Is your eCommerce business ready for Christmas?

It’s that time of year when Christmas marketing is getting into full swing, with festive in-store advertising and Christmas shopping emails already popping up everywhere you look, and I’m beginning to tell myself that I should really start thinking about Christmas shopping to save some of the last minute panic (but I will probably/definitely still be shopping on Christmas Eve).

But what came first – the chicken or the egg? The early, well-organised Christmas shoppers or the marketing messages making us panic about Christmas before the first fallen leaf of Autumn?!

I’m not really sure anymore, but I do know that businesses can’t really afford not to be seen and heard at this time of year, but it’s not easy to stand out from all the noise.

Give people what they want, where they want it

In the build up to Christmas, figures show that email open rates are higher – people are paying much more attention to marketing messages that land in their inboxes. They’re looking for inspiration as well as discounts and free delivery offers, after value for money and convenience at this expensive and busy time of year. Think about how you can offer something different to your consumers to stand out.

Remember too that Boxing Day shopping now starts on Christmas Day on phones and tablets, while the grandparents are full of turkey and snoozing and the little ones are running around with sugar highs, so wish your customers a Merry Christmas and offer them a little something to treat themselves with!

Declutter

It’s not just about pushing marketing messages, it’s key that your eCommerce website is up to scratch for positive consumer experience and securing sales.

Clarity and speed are perhaps the most important factors. We’re impatient. We don’t have time to wait for homepages to load and hunt around Crystal Maze-style product pages to find what we’re looking for. Keep is simple and clear. Unnecessary noise is distracting and if it takes to long to load or get around, people will give up. Check your bounce rate. Can you get this down by making your homepage clearer and simpler to navigate or by removing an unnecessary splash page?

It goes without saying now, but it’s so important to make sure your site works as well on mobile as it does on desktop. More and more people are making purchases from their phones, or at least doing research on the go and returning later on their laptops to buy. Responsive design ensures that people get the same experience on different devices, so they can find what they’ve been looking at in the same places.

Taking this a step further, it’s a good idea to simplify the ordering process with one-click buying or minimising the number of steps in the mCommerce checkout process.

Use data

One of the best things about digital is that you have the ability to not only track almost every movement, but to change things instantly. Make use of this! Look at your data and analytics regularly, see what customers are doing, looking at and buying on your site and use this… Find out what products people are reacting to, tweeting about and pinning most and highlight your most popular products in your homepage banners to push sales. If people are clicking through your product pages but not buying anything, maybe you need to think about more filtering options or suggestions so people can find what they’re looking for.

It’s particularly important to look at current data in this period – consumer’s shopping habits are different in this quarter as they buy for other people, so your customers are different and their activity and purchases is not typical.

Nurture and be heard

Christmastime isn’t just about sell, sell, sell, it’s a great time for brand building too. Nurture your existing, loyal customers by engaging with them on social media and offering positive messages, gifts and giveaways, while targeted advertising and a strong seasonal campaign will help to get you noticed by new customers too.

If you’re reading this and feel you’re quite ready for Christmas, don’t panic! There is still time! Get in touch if you need any advice, assistance or creative ideas. We’re all too happy to get the tinsel and baubles out for your brand!

If you’d like to find out more about our eCommerce services, why not: