With the holiday season upon us, the printing industry has huge opportunity to connect with their customers in the spirit of the season, capture the rise in demand for personalized products and maximize their sales before we sign-off the year. It has been proven that, during Christmas and holiday season, everyone is on the hunt for personalized gifts for family, friends and business associates and that makes it perfect timing to offer your customer an online ordering system where they can browse through your product catalog, personalize the products they want on their own and order online. This will give your customers a convenience to order what they want at any time of the day from anywhere they want, and what better customer experience one can demand in the humdrum of busy Christmas and holiday preparations.
Many businesses began taking advantage of the commercial aspects of Christmas in the late 19th Century through print media, radio and television ads too. Available marketing opportunities have since grown to include online advertising, social media marketing, e-commerce website and much more recently, mobile apps.
This holiday season, challenge yourself to step away from the urge to push your offerings offline to your customers and instead market your business online in the spirit of attracting your customers towards you and watch your busy season extend beyond the holidays too – take your print business online this Christmas!
Why Christmas and Holiday Season?
According to a report by Statista, In the U.S., Christmas is the most profitable holiday for the e-commerce industry. A report shows the volume of U.S. online retail e-commerce sales during the holiday shopping season from 2014 to 2016. In 2015, digital retail sales on desktop and mobile devices in November and December amounted to 68.31 billion U.S. dollars. Sales in 2016 reached 80.22 billion U.S. dollars.
What Christmas sales mean for the online retailers?
US retail eCommerce sales jumped 17.8% during the 2016 holiday season, a phenomenal rate that helped push total retail sales up 4.8%. For the 2017 holiday season, eMarketer expects ecommerce to climb 15.8%, while total retail growth will slow to 2.0%.
Also, as more and more consumers spend a greater amount on retail purchases during the Christmas season, traffic rises on eCommerce storefronts, and consumers are also more likely to click-on ads to get best deals.
According to a survey by AdRoll, in 2015, the click-through rate of ads rose 23.53% on average during the Christmas shopping season i.e. between November 26, 2015 and December 31, 2015. This means there’s not only a larger audience for marketing messages during Christmas, but also that audiences are more likely to be swayed by advertising as well.
Surge in number of Online Printing Stores
Internet is witnessing a rise in number of websites offering printing services and personalized products online. Personalized gifting is setting a new trend and with convenience of ordering any kind of personalized goods online, more and more customers are getting attracted to online printing and gift stores.
The research study by Technavio on the global personalized gifts market estimates Global personalized gifts market to grow at a CAGR of more than 9% during the forecast period 2017-2021.
Technavio analysts highlight the following three key factors that are contributing to the growth of the global personalized gifts market:
- Growing gifting culture and increasing demand for seasonal decorations
- Innovative gifting solutions and advancements in technology
- Expanding online retail, kiosks, and online distribution channels
“The gifting culture is evolving with an increasing number of occasions when gifts are exchanged. Consumers customize gifts through personalization, configuration, or on-demand printing to add value and make their gifts unique,” says Poonam Saini, one of the lead analysts at Technavio for retail goods and services research.
Now, online printing storefronts will face two shifts over the next several years: a rapid growth in market volume and an equally fast shift from offline to online purchasing. Marketers wishing to take advantage of the Christmas season should begin planning in the early summer, as it gives them enough time to implement a wide range of tactics to setup and promote their online website, like highly segmented display, e-mail marketing, and search engine campaigns to convert increased Christmas traffic more efficiently into sales. But it’s only through careful advance planning that marketers can make the most of the Christmas season.
The success of your business this holiday season lies in how prepared and dedicated you are in implementing your business strategies. Your tactics don’t have to be unique and groundbreaking – being able to consistently deliver with your tactics is all that matters at this point to achieve your goals.
However, any idea that helps to maximize the efficiency of your business and streamline its processes is an opportunity worth exploring. Most often, these opportunities involve using new technologies and resources to either cut down on the time spent doing a task or reducing the number of steps involved. And, when the opportunity to do the both arises, there’s no question that it’s going to translate into a major success for the business in general.
