On average, the customer lifetime value of a holiday shopper is 15% lower than year-round customers. They chase sales and promotions, expect free shipping, and can be far outside the norm of your typical customer base. To boost ecommerce conversion rates during the holidays you can’t just rely on what works other times of the year. Instead, you to need rethink some of the essential elements of the customer lifecycle.


Because the holiday shopper is a lower-value customer you can no longer rely on the same advertising spend or channels that you do other times of the year.

Recommended Actions:

  • Recalculate customer lifetime value: Figure out what the customer lifetime value is for your holiday shopper and use this to shape budget allocation
  • Recalculate the ROI of marketing channels and campaigns:While one channel might convert well year-round, it may not be the best source for this time of the year. Use your new view of the holiday shoppers’ customer lifetime value to make sure you’re allocating budget to your best acquisition sources for the holiday shopper.


Keep in mind that the holiday shopper probably isn’t purchasing from you year-round. They probably don’t know too much about your product selection (or care). You need to make it as easy as possible to help them find the most gift-worthy products.

Recommended Actions:

  • Product analysis: If you have the manpower, it’s worth doing product analysis to find items that are frequently purchased together. You can then use this insight to “package” gift items and increase average order value.
  • Collaborative filtering: Collaborative filtering is a rather underused feature in ecommerce, only 19% of the IR 500 currently use collaborative filtering to point customers toward products they might be interested in. During the holidays, this feature becomes even more useful to guide unfamiliar customers toward products that your core customer base tends to buy together.

Collaborative Filtering


This is an area where it’s incredibly easy to mess up. You got the customer converted, they purchased, you’re done, right? Wrong. The way you handle this moment in the customer lifecycle will be key high conversion rates next year.

Recommended Actions:

  • Create a personalized follow-up: Before you automatically add holiday shoppers to your mailing list, take a minute to understand if they actually want to buy from you at other times during the year. Tailor a first email for them and consider asking them if they want to hear from you during the year. What you absolutely want to avoid is annoying them with irrelevant messages, resulting in them unsubscribing well before the 2014 holidays.


Benchmark data from our hundreds of ecommerce clients showed that 23% of the shoppers in a an ecommerce store are holiday shoppers only. That’s a significant customer segment that has purchased from you before, but it’s probably been quite a few months. You need to get these customers back.

Recommended Actions:

  • Get them back: Send a friendly reminder that it’s buying time again. Get it touch with some gift suggestions and a reminder that you exist.

Wrapping Up

It’s tempting to rely on the same tactics you use year-round to boost ecommerce conversion rates during the holidays. Remember that you’re dealing with a very different kind of shopper and plan accordingly. This is the key to having a holiday season that isn’t just busy, it’s also extremely profitable.


  • Premier SEO & Web Design

    Nice post Janessa! I’m looking to help one of our clients sell more this holiday season. I’ve never given collaborative filtering that much thought. I’ll have to convince him to try it. Do you have any links that better explain why it works? Shopping around the holidays people are more likely to throw something else into the cart. This seems logical enough.