You have most likely just completed your post-feedback for Black Friday/Cyber Monday and currently in the midst of rolling out your Christmas campaigns. The people of the internet have donned their Christmas sweaters and are ready to shop.

Online Christmas spending has increased year on year, with online purchases making up for £24 billion in the UK alone during 2015. According to Statista in 2016, holiday season retail e-commerce revenues are projected to amount to 94.71 billion U.S. dollars, a 17.2 percent increase from the previous year.

You do not want to miss promotional opportunities, sales or revenue.

We take a look at a few expert tips which will help you succeed:

Split Testing vs Multi-Armed Bandit Test

By the time you’ve completed split-testing, your winning options will no longer be relevant as Christmas will be over. Try using multi-armed bandit testing over this period.

The  name “multi-armed bandit” describes a hypothetical experiment where you have many slot machines (“one-armed bandits”) with potentially varying opportunities for payouts. The end goal is to find the best most profitable slot machine.  It is used for real-time shifting of traffic towards  winning combinations.

Here is an example of utilizing a multi-armed bandit method:

1. Divide 20% of your tokens equally between all of the slot machines.

2. Take the remaining 80% and at the same time as playing the machine above, divide these tokens into the machine that rewards the most. If the first pays out better, play that machine. All the time-being continuously playing the remaining machines until a new machine pays out better.

By utilizing a multi-armed bandit approach you will reduce your loss in conversions due to poorly performing versions.

Play the role of Santa

Giving away gifts or running a competition can be a low cost way to create special moments with shoppers. Take a look at the below infographic which highlights the best giveaways and contests over holiday season.

If you think giving away gifts won’t give you return on investment, here are a few facts to say otherwise:

  • Brands that host contests see 66% increase in contest submissions during the holidays
  • Fill-in-the-blank status updates receive 183% more engagement than other kinds of status updates.
  • Businesses that host apps see a 47% growth in app views during the holidays.

Reach out to influencers

Working with Bloggers, Instagrammers and Youtubers is a great way to reach untapped audiences. Online searches for gift ideas soar from late November onwards. Find influencers who can create fun and engaging good quality content to collaborate with.

User generated content (UCG) on Instagram has the best impact on customer buyer behaviour with apparel leading the way at 6.4x, followed by jewelry at 2.4x, footwear at 1.7x, beauty at 1.6x, and consumer electronics at 1.6x


Your customers are also your influencers, reach out to them and ask them to share their holiday purchases using a specific hashtag. Include a competition to increase reach.

With the rise of video being consumed online, Vloggers are becoming increasingly important to swaying the consumers decision making process. Here are a few interesting stats:

  • 80% of shoppers watched product reviews and ratings
  • 68% of shoppers preferred product videos from ‘people like me’
  • 57% increase in ‘unboxing’ video views since last year
  • 1.1 billion views of video last year with the word ‘haul’ in the title
  • 1.7x more views of ‘haul’ videos have occurred on YouTube in the last year


Don’t be a Scrooge

Take a good look at your online presence. Does it look like a winter wonderland or just “business as usual”? You want your customers to have a memorable experience when visiting your homepage.

The People have very subtly included festive images, without changing the site design or layout.


Sephora have cleverly created a holiday themed campaign for a ‘deluxe sample’. With 25 days leading up to Christmas, each day giving away a deluxe sample with every purchase over $25.


IronMan created a unique holiday gift guide.


Do not forget mobile-first. Consumers are increasingly shopping and purchasing directly using their mobile phones. Make sure your mobile design layout is top notch. In 2014, mobile retail sales in November and December amounted to 7.98 billion U.S. dollars. Sales in 2015 surpassed 12.65 billion U.S. dollars, representing a 59 percent year-on-year growth. No doubt 2016 will be even higher growth with shopping on mobile.

Invoke emotion

The holiday season is a time of memories, hopes and dreams. Tell a heart-warming story and you’re more likely to make connections with people that would seem inappropriate at any other time of the year.

Here are a few already successful emotion-driven campaigns for 2016 holiday season:

Released only a short while ago, John Lewis holiday advert has since gone viral. With over 12 million views and counting, what is not to love about this video.

Followed closely by M&S (Marks & Spencer) store in the UK, recently launched their own official Christmas advert. Sitting on 7 million views, this one is a real heart-warmer.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest fashion e-commerce success stories from 2015 for inspiration.

Not on the high street

We know that consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to buy, but what about those traditional folk who actually prefer to browse the high street. How can e-commerce brands reach them? Last year UK based online gift store, Not on the High Street did just that when they surprised last minute shoppers by placing themselves on the high street in two prime London locations.

Harnessing the power of Twitter, the brand placed Gift-O-Matic vending machines packed with unique Christmas gifts at Waterloo and Paddington train stations. Curious commuters were instructed to tweet the brand along with their location and a hashtag that describes their chosen gift recipient and the Gift-O-Matic would then release a relevant gift.

Pass the Parcel

Marks and Spencer has found repeated success in their annual ‘Pass the Parcel’ Christmas Facebook giveaway. It works exactly like the game you played at Birthday parties as a child. Using the app, players click the onscreen parcel and a layer is torn away revealing whether the user won a prize or is eligible for another turn. Users can share the app with friends for extra entries, further expanding the potential for interaction and sales.

In 2015 there was a generous prize pool of 200,000 gifts ranging from large items like £500 gift cards to smaller items like their Percy the Pig candies and chocolate coins.

The results were hugely successful resulting in over 15k additional customers visiting stores to collect prizes and 5.8 million visitors to the app.

Invoking emotion

UK high street department store John Lewis saw a boost in online sales last year, with 4 in 10 transactions being completed via their website and 1 in 4 via mobile achieving £951.3m gross sales.

In recent years the john Lewis Christmas ad has become somewhat of a tradition. TV viewers eagerly await the ad’s that go viral upon release. 2015’s ad was no different and was undoubtedly a driving force behind the brand’s success. Their head of marketing, Rachael Swift reported that the store’s TV campaigns give their most profitable ROI.

The 2015 campaign saw John Lewis partnering with Age UK in a campaign that tugged on the heartstrings of the nation whilst raising awareness for the elderly at Christmas.

Competing with the big players mentioned above can be tough, but we can learn from their successes. Focus on the things makes your brand unique. Get creative with your approach, spread the news of your campaign via relevant influencers, brands or team up with charities and this could just be the Christmas your business has always dreamed of.

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