Five ways to prepare your online business for an eggs-quisite Easter
Holidays are ideal times to attract new customers and invite back old ones, and Easter is no exception. If you want to capitalise on this, now’s the time to start your Easter campaign and prepare your online business for the holiday rush.
Why should your online business get egg-cited about Easter?
Statistics show that online shopping in South Africa is increasing substantially every year. A total estimated spend in 2018 of R45.3 billion shows a 19% increase from 2017, with a further 36% increase forecasted by 2020. Clearly, South Africans are quickly waking up to the convenience of buying online.
If we break that down per month, the biggest percentage growth from 2017 to 2018 happened in March, the month in which Easter Friday fell.
Easter represents a lucrative opportunity for both B2C businesses and the B2B businesses that supply them. It’s easy to see how this applies if you sell products that are obviously linked to Easter, such as chocolate, sweets or other food or beverages. With some creative thinking/marketing though, you can promote many other products, from braai tongs or craft beer brewing sets to TVs or jungle gyms.
Five online business ideas to make this Easter eggs-tra special
1. Easter-ify your digital presence
Wherever you can (depending on your brand) use images and content that acknowledges the season and builds excitement. Seeing bunnies, eggs or references to chocolate creates a playful mood and also reminds customers that the holiday is fast approaching. All of these can be themed:
- Homepage: Theme your homepage and key website pages. Change the main banner to reflect your Easter theme, and consider highlighting special offers or delivery options there too. Create an ‘Easter shop’ in your menu to help shoppers quickly see what you offer, for example, gifts, chocolate eggs or food for entertaining (perhaps with Easter recipes).
- Social media: Change your social media page pictures to reflect your Easter theme.
- Blogs: Use Easter-themed blogging to attract visitors to your site. Without being too sales focused, provide them with valuable ideas, including some ways to use your products this Easter. For example:
- Best destinations for a family trip over the Easter weekend; or
- Arts and crafts ideas to keep young children busy over the holidays; or
- Ideas for unique home-made Easter baskets to show shoppers how they can put together their own collection of gifts while saving money on purchases.
- Ads and landing pages: Theme all your ads and create Easter landing pages for visitors clicking through to your site.
- SEO: Change SEO keywords to include “Easter” so people searching for items related to the holiday can easily find you on search engines.
Below is a good example of how a business selling a non-Easter product has ‘Easter-ified’ their site. Note the clear discounts, the free shipping message, the urgency created by highlighting the short duration of the sale, and the subtle design that gives an ‘Easter feel’ without being overwhelming.
Of course, if you are a chocolate or food brand, you can really go to town on making your site look and feel like Easter. In the example below, Thorntons has created a special Easter menu. They are also very clear about their delivery costs and the cut-off time for next day delivery, so no one gets disappointed.
2. Create special Easter offers to eggs-hilarate your online customers
Everyone likes to feel they’re getting more for their money, and special offers can persuade a customer to buy from your online business rather than your competitor’s. There are many ways to do this:
- A discount with a difference: This could go either way: either the customer gets bigger discounts closer to Easter or smaller ones. For example, you could give huge discounts 5 or 7 days before Easter and then decrease the discount each day until Easter. That way, the sooner you buy, the more you save, as per this Old Navy ad:
- Two for one: “Buy one, get one free (or for half-price)” specials always work well.
- Run an Easter Countdown promotion: Promote a different special offer for each day leading up to Easter, which encourages people to keep visiting your social media and/or e-commerce site. Or you could plan your campaign to create a sense of urgency, either making offers available for a limited time only or highlighting “While stocks last!”, so people buy early rather than later.
- Offering a free gift or service with a purchase: Psychologically, customers feel they get more value from freebies than from discounts. The free gift could be as small as a strip of Easter eggs, or you could offer free delivery for one specific day (note: free delivery really boosts conversions, while high delivery charges could leave you with abandoned carts). Offering the free gift or service over a specific value will encourage customers to spend more. Use the opportunity to get rid of old stock or showcase a new product by giving away a small sample.
- Promote Easter bundles: Save your customer time and money by bundling products that work well together. This should save customers from 7 to 15% on individual items purchased separately. A gift hamper might be made up of chocolate, hot cross buns and coffee, a variety of fluffy toys for kids or the components of an Easter egg painting kit. The key is to package it well in an attractive basket or box, so it looks beautiful, and then feature it on your home or “Easter Offers” page, as well as all your marketing channels.
If you are using discounting as a strategy, ensure you work out the optimal discount % so you don’t make a loss on that specific deal – unless you’ve decided it will be a loss leader to bring in extra customers over Easter.
