Quick eCommerce Wins This Christmas

At Christmas time, our audience changes dramatically. People are looking for deals, higher levels of service, and gift ideas.

So here are some of my insider tips on keeping things running like clockwork:

  • Your abandonment rate should be checked, and any holes should be plugged well before you start thinking about promotions.  Checkout abandonment is easy to check and track with Google Analytics.  If you’re losing 70% of your customers now, you’ll lose even more in the run up to the holidays, however a slick, simple and intuitive checkout process will retain your customers throughout the year.  If you provide a great service during Christmas, your seasonal shoppers will come back throughout the year.

  • Basket abandonment aside, if there’s anytime in the year your site likely to start to creak with the increase in traffic, it’s at Christmas time.  The speed of your site needs to be at its best.  You can stress test your site to ensure you can handle any increases in traffic, so talk to your host about scalability on your environment. If you are cloud-based you can scale up and then back down when traffic returns to normal levels.

  • Is your site search geared up for gift buyers? The Christmas shopping experience needs to be quick, as the purchase route is often via search. This process needs to be as direct as possible. The search will also be used for finding delivery or returns information.

  • Gift wrapping may be a service you are offering, free or for a price, but unless its communicated to the customer early you may be losing out on sales.  Offering gift wrapping takes some pain out of shopping, particularly for male shoppers, and often this can be enough of a hook to buy now rather than putting the shopping off until a later date.

  • Make sure your returns policy is extended for the gift purchasing.  Often shoppers will be looking for the comfort of a 14-day return period - but this is not always viable for this time of year.  Communicate this correctly throughout the buying process.

  • Be aware that the weather may impact last minute orders. Communicate to customers via emails and banners.  Using Geolocation you can be specific, so weather in the North may be affected but not in the South. Be direct and informative about this with your audience.

  • A Deal-a-day advent calendar would keep people coming back throughout the Christmas period, and will help to keep your site front of mind.  When trying to think of gifts for friends and family, a little inspiration will go a long way.

  • Sign up to your competitors’ email lists to keep an eye on their deals and increase in customer service.  You should be doing this anyway, but if not now is a good time to start.

  • Introduce Christmas early but slowly.  Include in main site navigation first: maybe a christmas shop similar to how you might introduce a sale section. Then start to promote with banners and content. Don’t plaster the entire site with Christmas content from day one, as you’ll still have users looking for themselves and having to navigate past Christmas stock, snow balls, and holly.

  • Make sure customer service can handle the increase in calls and emails.  Customers will be stressed and want higher levels of service, making more demands and even quicker to reach for the phone or live chat.

  • Make sure all company information on site is up to date.  New customers are looking for confidence in your company and service. Smaller eCommerce stores will be competing against Amazon service levels so be conscience of this in all content areas of your site.

  • Be ready for Mobile.  If you don’t have a mobile optimised site, make sure the checkout is as simple as possible.  Mobile usage is likely to hit 30% over this Christmas, tablet likely 25% and desktop 45%.  Shoppers will be on the move, in stores, and between devices - so your mobile store needs to be Christmas-focused, and make gift purchases quick and simple.  Your product filtering will be used more than ever.

  • Offer click-and-collect right up until Christmas eve, a service many will pay more for as last minute shoppers scramble for a company who can deliver.

  • Make sure your last delivery dates are obvious all the way through the customer journey and on delivery content pages.

That’s all for now - feel free to drop any questions to @folkwithpurpose.

Thanks for reading,