Holiday PPC Written by 0

When it comes to delivery dates and online conversions, the holidays can teach online retailers and PPC users a thing or two. Except for the major e-tailers like Amazon, many companies have to identify a particular date when orders need to be placed in order to guarantee delivery.

This cut-off date is never more critical than during the holidays, but of course you and your customers will want deliveries to arrive on time for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and the like. Delivery options really do make a difference in online sales, depending on the account.

When it comes to the arena of e-tail and retail, every sale counts. Consider a company that requires orders to be placed seven business days in advance if it’s going to be able to guarantee delivery at the “normal” charge.

Express delivery is usually an option, but that can come at a premium customers don’t care to pay. In 2014, a relatively “short” cut-off date of December 17 for Christmas led to just 0.5 percent conversion rates during the weekend before Christmas, according to Search Engine Land.

Click and collect

“Click and collect,” also known as “store pickup,” has been reported by The Telegraph as a popular option during busy shopping periods. It’s just what it sounds like: Customers may place an order online, then pick up the goods at a local store.

But this approach is not part of PPC tracking, since the sales are technically made “in store” (that’s where the customer journey ends). Retailers hope this lack of multi-channel tracking will improve in 2015, especially as people come to understand the upside of tracking conversions offline. Their PPC sales might be stronger than they think.

The good news is that Google Analytics is on top of click and collect information, and so far the numbers are impressive. But not even Google can track users who “collect” items in a virtual shopping cart, then both pay and pick up in-store.

However, Google did manage to find that conversion rates with click and collect were at an all-time high around Christmas in 2014 (which should be no surprise).

That holiday rush

When there’s a deadline looming for something as big as Christmas, PPC activity will heavily advertise that final standard delivery date.

This of course leads to higher conversion rates at the specific cut-off date. Then we shift into higher postage rate dates (many PPC retailers gave December 22 as their final date for express delivery).

On December 23, there was a steep dip in conversion rates. However, in areas where there were a lot of brick-and-mortar shops, click and collect could have allowed everyone to avoid this stumble.

Obviously, click and collect should be a priority for retailers in 2015, and there’s plenty of time before the next holiday season to get everything aligned. The good news is that The Guardian reports click and collect is slated to shoot up 82 percent by the time 2019 rolls around, which means time is on your side.

If you really want to win over customers (and conversions) with PPC, offering a 90-minute delivery to local shoppers during peak days such as Christmas Eve may do the trick.

Hacking it during the holidays

Another way to increase conversions is by offering a larger free/standard delivery timeframe. Overall, this has a positive impact on conversions. Run some comparison charts to see if covering these costs would be worth the revenue increase.

Also, make sure those delivery options are clearly advertised because they can have a big impact on conversion rates.

Finally, a lot of people are wondering if they should turn “off” their AdWords the day after delivery during the holidays has come and gone. This will depend on your business model, your goods, and your customers.

If there’s a chance your products might be purchased in post-seasonal activity, then turning off those holiday-geared AdWords is probably wise (and you can switch back to standard ads). There’s no point in wasting clicks, and you have a brand-new year to focus on.

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