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Is Black and Orange the New Red and Green?

by beckygoudy on October 15, 2009

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Predict Holiday Shopping Behavior Before the Holiday Season Begins

You have probably started thinking about the nature of the promotions you will offer your customers during the holiday season. — What has worked in past years? What have your competitors done? What are your new ideas for this year? — Make a list. Once you have this list, it’s time to start testing it.

Increasingly, Halloween has become a launch pad to the holiday season. Retailers are finding that customers are doing some anticipatory spending, and that comes in the form of Halloween related spending. If you don’t have items with ghosts and pumpkins on them, don’t fret. This time isn’t about Halloween ‘stuff’, rather it’s about capitalizing on the consumer’s mentality.

Halloween leads to Christmas, which is where the real increase in traffic is. You could say that Halloween is more of a ‘mini Christmas’. Colder weather reminds customers that the holidays are not far, so they begin to change their behavior. Shopping is now on their minds, so holiday traffic starts to grow. Use this traffic wisely: test your promotions now, to find out what’s working for customers this year. Throw out the promotions that don’t work, and doubly promote the ones that do.

This is also a good time to start testing products. Did you get a few new product lines in this quarter? Immediately merchandise those, because Halloween shoppers will predict how well received these new products are in time for Christmas shoppers. Test various ways to merchandise them, too—one grouping may work better than another.

Halloween shopping trends can also predict your inventory needs for the upcoming Christmas season. Have you sold out of a certain style or product in the latter part of September/early part of October? Consumers buy in patterns, so it’s important to take note of this. Chances are, you have a hot holiday style/product on your hands and it will be hot throughout the Christmas season. Order more of that stock if you can, because there’s a chance that your supplier will run out.

Another great tactic for the holidays centers on getting customers ‘in the mood’. It’s no coincidence that most brick & mortar retailers play holiday music and burn holiday candles while their customers shop. The point: they want you in a happy ‘holiday’ place so that you’ll shop longer and buy more. While it may be difficult to wield apple cinnamon smell through your computer; and we certainly don’t recommend playing music (of any kind) on an ecommerce website (unless you’re selling that music), there are other things you can do.

Graphics are king in the online world. After all, it’s the only tangible way a consumer can interact with your product. Use this to your advantage: add holiday graphics wherever you can—a stocking on the header of your shopping cart, or a seasonal banner on the header of your site–to help set the holiday mood. Combine promotions with holiday graphics everywhere possible and make sure that your customers see something holiday-esque in their view at all times. This can go a long way to helping them be merry, even if you don’t sell figurines of Santa Claus or the Great Pumpkin. A happy customer spends more money. Read more about using seasonal graphics to increase holiday sales.

REMEMBER: use the seasonal increase in traffic to test your holiday promotions, merchandising and inventory plans. Create a mood with graphics, so that customers are constantly reminded about the holiday season.

What are your holiday ecommerce questions? We’d love to answer them, below!

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