How to Capitalize on Last Minute E-Commerce Holiday Shoppers

How to Capitalize on Last Minute E-Commerce Holiday Shoppers

The big Q4: the quarter that can make or break many e-commerce businesses. For a savvy business, the end of the year can be a big boon putting you squarely in the black.

While many aspire to check off their holiday gift lists by the arbitrary December first cut-off, the reality is that a large portion of us will shop online a week or a few days before the holiday. The great thing about these shoppers is that they are a captured audience since they don't have time to wait for a sale. As a result, they have to move now to have their gifts delivered on time.

The following tips will help you maximize this special season:

Curate Gift Ideas

A last-minute shopper is a shopper with little time. They do not want to wade through thousands of products. The quandary of choice can overwhelm and they are on your page for a mission, to bring joy to the gift receiver, and preferably to make it appear as if they put a good deal of thought into the gift.

Make it easy for them to convert. Create sections based on relationship to the gift giver — Gifts for your Mom, Gifts for your Boss, Gifts for your Girlfriend — or by interest — Gifts for the Spa Lover, Boozy Gifts, Gifts Under $25. Online shoppers love a seamless process and it’s easier for them to find an alternative to your product than if they were physically at a brick and mortar store, so make their experience painless and quick.

Post the Last Day for Guaranteed Delivery

Research shows that deadlines motivate people. Whether it's a presentation due tomorrow or a shipping deadline for Christmas, it's hardwired into our psychology to beat the clock. The bonus for consumers is it gives them peace of mind knowing they will have their gifts on time.

If you work in a saturated market, consider using shipping as an incentive with shipping promotions. Offering free shipping or free upgrades, for instance, an upgrade to express shipping for the price of standard shipping could seal the deal for shoppers comparing various e-commerce stores.

Show Real Customers Using Your Products

Love it or hate it, unutilized social media presents a missed opportunity. When a shopper cannot physically hold an item to feel the texture, it's harder for them to connect emotionally. Launch a hashtag campaign or simply offer a coupon to get previous shoppers excited about your product and use that content to populate your product page.  

Smart online shoppers are not dazzled by your studio photography — they want to know how a product will function in real life.

Simplify Your Website Design

Based on the same principle of curating gift ideas for shoppers, simplify your website design to make the entire process easier for consumers. Keep in mind that 66% of consumers are likely to stop spending money with a company as a result of a bad user experience.

Ensure your homepage makes it simple to locate products. If you have a product listing with multiple departments, have each department easily accessible from the homepage.

The three most important informational aspects for a product page are a picture of the product, the price and the dimensions. Feel free to add real customer photos, identifying text or additional information, but make sure the big three are easily visible.

A simple banner to add festiveness to your site is enough. Holiday music, an elf mouse cursor or a pop-up video are generally in the overkill territory. Not only are they distracting, but they will also take your page longer to load. A slow loading page is enough to lose a conversion.

Offer Gift Cards

The stigma is that gift cards are impersonal, but there will always be acquaintances, coworkers or that one family member that shoppers need to find a gift for, and they’ll want to go the safe route.

The wonderful consequence of gift cards is you have a guaranteed return customer who could not spend the entire gift card, in which case you make a profit without giving away inventory, or their total will be greater than the gift card amount, and your sales will increase. Both outcomes will benefit your bottom line.

Email Campaign

Remind customers you are here. For any given interest there are hundreds, even thousands of e-commerce sites to compete with and the majority of them are running email campaigns. Do not rely on brand loyalty to lull a previous shopper back. The holidays are hectic, a simple ad displaying your holiday gift ideas or a small promotional coupon will instantly drive traffic to your site. Just be careful with quantity, since sending promotional emails too often can put you on a customer’s spam list.

Businesses can cater to last-minute E-commerce holiday shoppers with effectiveness from the tips above, helping appeal to the last-minute mentality while promoting the holiday season in a way everyone can appreciate.


Nathan Sykes is a business and technology writer and founder of Finding an Outlet. When he’s not overthinking how IoT and big data will impact our lives, he can be found enjoying sushi and beer in Pittsburgh.