7 WooCommerce remarketing and sales strategies to avoid a post-holiday slump

This is a guest post from Alec Wines, Head of Growth at WP Buffs, a WordPress website management and support services company.

The holiday season is now behind us, and we hope it was the exhilarating mix of crazy busy and wildly successful that leaves you feeling both satisfied and exhausted.

But now… it’s January. And because it’s so easy to get caught up in making it through the holiday season, eCommerce stores often neglect to take the proper steps to keep sales from going off a cliff in the slower months that follow. 

Fortunately, it’s not too late to implement a few strategies to curb the post-New Year’s slump and keep your revenue stream steady. In this article, we’ll cover how you can use remarketing ads to power your store through the early months of the year, and also cover six additional strategies you can use to keep your WooCommerce store’s sales strong through January, February, and beyond.

1. Remarketing, and why it’s important during the post-holiday season

In case you’re not familiar with the concept, “remarketing” (also known as “retargeting”) is the practice of displaying targeted promotions to customers based on their past behavior on your website. Some common examples include a visitor who views a product and later sees an ad for that same item on Facebook… or a visitor who abandons their shopping cart, and then sees targeted Google ads for the items they left behind.

The main goal of eCommerce remarketing is to recover missed sales opportunities from leads that didn’t convert the first time. It’s also an excellent way to turn one-time holiday buyers into repeat customers.

To set up remarketing ads with Google, you’ll first need a Google Ads account. Log in and navigate to Shared library > Audience manager > Audience sources. Then click on Set Up Tag under Google Ads Tag. After that, you’ll need to edit your site’s code to add your Google remarketing tag to WordPress.

Google Ads screenshot.

To set up remarketing ads with Facebook, you’ll need to add the Facebook pixel to your site to track customer behavior (including browsing and adding items to their cart). From there, you can set up ads to target customers who:

  • Viewed products but didn’t buy.
  • Added products to their cart but didn’t buy.
  • You want to upsell to higher-priced products than the ones they viewed.
  • You want to cross-sell related products to ones they viewed.

Remarketing is a useful strategy year-round, but it’s especially crucial during the post-holiday season. During that time, it’s likely you’ve experienced a boost in website traffic and sales. Remarketing can help you keep that momentum going—when your WooCommerce store might otherwise experience a slump.

Plus, you might be able to catch the eye of some customers who thought about making a purchase from your site during the holiday rush but didn’t wind up following through. Now you can reach them in this post-holiday period, when everything’s a bit slower and tons of marketing isn’t flying at them so fast.

2. Don’t stop your marketing campaigns

The biggest post-holiday marketing mistake you can make is to suddenly drop out of the picture. Coming off a high-activity period where your brand is in front of customers all the time—Jilt’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday numbers show stores really ramped up their holiday email volume this year—you don’t want to disappear and allow your customers to forget about your business.

Whatever holiday marketing strategies you’ve been using for the past few months should continue in some form into January and February. This can be difficult, as it’s tempting to take a break after all the work you’ve been doing to promote your products over the past months.

However, this is also the most important strategy on our list if you want to keep customers coming back to your WooCommerce store after the holiday season ends. If you’re feeling burned out or aren’t sure what direction your new campaigns should take, the remaining tips below should help!

3. Enhance your email marketing efforts

Although remarketing often refers to ads, it’s also relatively simple to implement via email. This channel can prove extremely effective, since messages are relevant, personalized, and delivered straight to customers’ inboxes.

You can use targeted, automated emails to cross-sell related products to customers based on their holiday purchases, to send a thank you discount to all of your holiday shoppers, or just to check in on how satisfied they are with what they bought.

The post-holiday season is a key time to foster relationships with buyers so that they begin the journey toward becoming repeat customers. An evergreen technique to accomplish this is to send out a monthly (or more frequent) newsletter with links to recent blog content on your eCommerce site.

This is also a good time to take advantage of the holiday sales boom and source some user-generated content (UGC) to feature in your email campaigns. For example, you can ask customers to submit photos of themselves with their gifts via social media, then incorporate these images in your email newsletter with shout-outs to the featured shoppers.

UGC has been shown to boost brand loyalty, which often leads to repeat sales. It can also provide high-quality social proof to prospective customers.

4. Comb through your analytics and apply what you learn

Your WooCommerce store’s analytics can shed light on the best direction to take your post-holiday remarketing strategy. Some specific areas to keep an eye on include:

  • Pre-holiday sales. During the holidays, customers are often shopping for friends and family. The items they buy during this time may not be the best indicators of what the customers themselves want or need. So make sure to assess your sales from before the Black Friday-through-Christmas period to determine what shoppers may be interested in for themselves. Check out your top-selling products from the pre-holiday months, and consider promoting them now.
  • Holiday sales. That being said, don’t discount the value of holiday sale analytics. You can use them to figure out which products from your WooCommerce store were the most popular this season, then cross-sell accessories and other related items.
  • Email analytics. By paying attention to which of your email campaigns perform the best with your customers, you can learn more about where their interests lie. The data can also assist you in determining what kinds of deals will lead to conversions. To get started, check out your open rates and click-through rates to gauge which messages subscribers found most enticing.

