What E-Commerce Brands Can Learn From Amazon For Holiday Season Domination

Santa won’t be the only jolly one this holiday season; e-commerce retailers should expect to see double-digit sales growth during November and December. A survey from Deloitte found that 55% of respondents plan to shop online for gifts this year, surpassing in-store as the preferred method of holiday shopping for the first time ever. 

E-commerce behemoth Amazon will undoubtedly take a large slice of the pie as shoppers seek to avoid the in-store frenzy. However, other brands can also drive holiday revenue with consumer-centric digital advertising tactics. 

Here are some last-minute tips for brands to strengthen their online holiday strategy with programmatic advertising, based off a few of Amazon’s strengths.

1. Maximize sales with custom-tailored recommendations and priority product scoring

Amazon’s recommendation engine shows product suggestions based off what others who viewed the same items also purchased or viewed, as well as the shopper’s individual interests and past purchases. It’s estimated that 35% of the company’s sales come from these suggestions.



Retailers don’t need to have Amazon’s scale or their own recommendation engine to benefit from product recommendations. With programmatic advertising, brands can use dynamic creatives to deliver personalized product recommendations directly to each shopper. Dynamic creatives are banners that are custom-tailored to each individual based off their personal shopping habits. A dynamic creative can feature a product carousel with a set of recommendations that vary significantly from person to person, depending on what they previously purchased or viewed.

There’s also priority product scoring, which enables brands to choose which products they’d like to feature within their dynamic creatives, based on margin, availability or delivery time. Scoring products by availability, for example, ensures that the promoted item is in stock and ready to be shipped in time for gift giving. This is also a smart feature if a brand has holiday-specific items that they want to promote heavily during a limited window.

2. Reduce shopping cart abandonment with personalized product reminders

Amazon’s easy-to-navigate interface allows shoppers to find products in minutes, and its 1-Click feature permits existing customers to instantly purchase those items without having to re-enter shipping information. This tactic has drastically lowered its cart abandonment rate. Meanwhile, for many other brands the average cart abandonment rate stands at about 70%.

In addition to an auto-purchase feature, brands can also reduce cart abandonment rate by serving personalized ads featuring forgotten items to entice shoppers to complete their purchase. To take this one step further, brands should employ a cross-device strategy so that if an individual adds an item to their cart from their desktop, for example, they’ll be reminded about it on their phone. 

Currently, U.S. consumers spend roughly four to five hours a day on their mobile devices. While mobile was previously more of a browsing medium, that trend is shifting: Deloitte reports that the probability of converting someone from a mobile browser to a mobile purchaser is now at 59%, a 16% year-over-year increase, so it’s essential for brands to ensure that their personalized ads are seen across all devices.

3. Increase likelihood to purchase with free shipping offers

Offering free shipping on orders of at least $25 has greatly helped Amazon’s bottom line. Overall, consumers place a high priority on free holiday shipping that marketers cannot dismiss. Deloitte notes that 72% of people plan to take advantage of free shipping this season, and 88% find free shipping to be more attractive than fast shipping.

If a brand offers free shipping, it should maximize its visibility for the holiday season by adding the “Free Shipping” messaging to its creatives. It should also ensure that any shipping offers go out to consumers well in advance of its last ship dates to maintain/increase strong customer satisfaction.

With online becoming the preferred method of holiday shopping, it’s important to reach customers with personalized recommendations and enticing offers to make the biggest impact. A few tweaks to your campaigns can set your brand up for success this holiday season.

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