3. Stage an egg-stravanganza on social media
Getting creative on social media over Easter can attract a lot of new customers. According to Facebook Insights, aiming your campaign at women and anyone between 18 and 34 will speak to the main players here. Try one of these:
- Promote an Easter sale: Use Easter-themed social media ads or sponsored posts to promote your special offers – starting well before Easter. If you also give people a reason to share it with their network, you’ll reach a whole new audience.
- Put together a virtual egg hunt: There are different ways of doing this, with the aim being to keep the game going as long as possible, while encouraging engagement and sharing. Some specific ideas:
- You could get visitors to complete a quiz by searching for eggs, with clues attached, on the pages of your site, or in product images, emails or even social media posts. Then the first “x” people to submit the correct answer win a prize, which should reward the effort required. So if it’s really difficult, you might select one winner who gets a huge prize.
- If you want to make ‘everyone a winner’, you could hide eggs that lead to landing pages with different discounts attached. “Winners” can then use the code they find there either online or in-store. Banana Republic and Topman used this method:
- Here’s another example of an Easter egg hunt:
- This Easter egg hunt by Blend Bubble Tea was promoted on Instagram. Liking the post a certain number of times then revealed the next step, keeping people interested and encouraging them to go back to the e-commerce site.
- Run an Easter contest on Instagram and Facebook: A contest is a great way to boost visits to your website and to build your followers and email list – and thus your database of future potential clients. Keep those goals in mind when using any of these ideas to build your campaign. You could get people to:
- Guess (a) how many chocolates are in the jar; or (b) the weight of the chocolate or (c) where the picture is taken. You could then give the item away for the first “x” right answers.
- Take a selfie with the Easter bunny in your store/s and post the photo with a caption. The audience votes on the best caption, encouraging entrants to share their photo and persuade their network to vote.
- Submit a video, story or comment about how they plan to use your products this Easter, with the audience again voting.
- Redesign your logo for Easter.
- Answer a quiz (perhaps linked to your Easter egg hunt) and then challenge friends to do better.
There are several online tools that you can use to design and manage your contest, for example, Wishpond.
4. Use email marketing to promote eggs-clusive ideas and offers
Your email list is gold when it comes to marketing any clever ideas you’ve come up with for your Easter campaign. You’ll be competing against many other emails, so do whatever you can to ensure the recipients will read and act on yours:
- Use an eye-catching subject line that grabs attention, relates to Easter and is clear and interesting. These examples of Easter-themed subject lines could help:
- Eggs-ceptional Easter Gift Ideas
- Hello from the Easter Bunny!
- Easter Specials – Just for You
- 25% Off Your Easter Basket
- The Easter Bunny Says “Thanks for Your Loyalty”
- Use GIFs to make your mail even more interesting.
- If you’re trying to create a sense of urgency, highlight the limited time frame or stock availability in your mail, so people feel they need to buy immediately.
- Personalise your mails by addressing the recipient directly – everyone loves to hear/see their name.
- Make any special deals clear early on in the mail, for example, discounts, vouchers or free shipping.
- Consider your timing carefully. If you’re introducing a new product for example, you may need to send several emails in the run-up to Easter, while special offers can be advertised on the day or the day before.
- Maintain your company branding throughout any creative campaigns. While Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs are fun, your customers should always remember who they’re buying from.
5. Run egg-cellent operations during Easter
Make sure that your marketing promise of delight and excitement is actually fulfilled during the customer experience, be that online, in-store or after sales. Consider these aspects:
- Website: Your online store should be designed to make it very easy for customers to buy from you and all your processes need to be working perfectly. For example, ensure your website speed is optimised , calls to action are clear, and all your products have images and detailed descriptions.
- Customer service:
- Clearly display your contact details and opening and closing times on your website and on social media.
- Make gifting easy by offering gift wrapping and the option to deliver directly to the recipient. Go the extra mile by including a little hand-written Happy Easter card.
- Highlight your last order date for delivery before Easter in all your communications. You might also offer alternative options, like paying extra for last-minute delivery, or allowing them to Click and Collect.
- Explain your return policy and processes on your website. This promotes trust and drives conversions.
- For perishables like food, consider sell-by and use-by dates when setting the delivery date, so your products will still be fresh when the customer is ready to serve them.
- Order in extra stock to cover all those new orders and make arrangements with your fulfilment service provider to get the larger volume of deliveries made in time.
The bottom line…
Easter is a lucrative opportunity to attract new and returning visitors to your online store and to boost your profits. Get into the spirit of things, and put together a basket of egg-citing strategies that suit the holiday mood and also work for your online business. Before you know it, business will be hopping!