office worker to make your promotions feel more relevant. Offer creative solutions, products, and promotions for those who are spending this holiday season away from loved ones. Think: How can you make this difficult time a little easier for your customers?

04. Concentrate your marketing budget on tried-and-true channels

facebook ads on laptop

Like any holiday season, marketers are feeling the pressure to drive results. This year, however, they need to do more with less. The 2020 CommerceNext report found that 53% of all retailers will decrease their marketing budget for the remainder of 2020. This trend is more evident among businesses that also have a brick-and-mortar location, but fully digital eCommerce businesses are also feeling the pinch, with 37% reducing budget.

Stretch your marketing dollars further by focusing on channels with lower costs and use creative strategies that have performed well in the past. (Don’t have enough historical data to inform your holiday promotional plan? Use the months of September and October to test markets and audiences to prepare for the holiday peak.)

For many eCommerce businesses, the best performing channels will be Facebook ads, email marketing, and influencer marketing. While the jury is still our on the effectiveness of SMS marketing.

Facebook ads

COVID-19 has led to a spike in social media use. With Facebook and Instagram ads, you can identify and target your niche audience among the 2.7 billion monthly active users and promote your products at a very low cost-per-click (for the retail industry, cost-per-clicks can be as low as $0.70).

Email marketing

Email marketing offers a direct line to your customers, for free. In fact, it’s still one of the most effective ways to drive sales, with an average ROI of 4100%.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing helps you boost awareness of your business and establish credibility. In fact, eight out of every ten consumers have purchased something after seeing an influencer recommendation.

Then, set aside some of your marketing budget for experimentation. Don’t be afraid to get creative, take risks and have a bit of fun with it. There’ll be plenty of competition this holiday season, so do what you can to stand out. For example, depending on your target audience, consider running an ad campaign on a newer platform, like TikTok, Instagram Reels, or Snapchat.

05. Expand your target audience

cargo ship

If your business lost specific audiences due to economic shifts during COVID-19, this holiday season may be the best year to reach net-new customers. PFSweb and Arlington Research found that nearly half (44%) of consumers tried new brands during the pandemic and 45% of those customers said they’d continue shopping with that new brand if they had a positive experience.

How do you find new customers?

Evaluate your international presence and do your research to determine if you can easily ship to new markets. Find a reliable partner that can offer reasonable eCommerce shipping prices, dependable service, and expedited timetables. If your business can support international expansion, identify the regions where eCommerce is growing the fastest. For example, nine countries are projected to see more than 20% growth in retail eCommerce sales this year (the Philippines, Malaysia, and Spain are expected to see the fastest growth).

Expanding to different countries and regions can also help reduce any risk to your business due to economic shifts. If your customers are centralized in one part of the world and that area gets especially impacted by COVID-19 again, your business may feel that same impact. On the other hand, by tapping into an international market, you can leverage more diverse shopping behavior and economic trends, potentially protecting your business from risk.

Expand your audience by selling on more platforms. Consider using different social channels, like Facebook or Instagram Shop, or integrating eBay and Amazon Marketplaces into your online store. If you create your eCommerce website with Wix, you can easily manage your inventory from all your marketplaces on your dashboard.

A marketing strategy that adapts to the times

In a year of unknowns, the best marketing tactics are customized to meet customers’ present needs, behaviors, and interests. It’s not enough to simply offer discounts on your most popular items. Instead, strive to understand your audience, how their lives have changed, and how your products can fit their new lifestyles. In the end, this extra effort will lead to a more personalized, relevant, and successful holiday season.

Create a dynamic strategy for your business to succeed this holiday season:

Don’t have your online store up and running yet? Create your eCommerce website and start selling today.

Emily Esposito Fulkerson

Daniel Clinton

Managing Editor, Wix eCommerce

Daniel is the Managing Editor at Wix eCommerce, where he uses his experience as a merchant, journalist and marketer to create content that helps online businesses grow.

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