Guest contributor

This week’s guest blog post is from Ian Tilson, Channel Partner Manager at dotdigital. We caught up with Ian to hear his top five marketing tactics brands need to adopt to be ready for the upcoming silly season.

If there’s one time of the year that you need to capitalise on, it’s definitely holiday season. According to Australia Post’s 2019 eCommerce Industry Report, there was a 24% yearly increase of online spending in 2018, with the five weeks between 11 November to 15 December accounting for 15% of all eCommerce transactions.

There are several important dates included in that timespan, starting off with the biggest global shopping day of the year— Singles’ Day — and including ‘Cyber Week’, an extension of Black Friday & Cyber Monday. For the first time, last year mobile spending eclipsed desktop spending, according to Salesforce’s Holiday Shopping Report. Retailers now have to be mobile-focused and ensure that they have an omnichannel strategy to make sure they are reaching the right person, at the right time, with the right message and — of course— on the right channel.

Last year, our Regional Director of APAC Rohan Lock shared his five hacks on this blog and this year I am adding five more, to make sure you take advantage of the festive season.

A photo of wrapped holiday parcels.

1. Gather good data

The holiday season is a great time to encourage new visitors to sign up for your email marketing. In the lead up to this busy period, you can use popovers to grow your marketing lists. Hook visitors with exclusive access to pre-sales or free delivery during the sales when they subscribe. You can also progressively profile your database by requesting specific details through quick surveys; making sure to gather new data (don’t ask for information you already have). This data can then be used to enrol each customer in an omnichannel journey relevant to them.

2. Get the timing right

Amazon is the most successful eCommerce retailer globally over Black Friday weekend, because they offer a full week’s worth of discounts. Kicking off at the beginning of the week, Amazon runs deals all the way from Monday to Cyber Monday. Again, this is a great way to stand out from the crowd, but it’s not the only way.

Do you want to build-up excitement and anticipation with a series of ramp-up emails? Figure out what tactic you’re going to implement and get planning. The earlier you can do this, the more time you’ll have to plan your design, segments, content, and build your automation.

Also, don’t forget to be thinking about delivery. Can you fulfil a promise to deliver before Christmas? Are you going to need to outsource or hire more employees to manage your warehouse stock?

Holiday calendar by dotdigital showing importants eCommerce dates for November 2019 - January 2020.

3. Know your customer

Each customer or contact that you have is different. Be aware of the different personas in your database, and don’t send the same message to everyone. Use dynamic content to create relevant content, for example;

  • Champion customers: think beyond marketing. Engage with them directly and reward them for their time.
  • Customers who need some nurturing: focus more on incentivising them with discounts and offers.

4. Set up key automations

Automated programs or customer journeys are a great way to get relevant messaging to your contacts and the easy wins don’t change in the holiday season. A welcome program and abandoned cart are still two of the most effective ways to increase revenue. 55% of people are still not sending an abandoned cart email, despite them being the highest yielding email campaign. If you don’t have an abandoned cart communication set up, you are leaving money on the table. (As a side note, abandoned cart emails do not have to offer discounts.)

5. Communicate across different channels

Email, SMS, social, chat… there are so many channels that we can now interact with customers on, so use them! As we know, online shoppers are increasingly becoming savvier and will not always purchase on their first visit. Think outside the box.

  • With a 98% open rate within the first five minutes of receipt and close to 8% click-to-delivered rates, SMS is a marketing channel that can cut through the noise. SMS might not be the first touchpoint for your customer but can be very effective for last-minute deals. SMS works great for snap sales, like one-day-only promos where customers need to read and act fast.
  • Another good way to keep customers attention is to retarget via Facebook or Google Ads. Add your contacts to different audiences based on data, such as when they last visited your website, and what their average order value is, to ensure the retargeting is relevant.

About Ian
Ian has worked within the eCommerce space for over 13 years across Europe and Asia Pacific, and he also runs his own eCommerce store. As Channel Partner Manager for Australia and New Zealand at dotdigital, Ian works with agency partners, and echnology integrations such as Magento to bring dotdigital to local businesses.

Connect with Ian Tilson and the dotdigital team on LinkedIn or find out more about dotdigital at