There’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to the Christmas holidays. It is by far people’s favorite time of the year, where we get to spend more time with our families, give and receive presents, watch Christmas specials, and decorate our homes with seasonal décor.
For the ecommerce entrepreneur, Christmas can be an extra special time of the year because it also brings on the time when our customers’ demand for consumer goods and services goes up. Your customers are gonna be out there buying gifts for their family, friends, colleagues, and even pets! We are talking about the biggest shopping season of the year, people, and it seems that we can’t get ready for the Christmas season early enough!
It’s an exciting time for everyone, but most especially for ecommerce business owners who are getting ready to generate more sales with their online store in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas.
According to some estimates, more than 60% of U.S. consumers prefer to buy gifts online, with smartphone use on a constant rise. 33% of Christmas shoppers are expected to spend over $1000 on gifts, with a total holiday spending that is expected to exceed 1 trillion in sales in theU.S. alone. While we are citing stats limited to the U.S., here is a fun fact: Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated and recognized in 160 countries around the world. It’s not only a Christian holiday but a commercial one.
If you are wondering where to get started in prepping your shop for the season, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to be talking about what you need to do for your online business to get ready for the holiday rush.
Now let’s get right to it, and get ready for the coming holiday shopping season together:
1. Start Early
Why wait when you can start early? There are people out there planning their Christmas purchases earlier in the year than you’d think, and seeing as December is the time where people are willing to spend even more money than any other time of the year, you should also be planning ahead of time in order to maximize your holiday monetary gains.
What we usually advise in our holiday series is that you need to make an action plan early. For the Christmas rush, as early as September is prudent and wise. This is because there are so many conceivable actions that you can take, that you need to strategize early on to figure out the right actions for your shop.
Below is an example of the things you might have to work out in advance. It’s important for you to map out the days and times when you will:
- Update your store to make it Christmas themed
- Advertise your promotions over Google, social media, and email
- Update your product range
- Promote your holiday special offers
Many retailers also choose to promote their Christmas specials a month ahead of time to maximize the season’s sales potential.
2. Prepare for Traffic
Just as shopping malls can be unpleasantly packed during the holidays, online stores will be experiencing a surge in traffic from the wise consumer who prefers to shop at home to avoid the actual human traffic on the way to the malls and inside of physical stores.
Nothing is more frustrating for customers and for shop owners than to have your website unable to handle an influx of internet traffic on the most important shopping days of the year. You’ll not only lose customers, but you'll also lose sales and money in the process. It’s a total shopping holiday nightmare. To cite an example, back in 2015, the hundred million dollar online fitness brand Gymshark website went down for 8hours straight, on Black Friday, of all days—a failure that cost the brand$143,000 in lost sales.
Following this disaster, the brand migrated to Shopify Plus to avoid costly incidents like this in the future.
Before the holidays, it’s important for every shop owner to reconsider and test out their server load capacity in preparation for the influx of traffic during the busy months of November and December. When it comes to ecommerce platforms, Shopify is lauded for its ability to take on heavy traffic—which exclusively online global brands like Gymshark are willing to bet all their money on.
In addition to that, make sure you are ready to handle your customers’ increase in demand for goods and products, that you have enough inventory, and that your inventory reflects the stock that you have on hand or for dropshipping.
3. It’s Time To Redecorate
Just as people are decorating their homes, and shops bringing out their tinsel and Santa Clause figurines, you should also redecorate your store to reflect some of that Christmas cheer.
One brand that comes to mind when it comes to great holiday branding is Starbucks. Starbucks is known for rolling out its holiday-themed menu and let’s not forget their holiday-themed cups. All of which makes Starbucks great at emotional holiday branding.
You can take a page out of the Starbucks holiday playbook to revamp your online store as well by going all-in by decking your online store’s halls with proverbial boughs of holly. Roll out a new homepage banner, bring in that special holiday-themed product page, and give out some tinsel lined virtual coupons.
Everything, including your holiday email campaign should be holiday-themed, including what you do on social media. Some brands take their social media holiday campaigns very seriously, opting to post something Christmasy every day to get consumers primed and warmed up for everyone’s favorite holiday season of the year.
4. Promote your Store Online
Advertising has gotten a lot easier since we can all just advertise our wares and promos over the internet to reach our target audience. Take note that the holidays are also a great time to reach new audiences and acquire new customers all together, with the help of your ads.
All of your ads should, of course, embody that Christmas holiday sparkle and flare, and the choice for which platform you’ll be utilizing is up to you based on where your target audience is most active. You can use Google AdWords and social media advertising to:
- Highlight your sales and special offers
- Promote your online store as a prime online shopping destination for the holidays
- Drive more sales and brand awareness
- Promote your all-time bestsellers
You can use ads for the purposes mentioned above, and so much more. Another tip is to make shoppable posts on platforms like Instagram, which will be a big hit for online stores and customers for Christmas 2020.
Ads should also directly link your customers to your shop and the product that is being advertised to ensure a frictionless shopping experience.
5. Use Remarketing
Remarketing is a powerful way to boost sales, not just for the month of December, but for all year round. If you’re not familiar with the term, you are most probably familiar with and acquainted with the method.
