For almost all eCommerce businesses, the holiday season is the most important and profitable time of year, in fact, some retailers make up to around 40% of their yearly revenue in quarter four. Typically retailers leave holiday planning far too late, busy doing a million other things of course. But Google says that people start searching for gift ideas around mid-August, months before Christmas itself – so come late to this and you’ll have already missed out massively.
But, where to start?
Start with Your Products
Decide what products you’ll be focussed on this Christmas and whether there will be new and/or special options.
- Are there special products that will be offered only during Christmas?
- Are you able to group your products into gifts for him / her / kids or further down into for garden lovers / for cooks etc.
- Will new products be available? How will these be highlighted?
- Are there any gift bundles that will be available to drive up average order value?
- What products relate to others? So, will there by “you might also like..” suggestions?
- How will you show your customer that your products make good gifts?
Create a Promotional Calendar
Staying organised is vital over the busy holiday season, to make sure nothing gets forgotten in the mayhem. Once the it really gets going, marketers are often consumed by factors such as data analysis, granular reporting, and continuously striving to get the most out of their campaigns. This leaves little time to launch new campaigns with targeted keywords and relevant images that are carefully tuned to key promotions.
A promotional calendar will mean you’re planning out the steps necessary to execute campaigns efficiently.
- When will briefing meetings with Designers and Developers take place? Schedule the meetings asap to avoid delays.
- When will graphics and banners be updated?
- What are the dates and times of your promotional email deployment?
- When will each promotion begin and end?
Plan your Cart Abandonment Attack
Cart abandonment is likely to be one of your biggest problems. With an average of 69% of consumers abandoning the purchase at this most vital stage, it’s a phenomena that nobody in eCommerce can afford to ignore.
Shipping was the number 1 reason for shopping cart abandonment last holiday season. According to a Comscore study, free shipping continues to drive purchasing decisions on eCommerce sites. Nearly 60 percent of shoppers are willing to add more products to their cart to qualify for free shipping, and more than 80 percent are willing to wait an additional two days for delivery if shipping is free.
AlixPartners conducted a survey where they found the following top reasons that customers chose not to order from an online retailer or other mail-order businesses:
- Need to see or touch the item before purchasing (37%)
- Cost of delivery too high (36%)
- Concerns about quality or freshness of a product (26%)
- Ease of returning the item (20%)
- Loss or damage in transit (17%)
- Concerns about the size or fit (16%)
- Better selection in local store (15%)
- Concern about getting the right part or item (13%)
- Better total price in local store (13%)
- Installation service unavailable (11%)
- Arranging for removal of old item (11%)
- Difficult to get item into the house once delivered (10%)
- Not at home during the day to receive shipments (10%)
- Too long to deliver (10%)
- Service on item after purchased (9%)
- Concern with getting a different item than ordered (7%)
- Privacy concerns (4%)
- Can’t track the item while in transit (3%)
- Weekend delivery required (3%)
- Is the site’s checkout as streamlined as possible?
- Do we ask for too much details at checkout? Can we allow for guest checkouts?
- How do we target abandoners with retargeting ads and emails?
- Are we clear and upfront about all shipping and delivery costs?
Nowadays, personalisation has become much more advanced, allowing for deeper and more meaningful customer insights, that when utilised correctly, can have a massive impact on sales. There’s pretty strong evidence that customers want personalised experiences: close to fifty percent of consumers are more likely to spend money after a personalised experience. Nearly ¾ become frustrated when the content that they see is not relevant to them. As time goes on, getting information on your customers allows you to make the relationship with them more intimate and powerful.
Personalising your content and online experience to each individual user according to their history of interests, behaviours and transactions can increase your sales this holiday season. The Magento dashboard makes it easy to learn what your customers are searching for on your website. You can then offer them extra discounts based on their order history, give them loyalty points and show them what they want to see. Make sure you have enabled related products on your store, and you’ll receive extra sales growth.
- How can we make every piece of content we send out personalised?
- Are we utilising all the Magento features to help with personalisation?
- Are we using suggested selling techniques based on personalised histories?
- Can we use Google Analytics more effectively?
Christmas is a time for sharing, so make sure to share your activities and offers with your followers. Consumers retweet and post content during the festive season more than at any other time. Create a festive banner and logo for Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you’re using Pinterest and Instagram, make sure to share photos of your Christmas stock and festivities in the office.
Magento Social can help streamline your eCommerce social strategy. Typically, social media now features at several points throughout the customer journey. 95% of millennials spend significant time daily on social networks and 86% of social media users actually want to follow brands: put simply, successful eCommerce now has to spread directly onto social channels. We wrote here about how users tend to trust their social networks, and are increasingly coming to them to hunt for future purchasing, or at least be enticed onto sites via the channel of their choice.
- How can we make sure our posts are unmissable without being clickbait?
- Are we the social media platforms to suit our audience – not just sticking to Twitter and Facebook? A brief customer survey can add insight to this
- Has a budget been allocated for paid social media content?
- Are you planning to encourage some festive product sharing with your audience? Brand evangelism like this has taken off this year!
- Are we ensuring we reply to customer’s queries and questions on social media?
Our other Key Tips from JH this Holiday Season
All Hail the Procrastinators
According to a Retailmenot Shoppers Trends Report, 9 in 10 (91% ) of consumers have had to buy last-minute Christmas gifts. 64% of them deem gift-cards as the most popular last-minute gift – really, you can’t go wrong with adding a gift cards option on your site.
Nobody likes a late delivery. For Christmas customers it’s more important than ever to be sure that ordered items will arrive in time. If you want to avoid customer dissatisfaction you’ll need to be absolutely sure that all your items are in stock.
Increasingly popular now is to display the quantity of items the store has left – a strategy that works for some verticals and brands better than others. It can add a sense of urgency as well as reassurance.
Christmas by Design
Add a Christmas holiday vibe to your store through some festive design. You can implement holiday-related themes and rethink the product ranges that you display on your home-page – making them more targeted to gifts. You can also add a ‘Christmas Gifts’ category in your menu bar.
How can we help you?
We’ve been helping businesses grow at Christmas since 2009. We can take your business to the next level this year.
Let’s get talking.