A Web-to-Print portal is a superb example of one such opportunity and something that virtually any printing business can utilize when it comes to streamlining productivity and efficiency. When you look at all of the critical situations they can improve, apart from many other benefits of web-to-print, it gives businesses the ability to:
- Streamline the print ordering process
- Reduce production timeline with least human interaction involved
- Minimize mistakes involved with artwork proofing and ordering
- Preserve records of ordering to study customer behaviour and other MIS reports
- Broaden access to critical printed materials
Now when you take your print business online, you can also leverage certain marketing benefits that cannot be enjoyed otherwise. Take a look at some ways in which a print business can market its brand’s online presence along with your products and services which finally might help to increase sales.
1. Adding Christmas Flair to Your Branding
Something that almost any business can do is to adjust your logo and social media profile pictures to incorporate elements associated with Christmas and use it throughout the season. You can also add Christmas flair to your website and social media header images, either as a single Christmas-themed image for the duration of the festive season or regularly changed to reflect any promotional offers you have running. Any costs associated with this can be justified by the fact that you can reuse these images for several years.
2. Share Holiday Themed Updates
Your regular posts and blogs on your storefront can still add value to the lives of your customers, but as we approach the end of the year it is also the perfect time for sharing retrospectives having more seasonal appeal. From designs and products that ruled the last year to new product or customizations, you’ll find there’s no shortage of light topics to write about over Christmas.
3. Reward Your Valued Customers
Depending on your audience, you may find that your followers on social media are your most engaged customers and your best brand ambassadors. Why not thank them by having offers exclusive to social media platforms? This idea works best if limited to your social media accounts, and when linked to your online store.
4. Publish Helpful, Holiday Themed Videos
Christmas time is the ideal time to post short, relevant videos that help your customers – without being overly promotional. Keep the videos short – if you intend sharing on Twitter they should be no more than 140 seconds long, while Instagram’s limit is 60 seconds – so instead of trying to demonstrate multiple items in one video, shoot separate videos for each demonstration. This idea can be used on your website, social media accounts, referenced in email marketing campaigns, and in your mobile app.
5. Launch a Christmas Specific E-mail Marketing Campaign
The holiday season is a good time to boost your email marketing strategy, with a focused campaign to highlight specific products and offers and to share important information relevant to the season lends itself very well to time-limited offers, and the ability to create a sense of urgency. But ensure that you have sufficient inventory of any stock being promoted and that the objective of all your campaigns should be to bring leads at your web-to-print storefront.
6. Turn on E-mail Automation
Most email marketing service providers offer email automation which, when integrated with e-commerce, can result in a sales and revenue boost. If you have an online store you should be making use of email automation to
- Re-engage customers who haven’t made a purchase in some time,
- Encourage customers who have abandoned their cart to complete the purchase,
- Highlight products related to what customers have bought in the past, and
- Reward first-time customers and your best customers n your storefront itself
7. Create a Sense of Urgency in Your Online Ads
One can use the Google AdWords countdown for any ads promoting a special time-limited offer, discount or sale, and especially if you are offering free shipping for a limited period. For online stores, there is always a “last day” for Christmas shopping, after which you cannot guarantee that any orders will be delivered before Christmas Eve. In addition to mentioning this throughout your online store, you should consider running countdown ads that highlight this date, and show how many days are left in which to place orders.
There is still enough time to implement your web-to-print strategy ahead of this Christmas, and for those who do not have an online store and require a little more planning, you have around 52 weeks left to finalise them for next Christmas. Perhaps you will make it a part of your 2018 New Year’s resolution, so that come Christmas 2018 you are able to market to an audience outside of your physical location and increase your brand presence and its value.
We, at Design’N’Buy, basically provide easy, highly adoptive and technology advanced web2print solutions for B2B and B2C printing businesses, in-plants, marketing organizations as well as trade printers or print brokers of any scale and size. We are expert in offering fully customized and tailored solutions to our customers for selling any kind of personalized products ranging from t-shirts, hoodies, caps, mugs, signage, banners, mobile skins, business cards, flyers, greetings, photo books, calendars etc.
So, enjoy the craziness of the holiday buying season, but take the opportunity to invest in the long-term loyalty of your customer base.