Remarketing is a form of online advertising that targets customers who have already visited your site, viewed a product, and then exited without completing a purchase. Retargeting ads work to keep your brand and your product at the top of your customer's mind by showing your product on other platforms, like on Youtube or Instagram, enticing your customer to come back and make that purchase.
You can use this strategy on Social Media and Google AdWords to reduce the instances of cart abandonment, improve your click-through rates, improve brand visibility, and to make more sales all in all.
6. Mobile is Key
As was mentioned earlier, 60% of consumers are doing their holiday online shopping through their mobile phones. Consumers are becoming more comfortable completing purchases on a smaller screen, and Google also reports that most of their searches today are being performed on mobile phones than on desktops and tablets.
The reason why optimizing for mobile is so important is because, unlike laptops and computers, consumers can use their phones absolutely anywhere. With mobile, things are simply more convenient, because you can shop online on the bus on the way home from work or while lying sideways in bed after a night’s rest—things you typically won't do on a laptop.
Because your customers are learning to prefer mobile over anything else, it’s your job to provide them with an optimal mobile experience through your mobile-friendly site this Christmas!
The thing about optimizing your website for mobile is that you must reduce friction as much as possible. Friction when it comes to online shopping is related to how hard your customer has to work on your site to complete an action. Think of that annoying pop-up you saw on your mobile phone with the too-small exit button that frustrated you into leaving the site—that is friction.
Optimizing for mobile means creating a smooth and seamless experience, eliminating every barrier and annoying little snatch in the shopping process. This means you must eliminate all non-mobile friendly elements, like giving your customers the option for guest checkout.
7. Create Gift Guides
You’ve got a lot of cool products on your site that would make great gifts, but people are often clueless when it comes to gift shopping for their friends and family. If you also happen to run a blog, a gift guide will bring in more potential customers to your online store to consume content that adds value to their Christmas shopping experience.
You can create gift guides for any conceivable type of person a customer may have in their lives, for instance, one titled “10 Awesome Gifts to Give Your Boss this Christmas”. The great thing about gift guides is that they are shareable, and people actually need them! So make sure to share your latest gift guides on your social media pages for your followers to read.
Your gift guides should also include items that you already conveniently happen to have for sale which you can link directly to your product page for easy shopping.
8. Create Product Bundles
Christmas is the time of the year where consumers are not only looking for the best deals, but they are also looking to buy more and as a consequence, spend more. Christmas is the optimal time to offer your customers product bundles or sets because they’ll probably be more receptive to bundle purchases as gifts for themselves and for their loved ones.
When you sell your products in bundles, you are selling your customers a set of goods for a lower price than if they were to buy the items separately. There are a number of reasons as to why the bundle strategy can be great for your store, for one, this alluring pricing strategy can get your customers to spend more on your shop than they originally intended to. Through this strategy, you get to earn more, increase customer satisfaction with your cool bundles, and maybe even get rid of some old stock to make room for next year’s new collection.
An example of a cool Christmas bundle is if you sell homeware and toiletries online, you could sell a fluffy bathrobe, scented candle, and a set of bath toiletries all wrapped up in personal gift wrapping. These items will normally cost more if bought individually, but together they make a great gift bundle that costs less.
9. Offer Gift Wrapping
Christmas is the most exciting time of the year because of all the presents that are waiting to be unwrapped. One of the best things about Christmas is receiving a gift that is all wrapped up nicely. Gift wrapping adds a thrill because the receiver of the present has no way of knowing what’s inside, which effectively builds up a healthy amount of anticipation.
One great service that you can do for your customers this Christmas is to offer them the option for gift wrapping and tags. By doing this, you are adding value to your customers’ shopping experience, as you are offering them a great and easy convenience that may give you an edge over your competitors.
Some brands are also out there completely updating their packaging for the season, which improves customer experience and enjoyment of your products. For Christmas exclusives from your store or product bundles, custom holiday-themed packaging is something you should most certainly consider as well.
10. Consider a Return Policy Update
Because people tend to buy more things during the holidays, they also end up making more returns for a variety of reasons. Some individuals make purchases that they regret, while others who make purchases in advance as presents find out that a product is defective only after the gift receiver opens the present on Christmas day.
Because of this, some shops offer holiday shoppers an extended return period so that they can shop worry-free. Your return policy is an important feature for both your customers and your online store. Customers tend to review return policies before making a purchase, especially during the busy last two months of the year. If the return policy does not seem customer-friendly enough, they might not bother to buy anything from your store.
While you do want your return policy to be generous enough to allow your customers to feel confident in your store, you don’t want it to be too open for customers who have dishonest intentions. This means that you shouldn’t make returns too easy in your policy. To do this you can opt-out of paying for the return shipping, for instance.
Wrap It Up
Christmas is a magical time of the year, and for many, it’s a time where we gather some wonderful and unforgettable memories full of warmth and cheer. We’ve given you 10 tips on how to have a rocking ecommerce Christmas in 2020, and we hope that these tips will help you get that unforgettable Christmas full of good fortune and sales.
Just make sure to start preparations early in the year, so that you can keep a handle on things, giving your customers that smooth shopping experience. Who knows, this Christmas may be the year that you acquire a new height of success. Now, it’s time to get your shop ready and to have a successful and lucrative holiday season!
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