Retailers' Post-Holiday PLAN OF ACTION

By Allison Howen, Associate Editor

Most merchants spend the better half of a year planning for the holidays - preparing their inventory and putting together marketing campaigns that will help them maximize profits during the busy months of November and December.

Once the holiday rush dies down, however, it is not uncommon for merchants to struggle to meet online sales goals. Fortunately, this can be prevented with the right post-holiday plan of action (POA). Discover five approaches that can help ecommerce merchants stabilize sales into the New Year.

1. Offer Bounce-Back Coupons

To turn holiday shoppers into repeat customers, merchants should email bounce-back coupons (such as 20 percent off) to consumers that made purchases in November and December. The goal of these coupons is to turn holiday shoppers into repeat customers. It's a good idea to send these coupons twice during Christmas week, such as on Dec. 20 and 26, as a way to entice customers to shop for the "gifts that Santa didn't bring" - while emphasizing that the coupons are valid for a limited time, such as Dec. 26-30. By doing so, consumers will feel a sense of urgency and be more likely to convert.

2. Switch Up Ad Campaigns

Not only is it important for merchants to remember to turn off (or turn down) their holiday advertising campaigns, but it's also important to replace these campaigns with new promotions. Retargeting, for example, enables merchants to serve relevant offers to customers who have already shown interest in a product but didn't buy.

Fast, Visual, Mobile

Check out this infographic on a recent survey about the future of ecommerce at 3. Be Social

Ecommerce merchants may be putting in more hours during the holiday season, but that is not the case for all professionals. Many people take off work during the holidays to spend time with their families. While these people are away from the office it is likely that they will be checking in with their favorite social networks throughout the day - making social one of the best marketing channels for reaching consumers post holidays. One way to cut through the social noise and entice social consumers to convert is by posting videos on the different networks, such as showing actual customers using products.

Discover three additional ways brands can make their promotional posts stand out in the social newsfeeds at

4. Consider Daily Deals

Although daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial have faded somewhat in popularity over the last five years, they are still a good option for merchants who are trying to drive website traffic, obtain new customers and push stagnant inventory. Recently, Groupon made it easier for merchants to promote daily deals on its platform with the launch of its self-service Deal Builder tool. In fact, Deal Builder has enabled Groupon to significantly expand the number of merchants with whom the company works with.

Learn more about the DIY tool at

5. Accept Gift Cards

Gift cards are among the top gifts given during the holidays, which means that merchants should equip their websites with the ability to both sell and redeem this currency in order to amplify their holiday and post-holiday sales. Fortunately, some of the Web's most popular ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify, already offer gift-card functionality or extensions to merchants. When available, retailers should leverage this option and promote the sale of gift cards on their websites, especially because e-gift cards are a good last-minute gifting option as they are immediately sent to the recipient's inbox. After the holidays, merchants can create an email campaign with the subject line, "Avoid long lines & spend your gift cards online" to drive gift card spending on their sites.

Prepare for 2015

Perhaps the most important thing merchants can do once the holiday rush dies down is dive into their analytics. In doing so, merchants can identify 2014's most successful and unsuccessful merchandise and marketing campaigns, which gives them a head start on preparations for the 2015 holiday season.