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Online Holiday Shopping Behavior: 2 Essential Marketing Strategies to Run Now

2 Minute Read

Part 2 of 3

We'll be the first to admit that running website testing during the holiday season can be quite controversial. Buying behavior changes as volumes increase, people start shopping for others outside their household, and typical budgets increase. Because you’re measuring and learning from a very unique consumer mindset, insights will be skewed. However, that doesn’t mean you should hit ‘pause’ on your testing tools just yet.

In this second installment of our three-part series, we’re diving into data-driven strategies for successful conversion rate optimization (CRO) testing around the holidays.

Historical data can help your team get a sense of what to expect during the upcoming shopping rush. Insights from your existing data can include:

  • Seasonal keywords that you can target in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Products that sold the most and least
  • Marketing channels that need a budget update
  • The most effective promotional offers (for example, is a free shipping or BOGO offer more popular?)
  • Popular search terms used in your site’s native search feature

Identifying how consumers' online shopping behaviors fluctuate throughout the year can help when planning your holiday promotions. To take things a step further and leverage these insights to make data-driven decisions, there are two marketing strategies we recommend for A/B holiday testing:

1. Pause testing and send traffic to the current winner

Now that you’ve optimized all year, it’s time to trust that you’re running the most optimized version of your site for incoming traffic. This is the safest option as you avoid losing revenue on a test that may underperform.

Remember that buying behavior does shift, so any test run during the holidays may not be an accurate representation of what works for your typical audience.

Haven’t started testing yet? Now is a great time to start. Consider implementing a heat map tool like Hotjar to see where people are bailing; setting up a GA4 container to up your site analytics; or test new variants and page combinations across the entire customer journey using Evolv AI. Testing thousands of combinations in real-time is as easy as adding a snippet to your website.

2. Only test promotional-based elements

While it may be tempting to test evergreen items during the holidays, the volatility experienced throughout the season could throw off your results. If you are going to test, stick to testing elements introduced specifically for the seasonal promotion.

Depending on what you plan on testing, such as copy, SKUs, holiday imagery, and even offer placement, remember that you’ll be relying on directional results since holiday promotion periods are typically much shorter than the suggested two-week minimum test duration.

This is why we recommend carving out a promotion-based testing roadmap which will enable your team to accumulate learnings that pertain to user behavior during the holidays and other promotional periods. Continue reading the final part of our series, 4 Tips to Build Your Holiday Testing Roadmap to put you ahead come next holiday season.


Creating an optimized shopping experience is an ongoing process that you can start at any time. So why not now? Chat with an expert to learn how you can save time in testing and increase conversion rates in real-time with real traffic.

Interested in learning a few more best practices? Read the first part of our series:  Tips for Improving Holiday Conversions, and check out our free ebook: CRO Holiday Checklist for our top 5 tips to prepare for the holiday season.


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