The madness of the 2022 holiday shopping season isn’t far away – and for many shoppers, it’s already begun. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain strain, and inflation concerns, consumers have been starting their holiday shopping earlier than ever. In fact, 42% of shoppers say they plan to start buying holiday gifts earlier this year than in previous years!

44% of consumers start their holiday shopping in or before October.

For marketers, holiday season prep starts several months before customers start shopping. With customers starting to purchase gifts for the holidays so early, your best bet is to start ecommerce holiday prep for your brand over the summer.

Unfortunately, there’s no time machine that will take you back to the beginning of Q3 to develop the perfect holiday ecommerce strategy for your brand – but there are still some tactics your brand can leverage right now for a successful 2022 holiday shopping season.

In this article, we’ll explore seven strategies to prepare your brand for the 2022 holiday shopping season:

  1. Plan personalized promotions
  2. Don’t ignore the switch to Performance Max
  3. Make shipping information clear and easy to find on your website
  4. Prepare your website’s holiday landing pages
  5. Audit and optimize your shopping setup
  6. Develop your strategy around Apple’s iOS 14.5 update
  7. Incorporate sustainability and transparency into your strategy

1. Plan Personalized Promotions

During the holiday shopping season, customers expect significant deals and promotions. 60% of consumers say that getting a great deal is the top reason they’ll consider buying from a retailer.

According to research conducted by Experian, nearly 3 in every 4 of stores offer no incentives to buy during the busiest shopping time of the year.

Here are some tips you can leverage to stand out from your competition during the 2022 holiday shopping season with personalized promotions:

  • Don’t rely on free shipping alone to drive sales. This has become something that customers expect rather than a perk. Instead, offer free shipping coupled with a promotion like a 15% discount specifically for the type of product that a customer might be interested in.
  • Create timely Deals of the Day and similar specials based on your target audience’s interests. To push shoppers over the edge from a browser to a buyer, emphasize scarcity, timeliness, or exclusivity in your promotions.
  • Offer personalized promotions. 48% of marketers say personalization is top-of-mind for their brand. Personalization can take the form of showing ads to customers on the channel where they originally discovered your brand, creating relevant ad copy based on a user’s demographics, or sending unique emails based on the products a user has browsed on your site.

ROI 2022 Holiday Shopping Season Opportunity

With all of the supply chain strain in 2022, it will be crucial to ensure that you have the inventory to back up the products you’re promoting. After all, there’s no more important time than the holiday season to ensure customers receive the items they purchased on time. Consider developing your holiday strategy around the products you already have plenty of inventory for.

2022 holiday shopping season - fingers holding AI graphic brain

2. Don’t Ignore the Switch to Performance Max

The shift to Performance Max (also referred to as PMax) will definitely play a role in the 2022 holiday shopping season. Right now, there aren’t any tools that allow brands to forecast any trends through PMax, making it somewhat difficult to predict how your holiday sales will look. There are also no longer Expanded Text Ads in Google or Microsoft, which means ads are unable to feature promo-specific copy.

Successfully creating and editing ads in the moment for immediate use during the holidays is nearly impossible with PMax since the ads have to go into a learning period in addition to needing time to be approved. That means you’ll want to ensure your ads are general enough that they entice customers without requiring promotion-specific copy. Ad customizers are still available with Responsive Search Ads.

ROI 2022 Holiday Shopping Season Opportunity

When Google Smart Shopping was the norm, ROI recommended that you set up and schedule your holiday-specific ad copy. This year, this strategy puts your ads at a higher risk of being delayed by an approval period. Your best bet is to leverage extensions and have good holiday coverage on your site links and callouts as opposed to your paid ads.

Peruse the resources below for more insights on Performance Max:

3. Make Shipping Information Clear & Easy to Find on Your Website

Shoppers are keenly aware of the inventory and fulfillment issues that are straining shipping times across industries. There’s no more important time than the holiday season to ensure products arrive when they’re supposed to, so make sure you clearly communicate shipping times and any potential delays with your shoppers.

Even though many consumers are starting to shop well in advance of the December holidays this year, many shoppers will still wait until the last minute to complete their holiday shopping. It will be crucial to communicate your last ship dates on your product pages so that shoppers know just how much time they have left to purchase their gifts. A lack of transparency here could cause shoppers to become unhappy with your brand.

On-time delivery means you’re meeting the shopper’s expectations, which helps create brand loyalty. On the other hand, not delivering your product on time can have a detrimental impact on how a shopper feels about your brand – especially during a time like the holiday shopping season when on-time delivery is so crucial. In fact, 34% of consumers will never buy from a brand again after just one bad shopping experience.

ROI 2022 Holiday Shopping Season Opportunity

Prepare your website with a holiday shipping strategy by researching and updating your website with the most important information that your customers want to know:

  • Find out what your carrier’s shipping deadline is for delivery before the December holidays
  • Update your shipping costs on your website
  • Ensure product availability (and develop a strategies to deal with out-of-stock items)

2022 holiday shopping season - landing page on cell phone, laptop, and tablet

4. Prepare Your Website’s Holiday Landing Pages

Aside from reflecting your values in order to foster trust with shoppers, your website should also feature dedicated holiday season landing pages and timely holiday copy.

Well-written, SEO-optimized landing pages are crucial to attract high-quality organic traffic. They can also hype up your target audience for the upcoming deals and other goodies you have in store for the 2022 holiday shopping season.

Consider creating Black Friday and holiday shopping landing pages. Mention what deals you’ll offer and hint at anything else you’re specially preparing for your customers.

