Every quarter of the calendar year is important but Q4 takes on a special significance for businesses, because of the pressure to meet, or exceed, annual targets.
As we move into this phase of the year, many brands will be wondering what they should be implementing if they want to end the year in a strong and successful place. This is especially the case for those looking to eventually sell their business.
At BRANDED our experts are constantly looking ahead to what is on the horizon for brands, to help those that work with us plan and prepare for success.
With this in mind, we have pulled together the strongest insights into what to anticipate for the next few months, as we gear up to the Christmas period and new year ahead.
Having founded, scaled, and sold some of the world’s most beloved e-commerce brands we’d love to offer some advice on how to go into Q4 feeling strong, with the ultimate aim of growing your business.
Make Sure You’re Well Prepared for the Big Calendar Events
For e-commerce businesses, the last section of the year provides plenty of opportunity for sales, as well as a lot of competition from other brands.
With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas period coming up, it’s crucial for businesses to capitalize on the opportunities that these key points in the calendar year offer, as well as be aware of any potential pitfalls.
Many customers fall into the category of last-minute shoppers, rushing to the store on Christmas Eve to get their presents or ordering online at the last possible moment. However, don’t neglect your more organized customers who will be planning well in advance for the holiday season.
Capture the Early Birds
With these customers in mind, you should be communicating about your upcoming deals as soon as possible. This will help encourage them to maximize their Christmas spend with you. Use your branding and social channels to create anticipation for what you have coming up, utilizing countdowns, previews, and even competitions to get front of mind with them.
A strong December is especially important if you are looking to sell your business as potential buyers will be looking at your current and full year performance. Prepare your marketing calendar in advance to minimize the risk of a slow holiday month!
Convince the Indecisive Shoppers
And don’t forget your more indecisive customers. Stats show that Black Friday and Cyber Monday cart abandonment rate is 78% globally. Utilizing cart abandonment emails and tailored ads can help with this, so you should bear them in mind.
To avoid damage to your brand, it’s also key to look at star ratings and to only push the products which already have a rating of 3.5 or better, with at least 15 good reviews.
It can be beneficial to revisit past Christmas, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday campaigns to ensure your approach is informed by what has worked well previously. Which categories, social posts, and ads have performed best? What has led to the greatest number of sales? And what have been the weaker campaigns and tactics?
Look to the past in order to learn valuable lessons for the future, whilst also remembering what may have been true last year, may not be so today. Being reflective will assist in growing revenue, putting you in a prime position when it comes to selling your website.
Lastly, don’t forget to use the magic words and make sure you’re specifically mentioning Black Friday, Christmas, and the like in your marketing materials and outreach, as customers will be specifically on the lookout for deals associated with these key dates. The same goes for any PR pushes you have planned – linking your outreach to key points in the calendar will guarantee journalists know your story is timely.
Jump on 2023 Trends Now
The last quarter of the year is the perfect time to take stock of what is going well in your business, as well as where you could be pushing the button more, taking more risks, and staying current. Consider how to increase business growth and the steps required to get there.
AI – The Power of Technology
If you want to get ahead of your competitors, we recommend introducing more of-the-moment tactics such as AI to stay relevant. According to Statista, in 2021, the market for artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing was estimated at 15.84 billion U.S. dollars and that figure is set to increase to 107.5 billion by 2028. Machine learning, for example, can help find hidden patterns in data to inform marketing decisions. This makes it a shrewd business investment as it can revolutionize the way you do business.
It’s easy for customers to be put off by long waiting times when being kept on hold or not getting speedy responses from complaints or queries emails. And once you’ve lost them, you’ve lost them. Implementing this technology in the form of chatbots can save you time and overhead costs, as well as create a more personalized and seamless experience for your clients.
But be sure to remember that when used poorly, chatbots can frustrate as well as assist. Nobody wants to be stuck in a circular conversation with a robot who doesn’t understand what you’re trying to explain. Always make sure that queries beyond the scope of your chatbot’s skills are directed to a real person, who can help assist with more complex interactions.
The Rise of Video
Another wise marketing choice would be exploring your use of video. With the rising relevance of TikTok, as well as Instagram moving towards becoming a video-only platform, it’s sensible to contemplate whether this tactic is taking a prominent enough role within your marketing and branding strategies.
A recent study by Tubular Labs showed that 68% of consumers prefer watching videos to learn about new products or services, making it the preferred medium over text-based articles, infographics, presentations, and eBooks.
However, the fact other brands are catching on to this means increased competition for your audience’s attention, so it’s vital to create truly engaging video content, rather than churning out material simply because it is the trend du jour. Always remember: quality over quantity.
When devising your video implementation strategy, tailor your content by channel. Videos that are stylish, slick, and aspirational will fit better on Instagram, whereas if you are posting to TikTok you will want to create something more rough and ready. On Facebook, it would be valuable to consider creating live video events, which are often prioritized by social media algorithms.
With the creation of all your social video content, remember that captions are also key. A large percentage of social media users scroll through these platforms with the sound off, so if you don’t want to lose their attention, meaning creating content they can consume easily in public is essential.
Other rising trends include the use of influencers, which we’ll have a new blog post coming out about soon, so stay tuned for top tips and advice about how to successfully work with them to amplify your brand.
Get Your Supply Chain in Order
It’s been a tough few years for the global supply chain. The pandemic and world events such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine have brought a huge host of issues for those working in the e-commerce world.
We’d love to give you the positive news that things are set to improve in the last quarter of the year but unfortunately, the latest insight on the matter suggests this won’t be happening so short term.
With this in mind, it is a good business investment for online brands to plan carefully to avoid customers being left waiting for products. Even just one incidence of delayed shipping or problems with delivery can cause you to lose your customer. And being left on Christmas morning with no present for the family is enough to put someone off shopping with you for life. They won’t remember the wider global context, only the disappointed look on their family’s faces as they sat around the tree!
Start planning for the influx of sales from a logistical perspective too, as preparation here is key. When it comes to the major selling dates of the year, you’ll only want to be pushing products you know you are already in a strong position to deliver. Prioritize those that are easy to restock and already available in sufficient qualities.
The end of the year is also an important time to think about what efficiencies you can bring to this process moving into 2023. Could you look to source product manufacturers closer to home? Have you got a single sourcing strategy or could you identify alternative options, should something fall through with your ordinary suppliers? And are you taking advantage of a 3PL to help you with your logistics and supply chain management?
Set aside time to consider where you could make changes, in order to check you’re operating at full efficiency in 2023. This will be particularly useful when preparing a website for selling.
Want More Advice from BRANDED?
If you’re interested in finding out more ways you can optimize your business in the fourth quarter of the year and prepare yourself for the year ahead, please get in touch and speak to us. BRANDED can provide a free valuation and our expert advice on increasing business growth, with a view to selling your e-commerce business.