How To Leverage Holiday Shoppers So They Become Long-Term Customers

It’s been a strange year for eCommerce: American shoppers spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours on Black Friday – up 16.9 percent compared to the year before. At the time, Amazon said that sales were rolling in “at record levels,” with more than 200,000 toys selling in just five hours.

Inversely, NetElixer, a retail search agency, estimates that Amazon’s total share of holiday sales will grow to 34 percent this year – which will have a knock-on effect on other retailers, with slower than usual online sales this holiday season at 10 percent year-on-year growth.

The online space is crowded and shoppers have more options than ever to complete their purchases. While competition is stiff, e-tailers also have more options for converting one-off holiday shoppers into long-term customers.

According to forEntreprenurs, it’s 68 percent more expensive to acquire $1 from a new customer than to upsell existing customers – and 70 to 95 percent of revenue comes from upsells and renewals. It’s a consumer market, but retailers have an opportunity to leverage holiday shoppers. Here’s how:

The art of upselling and cross-selling

Upselling encourages customers to purchase a comparable higher-end products while cross-selling emphasises buying related products i.e. a hat to go with a scarf.

Amazon’s cross-selling is effective and deals with pairing items that go together, while also highlighting sponsored items that could be an upsell.


Asos cross-sell by comparing very similar items:


The pricing, proposition, and benefits are all clearly laid out so potential subscribers can see exactly what they get.

Littlewoods, an online retailer, uses a mixture of both upselling and cross-selling, as can be seen in the image below.

Beneath the chosen product, in this case a phone, the retailer offers more expensive versions alongside any sales figures to further boost sales potential. It also offers cross-selling options in the righthand sidebar.

Essentially, think of your cross-selling or upselling tactics in terms of categories. It’ll convert most effectively if the bunching makes sense, so:

  • Use complimentary items i.e. a TV and speakers.
  • Go seasonal or focus on a campaign, for example matching back to school items or Valentine’s gifts.
  • Utilise your historical sales data to see what items typically sell together.
  • Display complimentary services. Ryanair bundles services (i.e. car hire, hotel stays) alongside purchasing flights.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to monitor your data. While upselling and cross-selling are valid tactics, you don’t want to be too pushy and deter potential customers from completing their purchase.

As a final tip, don’t underestimate your ability to sell at multiple transaction points. A study of PredictiveIntent’s eCommerce customer base showed that displaying cross-sells at checkout increased sales by a further three percent.

Utilise your email list

An active email list is one of the most powerful things a brand can have. Given that 50-100 percent more eCommerce revenue is generated between Black Friday and Christmas compared to the rest of the year, it’s a prime time to gather email addresses with the intention of driving purchases in the off-season.

Gathering email addresses doesn’t have to be complicated: prompt shoppers to sign up for an account when they’re completing their purchases; utilise pop-ups during content or on relevant pages; and use exit popups to capture emails when users are leaving your site.

Once you’ve got an email address, you effectively have a direct pathway to engaging with a potential customer.

Firebox, an online retailer of unique gifts, sends emails throughout the year but ups its sending rates in the lead-up to the holidays.

In an email campaign in the run-up to Christmas, Firebox utilised three smart tactics to gain conversions:

  • It presented its most popular gifts – which drives interest and presents ideas to other potential shoppers.
  • It showcases a range of products that tempts the recipient to buy a quick gift.
  • It uses the psychology of urgency by displaying a special offer that’s only applicable within a limited period of time.

These tactics will boost sales, but they are nothing without a well-cultivated, qualified list of email addresses. Quality wins over quantity every time.

You’ll need to constantly monitor your email list. It’s not enough to blast emails to your subscribers: segment them by past purchases or demographic, check open and click through rates, track what’s working and what isn’t and be prepared to adapt and test your email marketing efforts.

A/B test everything: your buttons, your images, your copy, and your subject lines. The more data you have, the more effective your marketing will be. If you sell through third parties, use Buy Now technology to analyse and optimise your marketing ROI. Gather your data and utilise that in your email marketing.

Smart retargeting is a new revenue stream

Only two percent of shoppers convert on their first visit to an online store. In some cases, the other 98 percent may never become a customer. However, a percentage have the potential to convert, should you engage with them again.

But how do you engage once they’ve left?


Essentially, retargeting gives you the capabilities to use your data (and cookies) to re-engage with past visitors. The medium you’ll choose varies.

Whichever avenue you choose, keep in mind the following:

1. Choose your target audience carefully

To retarget effectively, you’ll need to be granular about your targeting. Bucket your visitor traffic by stages: did someone leave the site very early? Did they go to purchase but abandon their cart? Or did they read blogs and then bounce?

Your copy should be specific to each audience. For example, for people who bounced very quickly, you can try general ad copy about your product or service. For those who abandoned their cart, you could entice them with a promo code or an email reminder that they didn’t complete their purchase. For blog readers, you can retarget them with related content or offers relative to the blog.

2. Avoid being creepy or stalking them around the internet

Optimal frequency is the amount of times someone will see your ads. Some marketers subscribe to the idea of showing people their ads as many times as possible – but that’s often not the strongest idea.

The last thing you want to do is cause banner blindness, over-saturation, or irritation by following your website visitors around the internet. Generally, there is no agreed optimal frequency. Instead, be prepared to extensively test your ads and interrogate your data to find your frequency cap.

The cross-section of conversion and frequency is your sweet spot so analyse your data to see what works best and optimise to that.

3. Update your lists and targeting

If your data is telling you that your retargeting isn’t working, don’t keep hitting your audience over the head with the same collateral.

Test your ads and if they’re still not working, take another look at your lists. Always update your lists based on conversions, non-convertors, visitors, etc.

The more data you have, the more powerful your retargeting will be.

Interested in increasing your eCommerce ROI next holiday season?

ChannelSight’s Buy Now technology enables brands across the world to increase sales conversions and market share. With clear ‘Buy Now’ call-to-action buttons, brands can offer online shoppers an improved shopping experience with quick and easy options to purchase products they want, from their preferred retailer.

Brands that use ChannelSight have seen conversion rates of over 20 percent, repeat-sales increases of 20-fold, and average customer basket size increase by over 30 percent. Most of our customers receive a year one return on investment of over 10 to 1.

If you want to better understand your conversion strategy and improve your ROI, get in touch today to see how we can help you.