3 Advanced Conversion Tips We Learned from the 2014 Holiday Season

by Neil Patel

Last updated on December 29th, 2017

Everyone knows that the holiday season is the busiest ecommerce time of the year. Beginning on Black Friday, running through Cyber Monday, and hurtling to the final days of December, shoppers eagerly snatch up merchandise online.

Many retailers depend heavily on the holiday season for the revenue that will take them through much of the year. Some ecommerce sites earn as much as 40% of their annual revenue during the final two months of the year.

This past season marked the biggest online shopping date in the history of the world. Never before have retailers profited as much—and consumers spent so much.

It’s hard to pay attention during the frenzied rush of holiday shopping. Just in case you were a little bit busy, we pulled together some of the most critical lessons that we learned.

Keep in mind that it’s a buyer’s market, and those buyers can and will reject you if you don’t meet their expectations on shipping charges, delivery times, customization options, and just about any other detail that concerns them.

What are the conversion tips that will put you on top? As research demonstrates, there are specific trends that bubbled to the top this year. You can put these advanced conversion tips to practice in the coming year and powerfully advance your conversion rates, holiday season or not.

1. Increase your activity on social.

Year-end studies reveal a common trend for holiday season 2014. Social media is huge. You won’t convert some users unless you have a strong and robust presence on social media.

Social media influence has risen by 66% over 2013, meaning that customers are more likely to make a purchase if recommended on a social networking site.

social network engagment

Shoppers use social media sites for reviewing products, getting gift ideas, sharing referrals, liking or following brands they enjoy, sharing recommendations on social, learning about new products, logging in to retail sites through social, and simply viewing ads.

social media holidays

Social media is the conversation place for all things retail. What’s more, shoppers register a high likelihood of converting based on free shipping offers, discounts, loyalty points, or other social deals:

social network influence

Remember, you can do more than just make sales on social. Many marketers are eyeing the social opportunities during the holiday season for purposes such as extending brand reach, generating more leads, and gaining more traffic.

social network holiday commerce

However you approach it and whatever you do, keep active on social.

2. Optimize your mobile experience.

The “rise of mobile” isn’t a thing anymore. Anyone who wants to be competitive in the eccommerce landscape must have a response site. As reported by Marketing Land, one third of shoppers will do half of their shopping on mobile devices.

Every holiday season, mobile gets even more important. The retailers with the highest annual revenue rates ($1bn) pulled in as much as 30% of their traffic from mobile devices through the holiday shopping season.

But it’s no longer just enough to have a responsive site. According to Skava, 88% of mobile shoppers complain that their mobile shopping experience is unpleasant. That’s bad enough, but it gets worse. Marketwatch reports that these shoppers say that they won’t shop at an online retailer unless they get a flawless experience. 30% of them will never return, period.

That’s a huge problem. Why? Because, as Google has revealed, shoppers start their shopping on a smartphone.

smart phone shopping

If they face frustration on their first touch point with your site, they’re gone forever.

Here are their main points of frustration:

  • Poor navigation (50 percent)
  • Slow Web page load times (47 percent)
  • Interruptions / timeouts (40 percent)
  • Checkout process (26%)

More than half of shoppers say that such glitches make them “think less of a brand.”

Here are what customers are most interested in:

  • Website’s ease of use (88 percent)
  • Strong security (72 percent)
  • Clear Web images (64 percent)

If all these shoppers are coming on mobile and insisting on a flawless experience, you’ve got to deliver. Online shopping today is largely mobile shopping, and it’s time to brush up on your mobile experience, lest you lose a huge percentage of your customers for good.

3. Start retargeting.

It’s the perfect time to start retargeting. The holidays brought potential buyers, and you want to get those buyers back.

Retargeting or remarketing is the simple act of advertising your site to visitors who previously visited your site. This is how Retargeter explains it visually:

online shopper loop

According to studies, customers who visit a site are more than twice as likely to return to that site later to make a purchase. Companies that offer this service include ReTargeter.com, Chango, AdRoll, ActionX.com, Chango, Perfect Audience, and many others.

Retargeting is on the rise. More companies are engaging remarketing, and using more types of retargeting, according to MDGAdvertising.

retargeting tactics

There’s a simple reason why retargeting has become so popular. It works.

According to VWO.com, 54% of shoppers say that they will go back and buy items in their cart if they are offered again at a discount. Among MIllennials, the largest shopping demographic, 72% of them are open to retargeting.

retargeting is hot

During the holiday season, shoppers spend a lot of time online. In the toys category, shoppers spend 11 hours in research. In the appliances category, they spend 15 hours in research.

2012 time spent research

All that time in research and comparison turns out to be a huge remarketing opportunity.

If you’re retargeting, your audience will see you and they will buy from you.

Marketing Land ticks off just a few of the reasons why you should use retargeting:

  • It’s the second chance for you to convert a visitor. You don’t get that second chance with typical PPC ads.
  • You build an asset by capturing your audience data. And in ecommerce, data is everything.
  • You build illusions of grandeur. You may just be a small shop, but as long as you have a big ad presence, you’ll look huge.
  • Better-than-ever campaign performance. Retargeting CTRs are huge, smashing the CTRs ordinary PPC ads.

You will get more customers, more sales, and more revenue if you’re retargeting.


Let’s wrap it up. Here are the three trends we learned from the holiday shoppers that will give you the biggest conversion uptick in the coming year:

  • More social
  • Better mobile
  • Start retargeting

Just a few smart moves can make a big difference in conversions. That’s the whole point. You don’t need to market harder, just smarter. These are the techniques that brought holiday cheer. Chances are, they’re going to make 2015 a bit more cheerful, too.

What conversion lessons did you learn from the 2014 holiday season?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.


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  1. Brian says:
    December 31, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Neil: I also read your blog as well…great stuff! Thanks for the post.

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