Join James and Chelsea where they discuss planning for Christmas and why you should start early. More info at www.somarketing.com
Plan YOUR Christmas now
Podcast Plan your Christmas now
Hi, and welcome to so what’s up? In this episode, we’re gonna be talking about planning your E commerce Christmas campaigns.
Hi, I’m Chelsea and I’m with James today and we’re gonna be chatting all things Christmas. And you may be thinking that this is very, very early, but those that fail to plan plan to fail in my eyes around this this time of year. So we are here to help you get get yourself together for your Christmas campaign.
Yep, that’s right. It’s only August, I think is it August. Monday is actually you know, in years gone by we’ve been doing Christmas campaigns since April, odd March April time of the year, depending on the business. And obviously, everyone knows that in certain industries, retail, particularly, they’re planning Christmas stocking inventory early in the year, because it just takes that long to get it. And I think especially nowadays, where everyone’s got delays on, on getting good still, it’s certainly on the mind of most of our E commerce clients that are especially sort of focus on sale periods of time around the Christmas period. So now is a really good time to start the conversation about what are you going to do in December, or before December if you want to launch your Christmas sales early.
So what I would just throw in there as obviously, Christmas 25th December, but really, we actually look at the state, the stats and the date around Christmas, the best selling time really for Christmas is November. And if you can do anything around Black Friday, and have your sale correspond with that in any way. It’s kind of that stage where it’s around like the the pay day of November. And obviously people either they might get paid early in December, or they might not get paid after Christmas on December. So really you kind of want to you want people to have that awareness and that consideration of you so that they can buy around November WPD. Really? Yeah,
I think in recent years, the whole Black Friday phenomenon has essentially just taken sales out of December, it doesn’t actually increase the overall number of sales, it just moves it to a different month. So like you’ll see on the Amazon Black Friday sale, particularly, everyone goes crazy for the deals. But to be fair, they could also buy the same product at the same price in December, just just make a big deal of it and shift the sale into November. And this happens with a lot of clients now who wants to do that just to get onto the bandwagon of the, the hype around the Black Friday thing. So for clients that work in E commerce, especially the ones that sell direct to consumer, if you’re looking at products sales, over the let’s say the festive period of say a two month window, really, end of October, early November is when sales literature sales campaign material needs to be started to put out on social media on the website, start teasing what’s coming up. And also getting all your ducks in a row with regards what sale prices you’re going to have. I mean, we’ve got a client who’s going to be launching their, let’s say winter sale on the first of October. So they’re going to be planning it in September. And so they’re going to be getting all the prices set for you know, when they can switch over on the particular day plan the email marketing material and all the things that go with that. But they’re planning months ahead. So that when when they want to announce that all that work has been done.
Yeah, definitely. And I think as well we can, we can see marketing from like the the social side of things and like email marketing, and I guess a content driven campaigns, but really, as well, what I would say is making sure that your backend system, so you WordPress WooCommerce site, for example, if you have that everything is already streamlined as well. So that whatever you market and put out in terms of like your content promises, can actually be backed up by your business back end as well. Because otherwise, you could be in for a very tough time. And then you’ll have a lot of unhappy people to try and appease.
Yeah, no, you’re right. And I think you know, this is where these big one off sale days. They’re not really that great because like all they really do is shift the sales from one day to another. But what they then do is create a massive backlog of fulfilment. So you see this even a massive companies, you know that they start to say, really early on all our Black Friday orders don’t expect us to hit our normal 24 to 48 hour delivery window, because it’s just not going to happen. If you’ve got a small business that maybe gets normally let’s say 100 orders a day and suddenly swells in one particular day of the year to 10,000 orders. best will in the world, there is no way that businesses are going to cope with that. And also it’s not viable for them to increase their staff count in their warehousing for that one day. So whilst they put a lot of cash in for one day for that sale, just because it’s a Yeah, it seems like a good thing to do. All they’ve done is just taken the sales out of the other two months and essentially annoyed a load of customers because they won’t be getting things on time. But everyone still buys into the whole Black Friday sale thing. So who’s to say that you wrong. It’s just, it’s just the way that that a lot of this b2c e Commerce has gone in the last couple of three years.
