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Ecommerce Seasonality: How to Make the Most of Every Holiday in 2022

Most eCommerce businesses deeply understand their sales trends. A quick look at the insights for a few years in a row shows cyclical seasonality around specific days of the year. As many businesses have moved online, most of the holiday spending has also moved accordingly. Here we discuss how businesses can make the most of e-commerce seasonality.

March 24, 2022
5
mins read
Ecommerce Seasonality: How to Make the Most of Every Holiday in 2022
People Spend Lavishly During the Holidays

People spend over a trillion dollars a year during holidays both online and at stores. Increasing disposable income and easy access to products are increasing online sales. In 2020, retail shopping saw an increase of 6.5% year on year.

While a big chunk of sales still happens in stores, that trend is seeing a clear shift. Data shows that in-store purchases are growing slowly at just over 2%, while online sales are growing by over 32% every year.

When you cater to a global audience, it might get overwhelming to keep track of all the holidays to maximize sales based on seasonal trends. This article outlines the holiday sales building blocks that you need to incorporate into your marketing plan.

Identify Holidays that Matter

CPG companies are beginning to move towards D2C as part of their growth strategy. For example, Colgate Palmolive is focusing on D2C for its next wave of growth and is experiencing a 50% QoQ growth in eCommerce. Some products are growing at 200% QoQ.

The first step for making the most of every holiday in 2022 is to know which holidays make the most sense to sell the product.

Global holidays like Cyber 5 and Christmas see an increase in sales globally. Then there are regional holidays like Diwali in India and St Patrick's day in Ireland. Identifying which holidays drive the most sales for you will determine the marketing strategy you need to use.

D2C is full of examples like Warby Parker, Allbirds, and Harry's, all valued well over $1 billion. With such a high-volume business, holiday sales become critical for D2C.

Adapt to the Changing World of Online Buying

80% of buyers will choose D2C in the next 5 years at least once. This data point from the Direct-to-Consumer Purchase Index shows how rapidly eCommerce is growing. Ecommerce seasonality has a big role to play in this.

History tells us that buying patterns don't change very drastically. These patterns repeat year after year predictably. For example, people have been buying gifts for friends and family during Christmas, and they will continue to do so.

What has changed of late is how these purchases are being made. Most shopping is now online. Websites were the primary channels for people to buy. They got quickly replaced by aggregators, and now there's increased direct selling on messenger apps and social media.

Adapting to these changing online trends gets your business ready for the big sale on a holiday that matters. Without keeping an eye on this, a business may identify the right holiday, right customers, and right message but still not sell because customers have now moved to other platforms.

Build Customer Profiles

A whopping 59% of buyers chose to buy online in 2020. When over half of your eCommerce customers are online, it's key to profile who they are so you can target them better.

A good starting point is to dive into the sales data and pay attention to the profile of customers. Profiling customers give clues into what holidays matter the most for the demographic.

Use a good CRM system to record the average age, location, gender, etc., of your customers based on legally appropriate access to customer data. Create customer profiles for each type of demographic to specifically target appropriate ads.

For a customer base that's mostly aged 18-32, Valentine's Day is a good holiday to target. Positioning the product as being essential for that holiday is key to selling more units. If positioned smartly with the right creatives, even cleaning products can be sold on Valentine's Day as a part of seasonal trends.

Make sure to share your values in your ads. Data shows that over 70% of millennials purchase from companies whose values they agree with.

Identify the Right Channels to Advertise and Sell

A study conducted in 2020 showed that close to 80% of D2C brands said they will increase their digital marketing budget. This includes the advertising budget on various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Continue to dig deeper into historic advertising trends and identify the platforms that gave the best ROI for ad spend. For businesses that sell from multiple channels, identify which sites clock most sales during the holidays to mark eCommerce seasonality.

If social media ads are performing the best, tailor your holiday marketing strategy to these platforms. A general rule of thumb is to allocate 80% of your ad spend towards historically successful strategies. For example, 40% of revenue generated digitally is from search.