Odds are you’ll use Google Analytics for most of this (outside of email analytics, which you’ll get from your email service provider.) If you’re just getting started and feel like Google Analytics is a bit overwhelming, you can start by simplifying things with the Google Analytics Dashboard extension. It displays the most important metrics for you to study right inside of WordPress.

However, sooner rather than later, you’ll want to upgrade to Google Analytics Pro to get more robust, eCommerce-focused data from your WooCommerce store including things like average order value, conversion rate, and sales by product or category. (Editor’s note: Google Analytics Pro is made by SkyVerge, the parent company of Jilt.)

eCommerce analytics from Google Analytics Pro.

Once you’ve studied your data, don’t forget: you have to actually take action to see results! That may mean including certain products in your emails and ads, or sharing specific types of coupons with holiday buyers.

5. Run special post-holiday sales

“After Christmas” sales events are a popular technique in the early months of the year. They can benefit you in a few ways:

  • You can clear out seasonal stock such as decorations, holiday sweaters, gift wrapping materials, etc., which aren’t likely to sell year-round.
  • Shoppers love to feel like they’re getting the best price. With the right sales, they’ll be more likely to come out and make purchases on top of their holiday spending.
  • Your business will keep up with competitors who are also running post-holiday discounts.
A post-Christmas sale.

But, it’s probably going to take an eye-popping sale to draw customers back. The average American shopper was projected to spend almost $1,000 on gifts and other holiday-related items this year—and with the still-rocky financial situation for so many people right now, they might not be in the mood to start shopping again right away.

We’re not suggesting you simply offer bigger and bigger sales throughout the year. You don’t want this strategy to lead to the downward spiral of discounting. Rather, focus on the stock you want to clear out anyway. Many department stores and big box retailers such as Walmart use this technique to move clearance and seasonal products.

You also may want to avoid a percent-off discount—especially if it’s not as large as the percent-off discount you offered during the holidays—and focus on a different kind of offer like free shipping or a special bonus with a purchase.

It’s also worth making your post-holiday sale an annual event. For example, if you always offer special discounts between January 1st and 15th, loyal customers will come to expect and prepare for the promotion. This can boost your post-holiday sales every year.

6. Tap into the post-holiday consumer mindset

Customers are often in a unique state of mind in the New Year—there’s a lot of focus on self-improvement, goals, and new possibilities. Keep this in mind as you create your remarketing and/or email campaigns.

A New Year's email campaign.

Lots of people will be looking for items that will help them achieve their resolutions and stay on track—and they’ll be willing to spend money to do so. This means products that help with organization, productivity, fitness, wellness, finances, career development, and other lifestyle niches will likely be popular.

Cross-selling is promoting related items to a customer’s purchase (or the items they’re currently considering purchasing). Cross-selling is a good way to bring someone back to your store after the holidays, especially if they bought products for themselves; you can draw them in with related items and accessories.

You can use email marketing or retargeting ads for your post-purchase cross-selling. For instance, you’ve probably seen (or sent) emails that feature products related to previous purchases:

A cross-sell email.

However, if you’re not currently doing any cross-selling on your site, adding it in can help boost your sales immediately as well. You can also offer add-ons during checkout, such as product warranties or protection plans, bonus services, and related items:

A cross-sell of a warranty.

WooCommerce enables you to add cross-sells (and upsells) to your product pages right out of the box. Simply scroll down to the Product data section of the editor and click on the Linked Products tab to add them:

Cross-selling in WooCommerce.

There are also extensions such as Cart Upsell for WooCommerce and Checkout Add-Ons, which can help you recommend products at other stages in the buying process.

Key takeaways

If you’re not proactive, it’s easy for your WooCommerce store to fall into a slump after the winter holidays are over. Fortunately, eCommerce remarketing is a tried and true strategy for converting leads into paying customers, and turning previous shoppers into repeat buyers.

With remarketing ads, you can target customers who showed interest in your products, whether that means browsing on your website, adding products to their cart, or making purchases in the past. You can then use Google and Facebook ads to promote targeted products to those customers to bring them back to your site.

There are also a number of other strategies you can use to boost your post-holiday sales.

  • Don’t slow down your marketing campaigns once the holidays end. It’s important to keep your brand front and center in customers’ minds so they don’t forget about you. 
  • Enhance your email marketing efforts. Apart from ads, email is the primary channel for remarketing and the best way to reach your customers.
  • Comb through your analytics and apply what you learn. Keep in mind that pre-holiday sales and conversions (which take place between Black Friday and Christmas) should be weighed differently.
  • Run special post-holiday sales. This will help you keep up with the competition, offload seasonal stock, and encourage sales from shoppers to buy even after they’ve already spent hundreds on gifts and other items.
  • Tap into the post-holiday consumer mindset. Shoppers have very specific things on their mind at the beginning of a new year. Help them achieve their goals and resolutions by putting the right products front and center.
  • Cross-sell related products. This classic remarketing technique will fit right into your email campaigns and checkout flow.

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