Yeah, definitely, I think when I look at that, from a branding point of view, I guess, actually, you know, you’ve got the branding point of view, but then you’ve got the supply chain management point of view, as well, you’ve got the brand point of view where you actually, most, most people actually do want to increase the lifetime value of customers have repeat customers coming back to them, have people that actually want to come back to the brand and respond as well. And a lot of the Musee sales as a as a way to kind of like lower the barrier to entry and get people to spend money with them, see if they like them. And if that’s not backed up by really strong Supply Chain Management, and you can’t effectively get out what you are promising, then ultimately, you really damage the reputation of your brand, and those people are not going to come back, they’re going to complain on social media, it’s going to be incredibly visible, people are going to see that you’ve not delivered on that brand promise that you’ve, you’ve promised people to have an if you’ve done so much work on your marketing to drum up that anticipation for the promise, and then you just don’t deliver, it almost is so much worse as well, because you’ve like really built up the idea of somebody having that product, and then you’ve just essentially not delivered. So from a brand point of view, it’s awful if you don’t and also from a supply chain management point of view. It’s like exactly what James James was saying, do you actually have the product in stock? Do you have the human resource to be able to get them out? Have you liaised with your delivery or your suppliers to be able to actually get your product onto the door of the person that’s ordered it and this is all of the stuff that you have to think about with E commerce?
Now? That’s right, I mean, that those challenges are common across all e commerce. And, you know, we also have an E commerce business, and he suffers from the same same things as that. But I think, you know, in terms of looking at from a marketing perspective, you know, it’s it’s a difficult thing to balance that logistical supply chain, a human resources element, with the benefits the business might get from that, from that sort of, let’s say, an intense period of marketing activity leading up to a sale period. Yeah, because there’s got there is value in creating hype and creating awareness and drive for a particular product or range of products that are in sale. Whether that’s got long lasting value, in terms of that customer who knows me might be a good way to attract new customers that you wouldn’t have got otherwise, because they aren’t going to be seeing the intense marketing. So you could argue that it might be a way to build database, build customer acquisition in the first place. But then if you let them down on the first thing they buy, because they’re not getting the product, is that really filtering through into giving you a good outcome with that customer going forward? It’s very hard to know.
Yeah, definitely. I think it just all comes down, though, to the devils in the details, isn’t it really with these campaigns, and you really do have to plan effectively, make sure that what you actually promise is ultimately delivered, and also know who you actually are targeting as well.
But yeah, but the same content, all e commerce. So one of the things I always say to ecommerce clients when we’re setting up things like shipping rules, and you’re just looking at logistics and of how they process orders, it’s being really transparent with the client about what they’re going to expect. So if you can’t deliver something within, you know, quicker than three days, don’t even suggest you can make it really obvious that if you’re ordering this, and you’re paying five pounds for standard delivery, for argument’s sake, it’s going to be on a three to five day work working day delivery, that sets an expectation, it could be five days, they might get it in three days. So they’re very happy, but it’s not gonna be less than three days. So but they already know that. So yeah, again, you’re just setting that expectation up front to avoid disappointment. I think, you know, the problem is people at Amazon have ruined a lot of E commerce for small retailers who can’t meet the delivery timescales. I mean, I just literally last night, I’d ordered some kit for the office monitors and cables and stuff like that. And I’ve had it at 12 o’clock today, to be frying a small business can’t match that because Amazon’s logistics, a 24 hour, and they handle it themselves. So that it has created an expectation across the whole industry that you get things yesterday. But I think as long as the people are transparent in their marketing, so when they’re doing a campaign, you know, and you’re a small e commerce retailer that maybe does or no 100,000 pounds a year through your store, you know, you just be up front and say in the literature, we’re expecting a really busy period, it will take us an additional three to five days to ship your order, or whatever you’re going to say that is and then try and stick with that. Because I think yeah, there’s nothing worse than setting that expectation, then missing it as well. Yeah,
definitely. And we’ve done some work with clients in the past around sales periods where we’ve created blogs for them, and we’ve put out some PR pieces and done some social posts just to help set that expectation. So while you are building that hype and anticipation, there’s also the side of Look, these are kind of this this is the face of it. If you actually do order from us then this is what what you’re going to come up against and this is how we’re going to do it. Just being transparent about process I think is super important. And also as well, you’ve got a lot of a lot of people, I think now since COVID, especially they do really want to champion those small businesses and they are actually prepared to wait now as well. And I feel like sustainable is, while sustainable supply chains and also just sustainable marketing in general, is having a movement at the moment, and it is starting to take over the fast I want this now.
