How To Convert Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers (And End The Year Strong!)

by | Dec 15, 2021

Illustration of last minute holiday shopper buying a gift online

The gifting season is in full swing, and even though your sales may have peaked during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), there is a segment of opportunity you should target next – last-minute holiday shoppers

The 2021 Deloitte holiday retail survey reported that 15% of consumers expect to start their holiday shopping in December. Moreover, the annual survey of Canadian consumers by Accenture found that a whopping (47%) of respondents intend to do their holiday shopping at the last minute. It’s interesting to note why some holiday shoppers hold off purchasing gifts till December. A study found that some shoppers often lose track of time or struggle to find suitable gifts

As an eCommerce brand, strategizing how to convert these late shoppers should be on the top of your to-do list at this time of the year. Here are some of the best tips and actionable insights to help you convert last-minute holiday shoppers from leading eCommerce gurus and successful entrepreneurs.

Use ‘Ready to Ship’ and ‘Arrives Before Christmas’ as Marketing Strategies

One unique way to help attract last-minute shoppers is to promote products that are ready to ship immediately. While personalization and custom products can be really exciting, they take time to process and get ready to ship which can cause delays in getting them to customers in time to give for the holidays.


Instead, highlight products that can be shipped immediately, even same-day if possible. Eliminating the stress of whether or not gifts will arrive in time can make a big difference in helping customers make their purchase decisions.


  • Nathalie Walton, CEO and Co-Founder – Expectful

Unleash the Power of Brand Advocacy

We utilize our brand ambassador program to help promote our holiday sales. Typically an ambassador will receive a 10% commission on any orders they generate on our website but during this time, we offer them extra incentives for helping us promote our sales to their friends and followers. 


In the past, we’ve asked them to post to at least three different placements on social media such as Instagram feed, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat. In exchange, they not only receive a 10% commission on any direct sales they drive, but we also enter them to win a gift card giveaway or give them a 30% off coupon to use anytime in the following year. Typically we see a 20-30% boost in affiliate sales during the holidays when we run this campaign annually.


Create Product Bundles

Product bundling entails combining two (or more) separate products and selling them as a “bundle” for a single, usually discounted price. When you move from a single product discount to a reduced bundle, you’re giving the impression to the buyer that the bundle is cheaper than buying the products separately. You can do this with products that sell slowly or have higher-than-average profit margins, giving you some leeway to experiment with discounts and pricing. 


During the holiday season, we recommend checking out a few different bundles to discover which one works best for you! Customers can not only save money during the holidays, but you may also attract last-minute holiday shoppers seeking lower prices, package deals, and more.


Provide Top-Notch Customer Service

Having outstanding customer service can make a huge difference for last-minute shoppers during the holiday season. You want to help ensure they can get their questions answered quickly and accurately, while also offering recommendations for products that can be shipped in time for holiday gifting. Last-minute shopping can be stressful for people, so make sure you offer top-notch service to help ease the process for them!


Make the Most of Q5 in Ad Buys

Q5 is almost here. We’re quickly getting too close to Christmas to make the holiday shopping deadline for consumers, but no need to fear. Media prices will start to drop and retailers should be ready to make the most of the “fifth quarter” in their ad buys. If sitting on extra holiday inventory, discounts plus lower post-holiday media prices mean you can get product moving fast out of your warehouse.


Launch a Holiday Email Marketing Campaign for Last-Minute Shoppers

Email marketing is a powerful channel for engaging and drawing customers. A well-executed last-minute holiday shopping email campaign will make your brand stand out. I suggest tempting thrifty customers with an incredible offer that will prompt them to buy.


Employ subject lines that awaken a feeling of urgency, raise curiosity and compel people to read the email. Make sure your subject lines have been tested and are highly connected. Don’t forget to consider your discounts on these emails since these types of emails usually have high open and click-through rates.


Craft Unique Gift Guides 

Creating gift guides is an efficient way to capture last-minute holiday shoppers. Since most of these shoppers are often hurried and out of ideas, it is easy to get their attention by offering them inspiration for the gift they need. Create one from a collection of products that would make good gifts, and make sure you point out which are discounted or specially packaged if any.


