Whether you’re a Grinch or a Christmas Elf, there’s no denying the fact that Christmas is fast approaching, which means for many e-commerce stores it will be an essential time to increase sales and jump on the festive buzz.
Christmas is undeniably the biggest spending season of the year, in fact, in 2016, online Christmas spending amounted to approximately 25 billion British pounds.
Yes, when the tinsel comes out us Brits love to flash the cash, which means as a business selling to consumers it’s imperative that you have a strong digital strategy that can help you gain some of the Christmas spree attention.
To help ensure your Christmas season is as merry as Santa eating mince pies, we’ve revealed the twelve steps you need to take to get your online E-commerce buzzing with sales notifications.
1) Get In The Festive Spirit
All your customers will be thinking about Christmas, so it’s important that your landing pages and key product pages shout out what festive products you have on offer.
Even creating content around Christmas can help to move site visits into conversions, giving your customers inspiration for gift giving and encouraging them towards a purchase.
Using festive styles, design layouts and colour palettes can help you to capture their attention and look like your product is the one to purchase this Christmas.
It doesn’t matter what you sell online – from socks to dog beds. Put your product in context with the Christmas season to make people want to buy your product.
If you look to do any Christmas promotions put these up front and center on your homepage with an obvious call to action.
Remember that people are often stressed when purchasing presents so make the process easy for them.
2) Start Your Ads NOW (you may already be too late)
There is no time like the present when it comes to digital advertising, in fact, 53% of Christmas shoppers started their Christmas shopping from October to November in 2017.
Arranging festive ads across social media and Google will begin to encourage those early Christmas purchases and put your product in the running to be under the tree.
As well as pushing ads in the run-up to Christmas, don’t forget to also think about your post-Christmas advertising. A few days past Christmas people are often bored at home looking for some sale bargains, which has seen an increase in online purchases.
Whether it’s pushing a sale or new season products, ensure you have a full strategy in place that can take you up to the new year.
3) Shout About Promotions
Everybody is looking for the best bargain at Christmas, and the same can always be said for online shoppers. Just look at how popular voucher websites have become!
Appeal to savvy shoppers with seasonal promotions and discounts, but try to be clever with it. How can you secure some loyalty or extra customers? – Promotions and offers are often the best way.
By creating a promotion that goes beyond the basic discount you can grow your customer base and increase new orders. Many brands are great at doing this, for example, Biscuiteers offer £5 off your next order when you send a discount code to a friend. Everyone gets something!
With a promotional strategy such as this, you can ensure your discount isn’t a one-hit-wonder and helps your e-commerce store grow!
4 ) Secure Your Delivery Dates
During the festive season, people want their purchases and they want them now! – Delay and you’ll suffer from the wrath of an unhappy customer, which as we all know can lead to some scathing reviews on social media.
Instead, secure your Christmas delivery dates well in advance, and make it very clear when your last delivery will take place before the big day.
As well as making delivery dates prominent on your website, post them on social media and send them out in email newsletters to existing customers.
5) Manage Your Traffic
Here’s a question, could your website handle a 5% increase in traffic?
If not, Christmas could break your website, and that could be detrimental for your sales.
Before you start the big Christmas push ensure that your website has the capacity to hold more visitors and can function well with the increase. As a shopper, there’s nothing more frustrating than a website that is slow to load and unresponsive.
You may not be the size of Amazon, but in 2017 more than a billion items were ordered from the store, with it reporting a 70% increase in the number of global shoppers.
These figures may be out of your league, but it would be naive of you to ignore the fact that your site is going to increase in visitors.
Check with your host about current capacity and ensure your website is prepared.
6) Be Customer Ready
While you may be an e-commerce store, customers will still have questions and queries about your product, therefore it’s important that you can answer their questions and support them in making a final purchase.
Frequently asked questions are essential, but it is also best practice to have a customer service number that helps people resolve an issue quickly. The more people have to wait for an answer, the more impatient they become, the more they start looking in other places.
Many e-commerce stores now implement ChatBots which can help to alleviate any waiting and help customers actively rather than reactively.
Have a customer strategy in place so that you can handle the seasonal queries and get those sales coming through.
7) Make It Mobile-Friendly
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly what are waiting for? – It is now business critical!
Data from 2017 has revealed that online retail sales made via smartphones grew by 18%, with 88% of shoppers doing research via a smartphone before making a purchase.
Even if people are not directly purchasing with their smartphones, they have become an essential part of the buying process, which means your e-commerce store needs to look and respond well on mobile.
Checking site speed, how it looks on mobile and how it reacts to a user are all elements you should look at when ensuring your website is mobile-friendly.
If this doesn’t urge you into updating your website, here’s a scary statistic to consider – if your website takes more than three seconds to load on a mobile device, you could lose up to 40% of your visitors.
8) Think Inside the Inbox
Email marketing doesn’t gain as much glamorous coverage as social media or advertising, but it is a key piece of digital real estate that can help to push your seasonal sales a step further.
After all, these are people who have taken an active decision to be informed about your products and offers, so you need to be making them aware of what’s available for Christmas.
Encourage loyalty with special offers, and attempt to increase the basket value with added extras and packages.
To ensure you don’t become an inbox annoyance, think strategically about when you are going to send your emails and when they would be most useful to your target audience.
For example, lunchtime online shopping or Sunday evening in front of the TV?
Get in the mind of your audience and create a strategy that feels your brand is being a real helpful elf. This will ensure you still have a strong email database long after the madness of Christmas is over.
9) Invest In Retargeting
Retargeting is often one of the lesser used advertising avenues but can help to bring back customers who have taken an interest in your website but need a little nudge to come back.
Whether you utilise retargeting for the Christmas shoppers, or to gain some January sales, look to create a retargeting strategy that will make people remember to visit again and perhaps make that final purchase.
This can be especially helpful for when people abandon the cart, as it’s estimated that 75% of shoppers who leave their cart do plan to buy, but just need a bit more encouragement. Look into the retargeting options provided with Facebook and Google Adwords.
10) Push For Some Loyalty
As the festive season will see your e-commerce store receive a surge in new customers it’s an ideal time to capture some loyalty so that they come back even after Christmas.
Creating a strategy for customer loyalty can help make Christmas feel like a much bigger win, so consider encouraging people to sign-up to email newsletters, enter competitions or recommend a friend.
There are many strategies that online stores are currently using, which is why research is key to help you create a unique strategy that appeals to your target audience.
11) Check Your Stock
It’s a rookie mistake to run out of products during the busiest retail season of the year, so rather than be left out in the cold, analyse your stock levels from the previous year and estimate what may be required for this year.
Making well-informed stock decisions will ensure you don’t leave any customers with a sour taste of disappointment.
As well as looking at your own stock levels and data, research any trends that could impact on your sales. This is especially relevant for novelty stock that relates to celebrities or fashion trends.
Being aware of what’s trending can ensure your stock doesn’t trip up on sudden demand.
12) Get Ahead
Even after the Christmas shopping spree has ended there’s no time for rest, as now is the time to evaluate what has worked and begin building your new year strategy.
With new customers to bring back, and existing customers to keep happy, getting ahead of the seasonal trends is the best way to increase your sales for the new year.
From assessing which products have proven popular, to analysing the open rate of your email newsletters, get deep into the detail and discover your sweet spots.