In the eCommerce world, seasonality refers to periods of time throughout the year when customer orders are either higher or lower than average.
Seasonality peaks during the online holiday shopping months of October, November, and December. According to our annual gifting survey, online holiday shopping will increase by 12% this year!
If you're an eCommerce seller, you can use seasonality to your advantage.
Here's how -
Seasonal customers have different purchase intentions. You can use them to implement seasonal online holiday shopping sales strategies that amp up your merchandising and marketing campaigns and improve your inventory management.
If you take advantage of eCommerce seasonal strategies all year round, you can stay competitive all year long.
Take Advantage of Seasonality All Year Long
We've been telling you since August that NOW is the time to start preparing for the year-end holiday season. After all, close to 40 percent of online sales occur during October, November, and December.
Holiday sales are projected to increase by more than $10 billion year over year.
It's time to take advantage of all the seasonal opportunities now in Q4, but also in the upcoming opportunities awaiting in Q1, Q2, and Q3, too.
Leverage the influx of online shoppers searching for gifts without worrying so much about competing with similar or identical products. The market may be less saturated, which will give your online business the leverage it needs to stay competitive.
Take a closer look at how different season events can increase sales.
Increase Sales with Seasonal Events
It's that time of year again. But several other holidays, like New Year's, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and more are opportune sales events to prepare for.
Assess your product line and determine which items in your eCommerce catalog may see an increase in sales interest or volume around this time of year.
Free tools such as Google Trends can help you chart trending shopper queries on a month-over-month basis.
What other seasonal events can increase eCommerce sales?
Remember that it isn't always about the Christmas season. A lot of seasonal holidays will overlap with other seasonal events, like weddings, birthdays, and Back to School.
Increase your sales with these seasonal events by bundling holiday products in your inventory and attracting shoppers looking to buy multiple products.
Don't be afraid to update your product descriptions, either. Refresh your product photos and optimize your product descriptions with seasonal keywords to boost your eCommerce sales. Quick updates like this will speak directly to seasonal customers.
Plan Ahead for Seasonal Events and Holidays
In addition to analyzing last year's numbers, note any significant upward or downward spikes in revenue and sales volume.
Recognize any sales patterns?
If the answer is yes, the next 5 steps are for you:
Take these 5 steps to plan ahead for next year's seasonal events and holidays:
- Pick out which seasonal event is most profitable for you and start planning at least three sales quarters ahead.
- Use Google Trends and other reputable eCommerce blogs like this one to identify trending product search queries.
- Update your product descriptions with seasonal keywords to target specific consumers. You can update them now with our free product description templates.
- Optimize your existing product catalog and examine every item in your inventory to see which products will sell faster for holidays and/or seasonal events
- Consider expanding your product catalog and start thinking about the logistics of adding a new product line.
Understand Online Holiday Shoppers' Purchase Intentions
Knowing the purchase intentions of your seasonal customers means you can meet them eye-to-eye by offering selective - yet relevant - product information that addresses their niche needs.
Your product images and product descriptions have the power to turn a browsing shopper into a high-intent buyer.
In an eCommerce marketplace, you have less control over your customer's shopping experience. That means you have to take every opportunity to influence customer decision-making and establish trust with your customers.
How do you build trust with customers online?
By categorizing your seasonal shoppers as either high-intent or low-intent based on how likely you think they are to complete a purchase.
High-intent buyers know exactly what they want and will be looking for that exact criteria when shopping online.
Attract high-intent buyers with the following tips:
- High-quality product images
- An abundance of favorable reviews (at least 20)
- Questions and answers (FAQs) that anticipate buyer concerns and address them
- Certificates authenticating product quality (trust-inducing organization logos will do), return policies, etc.
Low-intent buyers will likely be looking for the criteria above, but they do not plan to make a purchase. Low-intent shoppers are just browsing.
Catch the eye of low-intent buyers with product descriptions that are keyword-optimized with high-quality product photos.
There are some buyers, like those on Tophatter, that are low-intent in a high-intent marketplace.
This means they are not looking to buy anything in particular, but they are in the mood to shop. These discovery shoppers can and will quickly convert to purchase if they are drawn to a product by a great image.
Seasonality Will Increase eCommerce Sales
Understanding how your seasonal customers shop and make purchase decisions is invaluable, and seasonality gives eCommerce sellers the chance to tap into buyer intent in order to increase their online sales.
Now it's your turn. Implement a seasonal sales strategy that focuses on buyer intent over the next month, and use that insight to your advantage.
Log in to your Tophatter account and apply what you learn to your next auction.
Chris Capelle is a technology expert, writer and instructor. For over 25 years, he has worked in the publishing, advertising and consumer products industries.