Now you’re I think, right? So the COVID thing bought around a bit of a change in how people see small businesses, and especially because they were closed for so long. And then everyone sort of seeing what they’re all struggling with in terms of getting back on the fee and coping with, you know, patchy supply chains, not getting everything on time. And everyone is a little bit more understanding whether that understanding continues, or is it just like a temporary effect of what’s happened from COVID? We don’t know, at times going to tell with that.
Yeah, definitely. And I think one thing that I wanted to touch on as well as so the another reason that we’re doing this is Facebook recently launched their 2021 festive season guide for people who want to use their platform to help boost their ecommerce sales. I think it’s a really, really good guide, actually. And it does have a lot of information in regards to basically just how to use a platform and how you can integrate it really with your E commerce strategy in your website. And we have seen a lot of success really, with clients that do this both from a point of purchase point of view, because you can now use a Facebook shop and streamline that with your website, but also that that community building really. So basically, I think digital marketing is changing now and you’re trying to replicate those real life experiences. And digital has got better at this because of the pandemic as well. So, Facebook has launched their four ways digital discovery is reshaping the mega sales and festival shopping landscape. And the four things that they’ve come up with our community and connection, engagement and entertainment, anticipation and occasion, which is kind of what we’ve already covered. And number four is inspiration and spontaneity. So I just wanted to get your opinion on those, James.
I think I have an opinion. Nice to be nice. I think a lot of them too. I mean, yeah, all these third party marketplaces and channels have always been around, and they’re all developing all the time. And I think Facebook is an odd one, actually. Because in a way, a lot of ways Facebook’s declining is usage, especially among younger people, who would be your traditional, more ecommerce buying kind of folk. But that has now changed. And with a pandemic, bringing older people into and be more comfortable buying online. Actually, it kind of hits well with Facebook’s market who tends to be that kind of 30 to 80 year old bracket, let’s say yeah, definitely,
I think what I’ve noticed is from my quick judgments on Facebook, because I don’t really use it very much apart from when I’m doing client work is just the amount of community groups that have popped up. So for example, like me Dyson Airwrap, hair styling tips, like your pelleting groups that you’re a part of, and it’s the community really, that drives that brand loyalty and that resonance with people and just I guess, bringing those, I get the kind of E commerce aspect of it to life. So yes, you’ve got this product. But now you’ve also got a community that can help you style your hair or like support you when you hit a PR and you peleton And
yeah, but I’m getting these things is also act as a sales tool for the companies as well. So I found him and he’s like, Yeah, you could join a group about your, your Dyson hairdryer before you buy it. So you get to you’re getting that real life trusted review thing that’s, you know, been going around for years and years, like Trustpilot, and things like that. But from real people that you can engage with and ask real questions of how you can become advocates for the products.
Yeah, definitely. And I think as well, it’s just interesting to see it all on one platform that effectively does it all they do the conversion right there in the platform. They do the community right there in the platform. I think they do the content generation right there in the platform as well. And I think as we see with social media channels, especially Facebook, they just want people to stay on the platform. Are you
right I think are particularly worse off a niche product businesses, particularly businesses that maybe sell one thing. So like peloton is good example, they fundamentally sell a treadmill on a bike. Yeah, the gossamer accessories around that, but it’s a good example. And they actually do stuff from them directly post in the community groups as well to answer questions from the community and provide support and things like that. So they really adopt that as a must be part of their core strategy to do that. So if you’re a small ecommerce retail that may be focusing on particular let’s say one particular product, and you can use these tools to build a community around that. Then you can take advantage of the all the things available to you to push and align that sort of Community Marketing with whatever sales objectives you’ve got at the same time. So if you’re leading into Christmas, for argument’s sake, you can start talking about that early on in these community groups and building that hype and building that awareness. And it’s all essentially just time you need. Yeah,
definitely, I think. And as well, with that, you kind of need to what I do, if I wanted to do some sort of sale, I try and do online events in the run up to that with customers or prospective customers, and try to immerse them in the brand beforehand. So they’ve kind of got that discovery with it. We have clients that are really, really great on Facebook, and they have a lot of loyal fans on there. And they create really engaging content for them. They do events with them, and now they’re starting to do in person events as well that are marketed through the Facebook. And I think with social media, it’s just one of those where the game is to be social. But we’re now starting to see social selling in such a way that we’ve never seen it before. And I think for Christmas, it’s not going to slow down.
