Is Your eCommerce Business Christmas Proof?

by admin on Thursday, 9th November 2017

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for high street shoppers it can be anything but. Pushing through crowds in unbearably hot stores with stress levels rising and time running out is enough to put many customers off the high street altogether.

That’s why so many customers choose to do their Christmas shopping online whenever they possibly can. That should be great news for any online business, but all too often Christmas means missed opportunities. Worst of all, a modest increase in sales over the period can even flatter to deceive, misleading retailers into believing ‘we did ok’.

Although ecommerce may be considerably a more civilised and relaxing way to shop than muscling around crowded stores, the basic needs and wants of the customer remain the same. Customers, whether online or in-store, require fast and efficient solutions at the best prices possible.

That’s why it’s so important that at Christmas ecommerce businesses don’t fall into the same sort of trap as brick and mortar stores and ultimately force consumers to beat a path elsewhere.

User experience

When it comes to Christmas and Black Friday, the temptation is to include absolutely everything in the campaign, to wrap it up in a pretty bow and present this to the customer. The result is a dull or even confusing campaign which has little or no focus.

Creative graphics and an attention-grabbing strapline are vital elements in any Christmas campaign, but these pieces of the puzzle should never come at the expense of an easy and carefree shopping experience. Many ecommerce businesses participate in the online equivalent of over-stocking shelves and then compound the error by covering everything with tinsel and baubles. Customers grow frustrated and end their shop early, or worse, go elsewhere.

On Black Friday the key to success is simplicity. The maxim of ‘keep it simple stupid’ should be at the forefront of your mind. Customers around this time of year typically want specific items or to browse by category. By facilitating them in their search and following up with special campaign items or offers you add value to their overall shopping experience.

At Objective 1 this is exactly the kind of ecommerce, digital marketing and web development solutions we engage in with our clients. Here are some more of our expert tips for improving your customer user experience.

Arrival date

For ten out of twelve months of the year, customers are more than happy to wait a little longer for delivery if it means they can save on postage. Not so over the holiday season. Quite simply no matter how relaxed your customer base usually is, Christmas creates a very real sense of urgency in them.

By repositioning the arrival date of any shipped goods in a more prominent position you can capitalise on this newfound urgency. Take this one step further by adding a countdown for the last guaranteed shipping date before Christmas. The key is to reassure customers while at the same time letting them know to act now.

Make your FAQ work for you

Customers have a lot of questions around the Christmas period and that’s why you need to make your FAQ work to maximum effect. Customers who can’t find the answers they need may simply go elsewhere, while more determined shoppers will email you directly. To save yourself and the rest of your team answering the same questions again and again you need to get your FAQ into the best possible shape for Christmas.

A handy trick is to place yourself in the shoes of your customers and ask yourself what their main concerns would be. If you’re struggling, here are a few relevant topics that may get you started.

  1. Will the wrapping of these products be discreet?
  2. Do you provide gift receipts?
  3. What is the returns policy on purchases?
  4. Can I combine multiple items for postage?

Product positioning

If you have a particular product that you are best known for, be it a top seller or stand out service, then it’s likely that your Christmas traffic will be looking for this specific item. Put it front and centre in your site and give it the attention it truly deserves. From here, think about what products go well with your flagship product for creating additional revenue.

If you’re unsure of what your flagship product is, delve into your site traffic, conversions and analytics. As yourself this: what specific product did new customers purchase last year? That’s your golden product. Now assess is you have anything similar. Related products should be placed nearby.

Speed and efficiency

Studies have shown that while stress and frustration increases at Christmas, brand loyalty decreases. Perfection is the first casualty of shoppers who swiftly reach the ‘that’ll do’ moment where anything is better than nothing.

That’s why maximising the speed and efficiency of your site is crucial. Have it professionally optimised for both UX and load time. If your website takes too long to take customers where they need to be, they’ll find an alternative route with a competitor.

Give them more

Somewhat counterintuitively, Christmas is a time when customers may actually wish to spend more than your product is worth. If they have a budget in mind and your product comes in below that they may opt for something more expensive.

Suggest additional buys and bundles that will increase the cost of the overall sale and help your consumers reach their magic number. Shoppers who are buying for loved ones, especially for a hobby or interest that they don’t themselves hold, may not have any idea which of your products complement each other. Smart bundling doesn’t just increase sales, it increases the value of your site to customers.

Guest checkout

Regrettably not all of your seasonal customers may be customers for life. They’re buying for someone else after all so that’s understandable. Rather than making them create an account they are only likely to close later, make life easy on them by providing a guest checkout function.

If you need further help or advance making your site Christmas proof, we’re on hand to help. With 25 years of experience in online marketing, we have the know-how to ensure your online store keeps ticking over all the year round.

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