Our very own Head of Growth – Chris Ogle, did the rounds with some leaders in the Ecom space to find out what has changed since 2022 and how they have planned for their own Christmas campaigns for 2023.
Sue Balfour, owner of craft specialist Katy Sue Designs has gone for long-term planning ahead of Christmas, as well as targeting a new audience.
“Christmas starts at Katy Sue in July, and this year, we boldly escalated our production early, resulting in an impressive stock availability that allowed us to quickly capitalize on stronger-than-expected demand. Remarkably, we produced five times more than initially anticipated for certain lines!
We refined our advertising strategy, shifting our focus to phased Meta ads that specifically targeted new customer acquisition, marking a shift from our traditional, interest-based approach. This was complemented by a follow-up campaign a month later, utilising our Klaviyo lists to re-engage with those who had shown interest but had not yet purchased our fastest-selling products. This dual approach enabled a more efficient use of our budget, ensuring that we not only captured the attention of potential new customers but also rekindled interest among those who may have initially missed our latest offerings.
Another critical aspect of our e-commerce strategy was maintaining a robust Google brand campaign to counteract the sale of counterfeit silicone moulds. Our vigilance in this area not only protected our brand integrity but also demonstrated the vital role of such campaigns in bolstering overall Shopify sales.
Finally, I must highlight the phenomenal success we experienced on Amazon UK, where our Amazon Manager Helen has taken astute decisions on stock and forecasting led to a staggering 62% growth. This achievement underscores the delicate yet crucial balance in e-commerce between product quality, pricing strategy, availability, and visibility”.
Paul Gleave from knitwear specialist Edinburgh Woollen Mill has also noticed the trend in earlier planning.
“We’ve had a great Sept/Oct that we’ve brought Christmas online and in-store the earliest ever. Not just us but noticing a few other retailers have done the same. Another new for us this year is we’ve never had to bring additional stock just for the web to cover our Black Friday promotion. 2022 was our best ever year online and so far this year we are 8% up on last year so the web is really a major growth area for us.”
The early planning trend continues with Josh Piercy from Tii Brands, representing prominent homeware and lifestyle brands. Josh talks to us about the increased focus on his affiliate network.
“Christmas 2022 for our business, (and I am sure many other retailers) broke a multiyear streak of strong sales and early sell-outs. Sales were in a post-Covid slump, and the emergence of the energy cost crisis, interest rate hikes and something to do with a lettuce made things worse.
This year, whilst consumer spending has been more robust than we expected, our approach for Christmas has been much more comprehensive and aggressive than previous years. For example, we started our campaigns earlier, pushed our budgets up, and set ROAS Targets lower. We’re running more deals on Amazon. We’ve pushed up CPA rates for affiliates. Basically, across all channels available to us we’ve got the pedal down hard and won’t be easing off until we feel confident we’ll hit our sales targets. The early signs are good, and we’re excited to see what the next few weeks bring.”
Rob Owlett has learned from the previous few Christmases and goes heavy on creative for 2023 with kids’ toys discount specialist, Poundfun. Rob says –
“As a very new eCommerce brand of only 17 weeks old, we have taken a very broad approach to our Christmas marketing campaigns this year at PoundFun, spreading ourselves super thin to reach as many audiences as possible through Paid Search, Paid Social, SEO and affiliate.
The 2 main differences this year have been across Affiliate and Paid Social.
Affiliate – We have gone incredibly aggressive with tenancy spend, allowing us to partner with big social affiliates to reach their audiences. This can be done with lots of bite-sized spending across a wide range of partners. In turn, they post to their big audiences for an upfront fee and commissions. This also adds a lot to brand value (for a new company) as their audiences already have a relationship with those affiliates and trust the content they are posting.
Paid Social – Our main difference in approach is around the clever content we are creating. Using influencers or CGC (customer-generated content) in our ads.
People buy from people!
90% of our budget on TikTok and META is pumped into UGC-style ads, which has allowed us to achieve pre-iOS numbers in our return on investment. Our partners at CB Social have helped us create unbelievable content which is hitting a minimum 9X ROI across all social ads, allowing us to reinvest heavily in Paid Social ads.”
How do things change when moving from a new challenger brand to a household name? Katie Lindop from Morphy Richards offers her viewpoint.
“This year will be a completely new experience for us as the Morphy Richards brand – after recently acquiring the license, we are trying to rebuild and re-amplify our products across multiple avenues. Typically, we would accelerate advertising this time of year, increasing £ on PPC, offsite ads and email marketing. However, by collaborating more with influencers across multiple e-commerce sites, we’ve already seen some incredible viral videos which have certainly accelerated our sales in preparation for the Christmas season.”
Finally, not every brand has to use Christmas as an artificial springboard. Philly Blackett from Glasses Direct talks about using this time of year to build for 2024.
“December is usually our quietest month at Glasses Direct with a lower activity level compared to “Black Month” and January. We’ll be focusing more on editorial features such as age-style edits, staff edits tied in with Christmas traditions across the world, and Christmas party-related content, rather than the hard sell as customers will be fatigued from BFCM. We’ll also have some festive giveaways which will be tied to our organic social activities. Towards the end of the month, we will then gear up with more promotional campaigns.“
Whatever your plans for 2023 Christmas and beyond, we at MIRA would like to wish you all the best for the festive season, 2024, and beyond.