Commerce Forum Series September 2015 – Recap

Last week a select group of retailers gathered at our Toronto head office for our Commerce Forum Series to discuss preparing Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season! We alongside our friends from Canada Post, Shopify, and Bronto Software, helped spark a discussion on how to best prepare your business for the busiest shopping season of the year so that retailers can make the most of the opportunity ahead of them .

Below is a recap of the event, which includes a summary of what our event sponsors shared with the attendees.

commerce forum series september

Bronto Software’s Email Marketing Tips for the Holidays

bronto software

Bronto Software provides a cloud-based commerce marketing automation platform to mid-market and enterprise organizations worldwide. Bronto is the number one ranked email marketing provider to the Internet Retailer Top 1000, with a client roster of leading brands worldwide, including Armani Exchange, Timex, Samsonite, Theory and Vince Camuto.

Did you know that 81% of consumers are more likely to make additional purchases after receiving personalized, targeted emails?

70% of all Shopping carts are abandoned but only 10% of marketers are using SCA emails today. We have found that abandoned cart messages are up to 100X more effective than standard email messages in generating revenue! If you are not emailing, you are leaving money on the table

With the holidays coming, there are a number of best practices to think about:

  • Make sure that you have a modal popup for first time visitors
  • Display a form for first-time site visitors, provide a clear and quick way to close it, consider an incentive for a first purchase and ensure the form doesn’t display each time a shopper visits your site.
  • Establish a remailing strategy – determine which mailings in your communication plan would be good candidates.
  • Consider excluding subscribers who have already purchased and those who have not opened the first message from the campaign, leaving only those who have either opened and/or clicked but not purchased
  • For other great tips and ideas, make sure to check out the Holiday resource center on Bronto’s website

Read Bronto’s Canadian customer success story on taking Silver Jeans’s email marketing from “0-60” with coupon manager. Our friends at Bronto Software want to help you achieve success with your email marketing, mention this blog post before December 15 in conversation with a representative and receive a special offer from Bronto!

Shopify’s tips for Holiday Success

Shopify Commerce Forum

Shopify is a leading cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Merchants can use the software to design, set up and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including web, mobile, social media such as Pinterest and Facebook, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. The platform also provides a merchant with a powerful back-office and a single view of their business. The Shopify platform was engineered for reliability and scale, using enterprise-level technology made available to businesses of all sizes. Shopify currently powers over 175,000 businesses in approximately 150 countries, including: Tesla Motors, Budweiser, Wikipedia, LA Lakers, the New York Stock Exchange, GoldieBlox, and many more.

Communication is key during the holidays so ensure you have content to speak to the many questions your customers will inevitably have during the holidays. Ask yourself – When are your shipping cut off dates? What are your return policies? Have you considered putting Live Chat on your website? Help set and manage your customers expectations.

Decide which holidays you want to participate in – in Q4 there’s almost a holiday every week in the last 2 months of the year. Participating and prepping for all would be madness, so strategically choose your battles

Create a Promotional Calendar – mapping your promotions and budgets out. Stay organized, and plan out the steps necessary to execute your campaigns.
Take time for email marketing – depending on your list size email can be one of your best source of traffic and your best ROI. Promotional emails (good promotional emails) can take time to prep, and finalize. Consider segmenting your email list as well for maximum effectiveness. Test all links prior to sending!

Canada Post’s Holiday Commerce Insights

Canada Post Commerce forum

Canada Post is a key enabler of Canadian eCommerce and has key insights from their role as an influencer in the Canadian economy and from their data from the 2014 holiday season.

Key considerations as you prepare for the peak season:

What happened last year during the holiday season? The 2014 season looked similar to 2013, with tremendous growth in Canadian eCommerce shopping. There was a cross-country growth story for the Canadian’s shopping online during the holiday. What industry’s drove the holiday growth in 2014? mass merchants, housewares and home furnishing, fashion, and consumer electronics.

1. Seasonal events are critical
Seasonal events are changing how Canadians approach their holiday shopping. Consider seasonal events for peak season performance. For most of you this is the most important time of year for you and remember November and December accounted for 25% of eCommerce parcel volumes. Canada Post eCommerce parcel shipments as a result of Cyber Week have doubled since 2012 with a 59% increase in parcel volumes during Cyber Week compared to the week prior. But don’t forget about Boxing Week! Those with Boxing Week shipping promotions saw an 18% lift in shipping volumes.

2. Shipping Promotions Matter
Cost of shipping is a key consideration for shoppers online. The most common shipping promotions include: free shipping with minimum purchase, free shipping on specific brands and products, free shipping with no restrictions. Shipping practices differ by industries during the holidays.

3. Maximize shopping days
You have the opportunity to extend the selling season. Are you taking advantage of each selling day available to you? How are you maximizing your selling windows during peak season? Add shopping days to maximize holiday selling opportunities and offer greater flexibility for your shoppers. Working back from December 25th is essential to do this more effectively. Consider having more expedited shipping products in your portfolio.

4. Prepare for Holiday Returns
There’s an opportunity to leverage your customer base to introduce your brand to new customers. Consider the importance of a convenient return policy. Nearly 70% of Canadian consumers say that a returns policy is important. 19% of online shoppers browse for return policies across brands proper to making a purchase. 13% of shoppers who abandoned their purchase do so over concerns about the returns policy. 1/2 of Canadians would be less likely to purchase online if they had to pay shipping fees when returning a product. Offer your customers multiple ways to return gifts this holiday season

For more insights, check out Canada Post’s pre-recorded webinar presentation to help merchants prepare for the holidays by clicking here.