Well, here we are: the end of January, about midway through Quarter One. And with the holiday shopping season come and gone faster than a ‘blizzard’ in Philadelphia, some e-commerce retailers are coming in hot after great growth, while others, unfortunately, may be left behind, licking their wounds. But do not fret. No matter which side of the ball you’re on, the arrival of Q1 brings new opportunities, milestones and anticipations aplenty. Sure, historically, there’s a dip in conversion rates and sales, but that’s only natural.
Let’s take a deeper look into what’s on the horizon for e-commerce for the rest of Q1.
Super Bowl Sunday
Before we dive into e-commerce, let’s look at the commercials. All around, Super Bowl Sunday is a big day for brands, but especially those smaller companies who are showing up on the scene for the first time – like Avocados From Mexico. Will the exposure be positive? Will the ad hit? Will it fail? Will the organization be able to handle that amount of exposure? Was it worth it? It could go any number of ways, really, but there’s a reason I bring up avocados and physical brand advertising in an article about e-commerce. There are parallels here.
That is, having a commercial play during the Big Game offers opportunities to influence consumers off-site, later on in the Quarter. If it hits, and you’re successful, the ad could go viral – sales rise, loyalty is built and brands celebrate. This is where the parallel becomes apparent. While online shopping numbers obviously fall on Super Bowl Sunday (in fact, they go so low as the bottom of Q1’s quartile), off-site content – such as engaging e-mail and social media campaigns – may urge consumers to buy later on in the quarter.
On a similar note, according to Google Analytics researchers, “The week of February 5th (also known as the week after the Super Bowl and the week before Valentine’s Day) marks the first time that transactions hit the average or above for the quarter. ” It’s a turning point, a transition between frantic holiday gift-buying and traditional purchasing behaviors.
We can’t forget about Valentine’s Day — the second biggest advertising and marketing push of Q1. More specifically, the Sunday before Valentine’s Day; or for the more pragmatic of us, the last true chance to buy your significant other a gift without having to pay extra for expedited shipping. But that’s besides the point. Here are the numbers: in both 2013 and 2014, that specific Sunday, according to Google Analytics researchers, has seen an average 10% spike week-over-week in transactions, a 6% bump in conversion rates, and a 4% increase in sessions.
Clearly, this means consumers are spending more time online, intending to buy. Again, you could take full advantage of this increased exposure by enhancing the user experience on your site, developing compelling on and off-site content campaigns, and creating relevant promotions or tools.
Overall, it’s important to remember that even though this is a slow point in the Quarter – and the year, for that matter – things are bright on the e-commerce horizon. As buying behaviors level out, shopping and purchasing activity will increase, so get your marketing plans in order to get the most out of Q1.