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How and why to deliver last-minute holiday deals to your customers

Written by Spencer Durrant on December 8, 2015 in Strategies & Tips

christmas-xmas-gifts-presents.jpgWith only a few short weeks to go before Christmas, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Some shoppers are already finished, but many still haven't bought anything yet. For the next few weeks, they'll be scrambling to take care of their Christmas shopping at the last minute, and that presents you, the retailer, with a unique opportunity to increase your sales. 

How? By offering killer last-minute holiday deals directly to your customers. 

Why should you offer last-minute deals? 

No matter what, there are going to be people doing their holiday shopping on December 23rd, or even the 24th. Whether they're holding out for the "perfect gift" or just procrastinating doesn't matter. The fact is, there's going to be a sizable amount of people shopping late into the holiday season. If you plan for these shoppers, you can position your store to be the place where they spend all of their last-minute shopping time. 

How should you offer these last-minute deals?

As any successful online retailer knows, the best way to get offers and deals to customers is by delivering them to where your customers live online, their email inbox and social media. According to AdWeek, 28% of all time spent online is used to peruse social networks. And we all know that email marketing is still a highly effective way of getting your message in front of consumers. 

Ideally, you should set up two separate campaigns to capture these last-minute shoppers - an email campaign, and a social media campaign. These campaigns don't have to be complicated, but they need to deliver relevant, useful deals. 

What should my emails look like? 

Your email campaign can be incredibly simple . For example, you can just use the shopper's past behavior on your site to send them coupons for 30% off relevant items, plus free shipping. You don't have to use 30% off and free shipping if your profit margins don't allow that kind of steep price cut, but you should offer something good enough that it triggers major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in last-minute shoppers . 

For example, say you run an online apparel store. You could send out an email to all of your customers who looked at a particular scarf, but never added it to their cart, and offer them free shipping or a steep price discount. This kind of targeted, direct offer is a great way to pick the "low-hanging fruit" that is last-minute holiday shoppers. 

But perhaps the most important part of giving out this last-minute holiday deals is that these deals can help you gain repeat customers. If customers get such a great deal at your store for holiday gifts, chances are they'll visit again in 2016. Whether or not they buy something isn't a guarantee, but by giving out such great deals at the last minute, you can position your store to be top-of-mind for consumers the next time they need to do some online shopping. 

How do I make offers via social media?

Giving out last-minute offers via social media is easy. Essentially, you'll use the same copy and images you'd use in your email, but shortened for your various social media platforms. Hootsuite has a great blog post that details 6 social media templates you can use that'll save you a ton of time. 

Make sure every social media advertisement for your great last-minute deals includes some kind of photo, whether it's straightforward product photos or hero shots of models using your products. You can use a free tool like Canva to create beautiful social media images to include in your posts. 

You may also want to consider using some of your holiday advertising budget to promote Tweets and Instagram posts. This isn't a necessity, especially if you have a large online following that shares your posts frequently, but if you have the money to invest in it, promoted posts is definitely a strategy that works well

During the hectic late days of holiday shopping, you can position your store to pick the "low-hanging fruit" of customers looking for great deals just days, or hours, before final shipping deadlines. Using the above tactics will help you bring in some late Q4 revenue, and hopefully give your store a boost headed into 2016.

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