Christmas is just around the corner, nobody knows it better than e-commerce business owners. For many people, it might be still distant future, but all of the online sellers are already preparing for what for many of them is the busiest time of the year. If you are still e-commerce newbie and are still a bit shaky about what should you do to take advantage of increasing your selling opportunities, this article is for you. It is not by far an extensive list of useful techniques but it is a start. So, get a cup of coffee, make sure you have a piece of paper and pen at hand and let’s get down to business.
1. “This special time of year is approaching and we are thinking about you…”
If you run an e-commerce business, chances are you already use e-mail marketing. If not, you should really consider starting newsletter because it is a great tool to stay in touch with your customers, and we all know it is far easier to keep the customer than to get a new one. Christmas might be the only time of the year when people will actually look at your newsletter with focused attention. Why? Because most of us are so involved in work, school and life that mostly Christmas take us by surprise. Even if we anticipate it, we are always ready to appreciate any offers and deals that are thrown our way. So, make sure your e-mail looks festive and that your message is loud and clear. Don’t try to pack too much information all at once, after all this should be an invitation to visit your online store. Above all, make sure it is mobile optimized. People like to be able to shop on the run as we all suffer from time shortage.
2. Remind your community it’s time to start look around
Social media power should not be underestimated. Let your social media community know that it’s best to look around early, even if they do not plan to start shopping just yet. Think about creating video content for your channels, maybe you want to remind heartwarming video from last year? Also, be graphic. People might be too busy to read, but an image stays with us longer, especially if it reminds us of something nice and cheerful. Consider using paid social media campaigns to reach beyond your community and extend your audience.
3. Decorate your website
When your customers decorate the tree you need to decorate your website. Don’t go crazy, sometimes the smallest accents are the most successful. Consider temporary changing colours to greens, reds and golds to emphasise holiday season. You can even create an extra category called ‘Christmas Inspirations’ to help visitors look for gift ideas. Think of holiday-inspired slogan and make it a theme for both your website and your newsletter.
4. Pleasure of shopping ends with dreadful checkout
Although fast and easy checkout process should be a standard all year round, at Christmas it might become a deal-breaker. Christmas shopping might be a stressful experience fitted between making dinner arrangments and decorating the house so time is of an essence. If you collect lost of additional data during checkout process it would be best to drop it for the holiday season. Also, have a look at the payment options and consider adding more means of payment. If you only take a card, you should seriously consider introducing PayPal or Stripe because a lot of visitors associate those with simplicity and safety.
5. “Before you go…”
While checkout process should be simplified there are other areas where visitors will appreciate your help. Fortunately for you, those will also help your chances of selling more. If you haven’t already you should introduce some up- and cross-selling techniques on product pages. How to achieve that? Simply add to your product pages: “Others also bought”, “Bestsellers” or “Recently Purchased”. If you feel that your merchandise comes in sets naturally, you might consider adding “Before you go” section right before checkout. Although remember to keep it short and sweet to not take up too much of customers’ time.
6. Provide accurate delivery information
The holiday season is crazy delivery-wise. It always takes a lot more time for purchased goods to reach the customer door. For that reason, it is very important for your website to provide an accurate information when is the last day of purchase with delivery guaranteed in time for Christmas. It will save your customers’ disappointment and your time explaining why bought items didn’t make it before Christmas Morning. You might even consider reinforcing that message by sending a newsletter reminding about this date.
7. Keep close tabs on stock levels
Nothing disappoints more than “out of stock” label on the product you just spend hours finding. And before Christmas, it is ten times worse. So think carefully about stock levels your online store requires before Christmas, and even if you run out, just hide the product. Don’t let your visitors get upset, and that is for your own sake too. Shopping around holidays tends to be emotional and that engraves experiences in peoples memory. Makes sure your store only creates happy memories in your customers’ minds.
Christmas time, for many online businesses, is the most important due to workload, sales rates, increased number of queries. It is important to use that time productively before January and February come, which is much quieter and less rich in sales time. To avoid unnecessary stress it is good to prepare early and then to keep an eye on things every step of the way. If you feel lost don’t be afraid to ask, we are always here to help (wink).