With Black Friday and Cyber Monday a week in the rear-view mirror, brands are now working to close out the holiday season with record revenues. The key to this is converting any customer who didn’t purchase over “Cyber Weekend” into a buyer before time runs out on the  2014 season. Many marketers will rely on retargeting, but there is much more that ecommerce brands should have in their toolkit, much of which can be automated for scaled success.

1. Extend Discounts

If your margin allows, extend discounts for this specific user segment and let them know that it’s an offer “exclusively for them.” This will increase likelihood of conversion in the days leading up to the end of the holiday shopping season. For those retailers who can automate personalization, ensure that you take recent browsing behaviors and interests as well as acquisition source data to personalize your discount messages with creative and content that is relevant for each user. When using this tactic, alway add an expiration date to increase urgency.

2. Highlight Most Popular Products

Late-in-season gift buyers rely on “hot buys” to make quick decisions. By bringing the products that have sold the most to the front of your newsletters and onsite experience, even going so far as to brand them as Hot Holiday Buys, will draw attention and can increase conversion. Again, use urgency as a tactic by clearly marking remaining inventory.

3. Showcase New Inventory

Have new items ready to go? Restocked on hot sellers? Make this message clear across email, website and app and take it a step further to target users who have specifically shown interest in similar products. Consider sizes, colors, price points and other interest-based data that will allow you to entice consumers with something that fits one of their specific gift-giving needs.

4. Scream Urgency

It may sound like I’m just repeating myself, but urgency is key for conversion during the holiday season. From shipping cut-off days to low inventory alerts, urgency drives consumers to buy. Rather than broad, blanket messages, like “Only 5 Days Left!” work to make your messages unique. “Only 24 Hours Left to Save XX% on XYZ Brand!” is a base message that you can use to personalize at scale. Offer incentives based on predicted behaviors and feature brands based on previous browsing data. This form of urgency will cut through the clutter of all other brands working to convert.

5. Deliver Abandonment Streams

Rather than relying on retargeting or a single email, deploy a messaging stream that includes multiple touches for each consumer. Browsing, searching or abandoning a cart each show differing levels of intent and your messaging streams should be customized and optimized to convert consumers based on this specific behavior. During the holiday season, keep discounts up front, but come 2015, update these streams by testing when and where to deploy a discount (and test what kind of discount!).

When the dust settles, every brand should consider engaging with non-buyers to find out what went wrong. Let’s face it, regardless of the tactics you deploy, there will still be a good portion of users that did not convert, and that’s normal. But you should try to find out why they didn’t. Many brands use “non-buyer surveys” to find out what they missed: Were discounts too low? Inventory not what they were expecting? Did items they wanted sell out too fast? Did they find a better price?

The more you know going into the next holiday season will help inform your testing strategy for 2015!

–Marielle Hanke, Sr. Manager of Analytics and Optimization