The rest of the 20% can be spent on experiments. Experiments help discover other high-potential platforms or marketing opportunities you may be missing out on.

For your D2C business to be profitable, the path from manufacturing to sales needs to be as short as possible. Tracking data will identify these paths. These patterns also inform accurate demand so the right amount of supply can be created.

Create limited demand as part of seasonal trends strategy to increase sales. Casper demonstrated this works by selling $100M worth of mattresses by providing fewer choices. The company is now valued at $1.1 Billion.

Plan Ahead

The biggest holiday season for all eCommerce businesses is in November and December. The amount of buying that happens during this period keeps increasing year over year.

Cyber 5 is one of the biggest weeks for most eCommerce businesses globally, more so in the US. This season starts from Thanksgiving, covers Black Friday, and ends on Cyber Monday.

Despite supply chain issues in 2021, the holiday season for Cyber 5 did well. There was a decline in sales to some extent, but it was unrelated to customer purchasing intent.

Build a Holiday Calendar

Stay ahead of the game and plan for the holidays in 2022. A common practice to build holiday marketing strategies is to build a holiday calendar. Mark out every holiday that has potential eCommerce seasonality.

After that, work backward and mark when you need to start your preparation. With projections that show an increase of 11% to 15% year on year, you don't want to miss out on selling more during this time.

A holiday calendar also helps you plan offers you want to provide during the high sale season. Customers react positively to sales and buy more. To take advantage of this, calculate offers and discounts you're willing to give in advance for increased sales volume.

Build Marketing Assets Well Ahead of Time

Most marketers begin planning their ad campaigns and ROI calculations for holiday season sales from June. That gives a good five months to plan for the big sales season in line with seasonal trends.

During this time, marketing assets are built. The right team is brought together. Pre-production of ads begins with photoshoots and copywriting. Startups that run on boosting budgets need time to build their ads. Starting early allows you to plan all this well.

The ad platforms also know that this is the biggest advertising season. They, in turn, prepare to provide additional support for advertisers for holiday sales. All businesses advertising online for holidays must take advantage of this additional help.

Nike is one of the biggest D2C companies, and its ads are always on point, emotionally connecting, and intellectually stimulating. They plan for every season diligently and the results show.

Know the Success Metrics

The only way to make the most of every holiday in 2022 is to know the success metrics. All marketing spend will be cost to the company. Given the fierce competition everywhere, marketing plans get expensive.

To know the right amount of risk to take, businesses must crunch numbers and clearly understand their profit margins. Operations costs must not go over a specified calculated amount, including marketing plans.

Some success metrics to know well are the number of transactions, cost per unit, Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) targets, etc. Some success metrics like the number of transactions and cost per unit are straightforward. However, metrics like ROAS targets need a bit of research to arrive at.

ROAS is similar to how ROI is calculated but here, the investment is the ad spend. While calculating the ad spend is easy, calculating the return is not as simple as it sounds.

You need to attribute a sale to a particular ad to accurately calculate the return. This is one of the biggest challenges the online advertising world is trying to solve.

A customer may have been unconsciously influenced by an ad to buy a product. Even if you ask the customer, they may not know which ad influenced them to buy it.

Know Your Competition

In the next 5 years, eCommerce sales will surpass in-store sales by over nine times. When businesses invest so much time and effort to make the most of eCommerce seasonality, their competitors' chance to do the same is very high. Before finalizing marketing plans, it's key to make some assumptions on what the competition must be doing.

A part of your online marketing strategy should be to quickly pivot if the trends take a different direction than you anticipated. Therefore, your marketing assets should be fungible.

Conclusion

In 2020, D2C in the US surpassed the $100 Billion mark, a lion's share of the revenue made during holidays. No online business can ignore the massive sales potential holidays bring.

Your marketing department must continue to build the overall strategy based on data and historical trends. Added to this, there needs to be a dedicated strategy for holidays.

All eCommerce businesses must be aware of these huge opportunities. They should plan ahead, align their supply-demand, have competitive prices, and invest in effective advertising. We hope our best practices have prepared you to make the most of every holiday in 2022.

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