Gift wrapping services will also attract last-minute shoppers. While many people dread wrapping gifts, these last-minute customers often don’t have the time or the supplies. Wrapping their presents at a fee or free of charge will attract them and even motivate them to do all their shopping with you. It also heightens the
chance of repeat business with them.


Optimize Your Website

Anticipate both traffic and order volume spikes during the final weeks of the season, and prepare your site and store accordingly. Any issues in web performance or page load speed can rapidly lead to lost sales, so consider scaling up infrastructure in the cloud—which is an elastic solution that can easily scale down in January. 


Elasticity is also crucial for your operational resources—like warehouse space and staff. If you perform fulfillment in-house, try outsourcing a portion of your holiday orders to a third-party fulfillment company. This enables you to focus on driving holiday sales without scaling up your operation—and being left with an excess in the post-holiday lull.


Ramp Up Your Ad Spend

‘Tis the season for giving and spending! Your competitors are ramping up their advertising over the holidays, and so should you. While your end-of-the-year marketing budget may be getting tight, minimizing your ad spend won’t produce worthwhile results. So, increase your budget and expect costs per result to be higher. After all, you’ve got to spend money, to make money this holiday season.


  • Jason Sherman, Founder – TapRm

Explore eCommerce Automation

Ecommerce requires a lot of time, effort, and resources. With competition stiffening by the minute, there’s simply no way to do it all effectively and grow. That’s why the most successful eCommerce businesses choose automation.


Ecommerce automation allows merchants to stop doing mundane repetitive tasks and focus on driving revenue. Inventory management, shipping labeling, transactional emails, and more – all of that can be easily automated.

With the right platform, eCommerce merchants can manage it all in one place, see the real impact of their efforts with advanced analytics, and grow exponentially.


  • Maria Vasserman, Marketing Communications Specialist – Maropost

Understand and Leverage Marketing Trends 

Marketers need to take into account the trend of “forecasting fatigue” where consumers are so overloaded with marketing messages that they tune them out. Consumers are increasingly interested in experiences rather than material goods. To make a successful marketing campaign for last-minute holiday shoppers, marketers should create new experiences.


In that same vein, the trend of “algorithmic branding” is taking off where computers are used to analyze consumers’ shopping behavior and then use this information to influence their preferences. In the near future, brands will be able to predict consumer intent and increase revenue by delivering highly personalized offers based on these predictions.


Lastly,  the trend of “retailer-as-a-platform” will become more common where retailers partner with other brands to create a one-stop-shop for all holiday shopping. These types of partnerships can help marketers grow their customer database, increase revenues, and make the most of limited resources.


  • Kevin Miler, Co-Founder and CEO – GR0

Bonus Tip: Turn Seasonal Buyers Into Loyal Customers

Firstly, create personalized deals for last-minute shoppers who already know what they want to buy; use customer data to create attractive deals and make sure that key product information is surfaced clearly for your time-short customers. For customers you haven’t seen in a while, try offering the same or similar deal as last year; this is a key opportunity to generate brand loyalty, and your customers will be more appreciative of relevant, convenient information when time is of the essence.


Next, look at your top-selling products and focus your attention on these; which products should you create promotions on; which products sell well together – why not create a bundle? It’s not just a case of pouring more and more money into advertising this season. Yes, the marketplace will become more competitive, but if you use your data to truly understand your customers, and calculate your breakeven ACoS – at a customer level –  then suddenly you can become much smarter with your ad spend, knowing that these last-minute shoppers are likely to be back to purchase again in future.


Critically, the key is to not think too short-term. Whilst it’s tempting to try and maximize sales and profits by tapping into an impulse-purchase mentality during this season, remember that each interaction with a customer is an opportunity to create loyalty for your brand and keep them coming back time & time again, ultimately creating bigger growth opportunities for you. Make sure that you have customer retention in mind when trying to attract new customers, whether that’s offering follow-up offers, or maybe adding a little ‘delight’ with first-purchase freebies. 


  •  Laura North, Growth Manager – Nozzle 

by | Dec 15, 2021