Ecommerce marketing next year: 5 ways to set up for success

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Here are some ecommerce tips that can have an immediate impact, as well as in the upcoming year.

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Q4 is almost here, along with the holiday shopping season.

Rather than focus on ecommerce holiday SEO strategies and campaigns – which you should (hopefully) already have nailed down – now is a good time to start thinking ahead to next year.

1. Learn from last year

Start by reviewing last year’s campaign wrap-ups to identify any missing data or insights.

One big change from last year is that you’re likely now fully using Google Analytics 4. This requires rethinking or reevaluating your reporting.

Revisit your past reports. Can you report on all the data you have before?

Use this opportunity to inform stakeholders about any significant differences due to the new tracking setup.

Unsure where to begin with tracking? Consider a future state workshop.

Gather your team, project to the time when you need to report on holiday campaigns, and collaboratively create the report framework. This workshop format encourages idea exchange and innovative performance review methods.

These sessions also often make us think about ways to test and learn.

2. Test and learn from with a larger dataset than usual

During the holiday season, I’ve seen ecommerce site traffic surge by as much as 70%. This increased activity makes it a great time to spot data trends – and quickly test new ideas.

These tests could be general improvements or holiday-specific optimizations.

I recently worked on a test during peak season for a client, and it doubled revenue per session in a quick experiment, which might have taken weeks to achieve at another time of the year.

Key principles still count:

  • Test one idea at a time.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Ensuring the test is scientifically robust.

I’m a fan of behavioral science, and when I need testing ideas, I turn to nudges – or small adjustments to influence decisions.

Inspired by the research of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, nudges can be a valuable source of testing inspiration, especially when aligned with audience insights to match potential customer behavior.

Successful testing yields valuable insights to guide your 2024 strategy, whether it’s for regular campaigns or holiday and sales-focused ones.

3. Gamification

Gamification is an underutilized marketing tool that goes through ups and downs in popularity.

The holiday season is an ideal time to experiment with gamification to learn about your audience for your future marketing.

Gamification varies, from generic fun games to customized ones that can captivate your audience for extended periods. For instance, we once created a football-related game for a client that achieved an astonishing average time on site of over 30 minutes.

The secret? A highly relevant, engaging, and addictive quiz.

To use gamification for audience insights, focus on custom games, like a personalized psychographic quiz tailored to your brand.

For example, a clothing brand could create a quiz like “What Does Your Wardrobe Say About You?” It guides users through statements to reveal a persona linked to popular characters, providing valuable insights into your audience.

Done well, this benefits the brand and user. But it must be executed well to avoid harming the brand-user relationship.

Now that you’ve categorized your audience using the quiz profiles, you can create targeted segments. This enables personalized email communications for each profile based on what you’ve learned about them.

4. Data capture

Zero-party data is highly valuable. Finding mutually beneficial ways to collect it from customers can greatly benefit your future strategy.

The holiday season offers more chances to connect with your audience through promotions and exclusive deals. Make the most of this by asking customers what matters most to them in advance. This enables better content personalization, which can increase conversion rates.

To gain an advantage over competitors, consider using games, quizzes, or planning tools to capture information ahead of time for holiday shopping. This allows you to benefit now and in the coming year.

Strike the right balance between questions and rewards to make it worthwhile for customers to provide this information.

Consider offering exclusive access to Black Friday sales in exchange for customer preferences. These insights benefit both your event and customer interests.

Additionally, categorize purchases to distinguish between personal and gift items. This prevents marketing misalignment, allowing you to collect more information, such as birthdays, in exchange for discounts on gifts.

To collect zero-party data effectively:

  • Ensure mutual benefit.
  • Store data for usability.
  • Actively use and track its impact.

5. Digital PR

Digital PR can boost authority for ecommerce holiday season campaigns and the upcoming year, if executed correctly. Preparation and relevance are key.

Publications will share gift guides, Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, and more. Ensure your brand aligns with these opportunities by analyzing last year’s coverage and your competitors’ visibility.

During planning, wear both your SEO and digital PR hats.

  • Be mindful of URLs, so you don’t invest heavily in temporary ones. Create a clear strategy for seasonal landing pages to keep them active, even building anticipation for future campaigns.

Aim for immediate impact and the upcoming year.

Strategically target publications for potential backlinks, especially those you don’t already have. Examine their past holiday content for opportunities your brand can fill.

Be proactive and plan for January content, as the new year arrives swiftly with its own opportunities.

Don’t hesitate to request links when it comes to link building. We had a client with a popular beauty advent calendar capitalize on this by identifying mentions and asking for links.

Ecommerce marketing success is all about planning

Start with your future vision for holiday campaign results and work backward to achieve it.

Learn from the past and adapt to changes (e.g., GA4, economic shifts) to effectively shape your plans.

If you can’t do everything this year, start a holiday 2024 planning document and start preserving your valuable ideas. Testing and learning doesn’t happen all at once. Now is the best time to start testing and learning.


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About the author

Becky Simms
Contributor
Becky has spent the last 15 years working in digital marketing, starting Reflect Digital in 2011, which is now a team of over 35 digital specialists. Becky secured a three-year hat-trick in 2023 of being listed in the BIMA 100, a list of the top 100 people shaping the future of the digital industry. Becky’s passion for digital lies within understanding human behaviourand applying behavioural science to digital channels. It is her belief that when you truly understand your audience you unleash a performance potential previously not possible to attain.

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