Your holiday landing page(s) should include:

  • A sneak peek of all of the products and deals that you want to emphasize. (Bonus tip: With all of the supply chain strain, consider emphasizing products that you already have a lot of inventory for!)
  • Relevant information about upcoming promotions (e.g. promotion dates, discount details, and last ship dates)
  • Any information specific to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that makes it easy for shoppers to know how to take advantage of your deals

You can also use blog content to promote the products you want to sell with articles such as “Top 10 Holiday Gifts Your Dad Would Love” or “The Best Tech Gadgets to Gift Your Significant Other This Holiday Season.” Since it can take three to six months for SEO to take effect and reach qualified traffic, the earlier you start this, the better.

ROI 2022 Holiday Shopping Season Opportunity

Search engines are the most common brand discovery channel, with 32% of internet users saying they find new brands or products this way. Make sure you build your landing pages with the best-fit keywords, outbound and inbound links, and the right back-end optimizations to ensure your website is primed to get picked up by Google.

At ROI Revolution, our dedicated team of SEO experts takes a three-pronged approach of content writing, link building, and technical optimizations to get brands like yours ranking high on the first SERP. Reach out to our team today to explore how we can help your brand grow through SEO!

5. Audit & Optimize Your Shopping Setup

The 2022 holiday shopping season will bring an influx of traffic to your site. Whether it’s through TikTok, Instagram, Google Shopping, email, or an organic search, you’ll likely have many new visitors arriving at your virtual doorstep searching for gifts.

To ensure your potential customers are satisfied enough to make a purchase, your website needs to be in top shape. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • Is your site optimized to have a fast load time? This is especially important on mobile, where 53% of users will leave a site if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  • Can your server handle the additional traffic? If you don’t already know, ask your hosting provider about your current average bandwidth usage and what your server’s monthly limit is. You may not be reaching the limit now, but you could exceed it with the surge in traffic during the 2022 holiday shopping season. You don’t want your store to become inaccessible due to exceeded bandwidth, especially during a time like Cyber Week.
  • Are your product feeds set up for success? Be aware of potential inventory pain points as far ahead of time as you can. Make sure you can get consistent updates on your inventory levels – even once an hour. It will be critical to ensure you update your product feeds to reflect your site’s inventory.

ROI 2022 Holiday Shopping Season Opportunity

Keep a close eye on Google Merchant Center. You don’t want to fall into the trap of spending valuable time developing a thorough strategy to drive conversions just to have a spike in disapprovals or suspensions that cause dips in performance. ROI Revolution has a dedicated team of product feed experts who leverage years of expertise plus ROI’s in-house technology to ensure your account is always monitored to prevent and resolve issues as soon as possible. Reach out to our team today to explore opportunities to ensure you’re not losing out on profitability from a lackluster product feed setup.

2022 holiday shopping season - iPhone with loading screen on top of laptop

6. Develop Your Strategy Around Apple’s iOS 14.5 Update

This holiday season, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update is still impacting brands that rely heavily on Facebook advertising. Seeing accurate year-over-year trends continues to be difficult as the size of the audience brands can target with well-informed data has shrunk tremendously. This will make it more difficult to understand trends, what works with your audience, and how your ads are performing in general. Focusing on your upper-funnel efforts can help balance out the uncertainty.

For brands advertising on social media this holiday season, the change in iOS impacts tracking the effectiveness of ads more than it impacts audience targeting. This change won’t affect year-over-year comparisons because it’s already been in effect for 1.5 years. Many platforms like Black Crow and Shopify offer resources to provide more accurate tracking.

ROI 2022 Holiday Shopping Season Opportunity

To develop a high-quality list of customers to target, consider remarketing to your list of holiday season shoppers (or even just Cyber 5 site visitors) from the previous year. On Facebook, you can pull a customer list of your purchases from the previous Q4 and create a lookalike audience based on them to reach new customers.

7. Incorporate Sustainability & Transparency Into Your Strategy

Sustainability is something you should consider incorporating into your marketing strategy regardless of the time of the year, but it can make a big difference in separating your brand from your competitors during the holidays.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer buying behaviors have shifted drastically. As important as free and fast shipping is to many customers, 42% of shoppers will consider paying more for sustainable shipping or even choose a longer delivery window if it’s more sustainable.

Many shoppers are focused on finding the best deal during the holidays. Others are searching for a brand they can trust to buy from. You can help them pick you by clearly communicating what makes you different from your competitors.

Sustainable shopping is top-of-mind for many shoppers, especially Gen Z. 34% of US Gen Z shoppers say they would buy more sustainable fashion products if they were more widely available, compared to 23.6% of overall consumers.

Nearly 9 in 10 internet users say sustainability should be a standard business practice.

Transparency is also more important than ever to customers. Nearly one in three marketers say that authenticity and developing trust are top-of-mind for their brand. 88% of consumers expect brands to clearly state their values, and 64% will stop buying from a brand if the brand’s values don’t align with their own.

ROI 2022 Holiday Shopping Season Opportunity

To get more shoppers to buy from your brand instead of your competitors, strategize ways to highlight your sustainability practices and transparently share your values on your website or even in ads. Has your brand made a pledge to reduce carbon emissions or use more recycled materials during production? Incorporating that information into your 2022 holiday ecommerce strategy can be a key way to convert more browsers into buyers – especially if your target audience skews toward Gen Z and/or Millennials.

2022 holiday shopping season - gold gift box being held by woman wearing a mask with holiday lights in the background

Tying It All Together: Preparing for the 2022 Holiday Shopping Season

Since the onset of the pandemic, every holiday shopping season has brought unprecedented obstacles and unpredictable consumer buying behavior. Make sure your brand’s 2022 holiday shopping season ecommerce strategy is equipped for success with the seven tips in this article.

Interested in seeing how a team of experts could help your brand uncover more profitable opportunities to grow revenue during the holidays and beyond? Reach out to our team today to explore strategies you can start implementing throughout your marketing funnel to convert more of your browsers into buyers.