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Holiday Sell-Outs: The Metrics Brands Should Review After the Holidays

Michael Water
May 5, 2022
For e-commerce brands, the end of the holiday season means analyzing their year-end marketing efforts. To do this, they need to know which metrics to analyze.
Image from later.com

As the stress of the holiday season fades, it's time for e-commerce businesses to hunker down and figure out what did—and didn't work—during their marketing push.

Most companies boil down the success or failure of their holiday campaigns to pure product sales, app downloads, or site visits. But while these metrics are vital, they aren't the only benchmarks that brands should consider.

Brands should gather more detailed data on where their customers are coming from, new customer retention, and more.

Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Key Questions for Brands

Brands with e-commerce sites commonly measure metrics and KPIs such as:

*Cart abandonment occurs when e-commerce website visitors begin purchasing but leave before completing the checkout process.

However, businesses should track additional eCommerce metrics after the holidays. Here are a few key questions that brands should ask themselves:

What Was the Return Rate?

Return rates are always higher during the holiday season, and this year was bruising to most brands' bottom line.

One survey from December 2021 estimated that customers would return $66.7 billion worth of products bought online or about a third of all online purchases. That's a 13% increase in the total number of order returns compared to the 2020 holiday season.

For brands, an unexpectedly high return rate doesn't only indicate that something could be wrong with their product marketing—like an outdated product description, for instance—but it also suggests the marketing strategy was targeting the wrong audience.

What Was the Average Order Value (AOV)?

Recruiting new customers is great, but it's essential to know how much those new customers are spending when making a purchase. To build customer loyalty and increase profit margins, brands want customers to buy multiple products in a single order.

Examining the AOV indicates whether or not your website or app is working to push customers to more products. Are you displaying add-ons or product bundles in the right places? 

Which Social Platform Saw the Highest Sales Conversion Rates?

For brands with e-commerce stores, the cornerstone of any marketing push is digital advertising.

As brands diversify their budgets beyond the major players like Facebook and into newer platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitch, they should stay on top of platforms that work well for them.

Brands should answer questions like, how much was the customer acquisition cost (CAC) on each platform? What was their return on ad spend?*

To analyze the effectiveness of their advertising, brands should look at both referral traffic and post purchase surveys. The referral traffic only shows when customers directly followed a link to your site. A post purchase survey could ask customers how they found you. 

TikTok, for example, doesn't refer a lot of direct traffic, but a high rate of potential customers discover new products from the platform.

*The same approach can apply to different marketing channels like online communities, email marketing, or content marketing.

In the Coming Months, How Much Are These New Customers Buying?

Brands should segment their first-time customers to see what they buy after the holidays. This type of cohort analysis helps brands figure out the quality of the customers they gained during the holidays.

What's the total number of customers who bought from your online store just once during the holidays versus the total number of people who returned for repeat purchases?

Detailed cohort analysis can add extra nuance to your holiday sales metrics.

Suppose brands bring on fewer customers in December, but those end up becoming returning customers who buy from them frequently in the following months. In that case, that's better than gaining lots of new customers who disappear by February.

What Questions Were Customer Service Representatives Answering?

Brands must analyze customer feedback after the holidays. Chatdesk Trends pulls feedback from customer emails, chats, reviews, surveys and social media comments and automatically tags them to identify patterns.

After studying customer feedback, brands can understand hidden issues with their products, delivery methods, or return processes. They can identify ways to improve the user experience of their app or website.

Are there frequently asked questions that they can more clearly answer online, reducing the amount of time that customer service representatives need to reply to inquiries?

Schedule a demo to see how Chatdesk can help brands improve their digital marketing efforts, e-commerce conversion rates, and support achieving business objectives.

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