No, completely not. And it’s only going to ramp up and ramp up. And I think a lot of small businesses just need to realise that it’s, this is where your online sales are going to come from. Yeah, to a point Yeah, people aren’t necessarily gonna just be Googling for something and hope you show up anymore. It’s important as part of the mix, but it’s not the be all and end all and all these different places. And it’s become a complicated landscape where you need to be everywhere.
Yeah, definitely. I’ve had conversations actually, with clients recently how they just say that like, and then b2c. And then like, we’ve got a LinkedIn, we’ve got a YouTube, we’ve got a podcast, we’ve got a Facebook, we’re on Tik Tok, we’re just in all of these different places, and their internal resource for their marketing is not very big at all. And they just feel super stretched in terms of like all of the different platforms that are available to them. And
you’ve only got so many hours in the day. Yeah. So you know, you can’t spend your day running the business at the same time as doing all this social media work. And, you know, working on your SEO for your website, and it’s even for a small business, it’s complicated, and you need to do a lot of it. And that’s essentially where that balance comes from those clients is worth to pay someone to do that work, or to try and learn to do it themselves, or combination of both.
Yeah, definitely. And I think when you have all these platforms, as well, you’ve got the different technical elements of it. And you’ve also got the time pressures with Christmas sales to actually do them for the occasion. And to build the anticipation in a way that is carefully orchestrated, while at the same time still appealing to people that maybe just want to buy it because they’ve been robbed spontaneous, and they want that product. Now, you’ve got so many different elements, I think, to take into consideration
completely. And yeah, again, I really understand how it’s difficult for low below a budget small businesses, try and do all this. It’s so hard. Yeah. And you feel sorry for them, really, because you know that cash isn’t always great. And these kind of businesses as well. So you don’t they don’t want to spend too much money, but at the same time they may feel is a bit above their technical competency. Yeah,
definitely. I think as well with the platforms in general, if you’re not in them, at least I’d say a couple of times a week, they change so rapidly, that you’re quite quickly out of your depth of them. The only, that’s why I kind of think you can never really be an expert in social media, because the platform’s genuinely change all the time. You just need to adopt the frameworks that you know about and then deal with like the maturity of each platform on the day as it arises.
Yeah, completely analyse how do we get clients who have been in social media and then don’t go into it six months later, what the hell this is a year with the same, you know, they can change overnight, and they move things out. And things aren’t where they expect to be. It’s a constant learning curve always to keep teaching yourself the new feature, or where’s this gone to? Or now? How does that algorithm change how they had to adapt for a certain regulation that’s come in, it’s just something to be constantly on top of. And it is very difficult for us all business to keep continually adjusting that marketing strategy to accommodate the platform, the messaging, and time of the year, all those things together. And then at the end of it to try and make some sales. So it’s very difficult.
No, definitely. And I think what I guess key takeaways and for clients is having a good plan, knowing what you actually want to achieve from your Christmas sales, making sure that you can actually deliver on those objectives that you’ve set yourself as well. And then just making sure that you do have that visibility, and also a consistent approach to your campaign planning on whichever platforms you decide to choose. And when choosing your platforms, I would say look at the ones historically that have actually bought in the most revenue for you, instead of just picking up the latest new toy like tick tock and trying to run with it because ultimately, if you’ve already got a revenue generation from one platform, it’s better to put your read resource I would say into that to try and maximise it and maximise the potential of it than to just try something completely new that might actually waste a lot of money. And if your budget is tight, only I only experiment with different platforms, if you actually have the time and the money spare to do so I’d say
yeah. 100% I mean, again, it’s Have you got spare time? Yeah, this is gonna be a new platform all time. I think a lot. I mean, it’s probably isn’t even the most recent new platform has come out. I mean, we’ve had all sorts of stuff come to him saying you’ve got things like clubhouse, which we sort of use a little bit but either one of his died off a little bit now. Yeah. And you’ve, you’ve you’ve got to just look at it. Is your customer there? That’s the thing. Yeah. Yeah. If you’re a b2b customer, and you’re targeting professional services to be found, they’re not there. They’re probably on LinkedIn. And also on LinkedIn. Yeah. Is it that you’re looking at doing some hyperlocal work in terms of be able to target demographically, people within five miles radius of physically where you are who are interested in this and that Facebook’s got the data? Yeah. So yeah, it’s just knowing where they are and not wasting your time or stuff. And maybe that you can’t do that well, or it’s a little bit early stage. Yeah, I guess.
Yeah, definitely. So if you would like any help or advice on planning your Christmas ecommerce campaigns, please do get in touch at Hello at so marketing.com