It’s no secret that sales increase over holiday periods such as Christmas. It’s more than likely that you will have operational systems in place to deal with the extra workload, but within these systems have you considered your digital world? How will your eCommerce design, marketing and analysis change for the festive season?
With many retailers making 40% of their yearly revenue in the last quarter due to festive holidays, it is important to acknowledge that there is a massive opportunity to enhance your eCommerce store. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your plan for the months leading up to the biggest holiday of the year.
Which holidays will you prepare for and promote?
Although Christmas is a major opportunity, there are also smaller events that you shouldn’t overlook. If you have a US audience, you also have Thanksgiving. And then there’s the New Year. Around those months you also have Halloween and Bonfire Night. Choose which ones are likely to inspire your customers. If you try to promote for them all, you are likely to get snowed under with all the work you’ll need to do. Choose your battles.
Is your store mobile-friendly?
This is so important which is why it’s up there at the top of our list. Having a mobile-friendly site is important in general for any business, but even more so for online retailers who are attempting to bring in a Christmas audience. 20% of online shoppers use their mobile phones or maybe even their tablet to buy Christmas gifts. That’s a lot of people who are going to be very unhappy if they can’t work your site on their mobile.
Will you have a holiday calendar?
This can help with your planning and make sure that everybody knows what is happening on each day of the countdown. It doesn’t have to be detailed and it can be a working document. Ask yourself questions like:
When will graphics and banners be updated on your site?
- When will they be updated on social media?
- When will your promotional emails be sent out?
- When will your promotions be announced on social media?
- Will you use paid advertising on social during the campaign?
- What budget will you allocate and for when?
These kinds of questions keep everybody in the know.
Will you have more relaxed or stricter rules on returns and refunds?
Some retailers acknowledge that holidays can be a stressful time for customers and offer longer return periods or more opportunity for refunds. At the opposite end of the scale, some retailers become stricter because of the pressure on operations. Have you considered this for your online store?
Will you add extra payment methods?
Because more people are likely to want to purchase from you, it’s likely that some of them will have payments that you do not accept. Is it worth considering expanding your reach? Consider adding a PayPal method for those who prefer to use that platform - as opposed to limiting payment options to the traditional Visa and Mastercard.
Will your content marketing strategy take holidays into account?
If you have Christmas-themed blog posts, this could bring in more traffic to your site from those searching for holiday themed queries. With careful SEO planning, you may be able to rank for things like ‘top watch gifts for men at Christmas’. Plenty of people turn to Google to find inspiration at Christmas and it’s a great opportunity to attract new traffic.
Do you have an email marketing plan for the festive period?
Email, whilst some people consider it to be old-fashioned, brings in results. It has the highest ROI over other marketing strategies and for this reason, it should be considered for a Christmas campaign. Not only do people tend to buy more gifts, they also spend more on the gifts as the average order value tends to spike around this period. Will you send emails showcasing your Christmas products?
Have you considered Google Adwords?
PPC advertising, like Adwords, is great for achieving fast results in a short period of time and so business owners tend to use it as a prominent marketing strategy when starting up their businesses. But because it’s instant nature, it can be a good strategy to use around holiday periods; although the only ‘down side’ is that if you are targeting holiday related terms, they can be much more competitive than usual terms. Therefore, you may need to invest a little more than you usually would to reach users.
How will social media be leveraged across the holidays?
Social media is a great way of communicating with your customers on day-to-day basis and it can be a good tool to use throughout a campaign. With daily posts and attractive artwork, you can really engage with people and inspire them on an emotional level. Social media is used by people - especially for connecting with family and friends. They are emotionally- fuelled platforms. Perfect for inspiring those impulse buys.
Will you have ‘remarketing’ strategies in place?
Re-marketing can be an effective tool for getting customes to buy, even if they didn’t buy at first. Sometimes they need a nudge if they didn’t buy on their first visit to your store. By using remarketing technology, you can send them marketing messages that tap into their previous activity and use it to send personalised and targeted content.
Do each of your campaigns have a landing page?
Landing pages are great for bringing in SEO activity and they are easy to link to from social platforms and email marketing. They can be a clear way of getting across all of the information about your promotional campaign, including any terms and conditions. Definitely consider making a landing page for each campaign if you have the resource.
These are just a few thoughts to help plan your eCommerce store for the holidays - it can be a busy time and it’s worth putting the effort in to leverage on all the great opportunities. Let us know on Facebook or Twitter if you have any extra tips for retailers.