For many e-commerce sites, Christmas is the most important time of the year. People buy far more products in the run up to Christmas than they generally do at any other time, and they’re often looking for products very different from the ones they usually buy.
This means that swathes of people hit the internet in the run-up to Christmas looking for the perfect gift, for decorations, for food, for drink, or for anything else that promises to make their Christmas that bit more special.
In fact, the festive season can contribute as much as 20-40 percent of a retailer’s annual revenue. So it’s critically important that you have a plan for, and that you’re capable of, getting your Christmas selling right.
The time to start getting ready is now. With over two months before December 25th, you still have time to put in place everything you need to make sure your Christmas sales period is a success.
But don’t wait too long. Some people start their Christmas shopping early, and, though Christmas itself is a fairly long way off, the run-up to Christmas (generally thought of as starting on November 1st) is not that far off at all.
In case you’re not sure what you need to do, we’ve listed five Christmas and delivery tips so that you can make sure that you have everything in place.
1. Be Honest About Delivery Times and Offer Express Parcel Delivery
The run-up to Christmas can be a nightmare for many parcel delivery services, couriers, and retailers. News stories of companies that got overwhelmed are fairly commonplace, and disappointed consumers are quick to get angry and blame stores.
The problem is that many e-commerce stores are not used to dealing with the number of orders they’re likely to get in the Christmas period. And it’s all too easy for them to bite off more than they can chew, to promise the hasty delivery of goods that simply won’t get there on time.
To avoid these issues, you need to:
- Calculate the maximum amount of orders you can realistically process in a day
- Communicate a realistic delivery date (including a few days buffer)
- Talk to your parcel delivery service or courier to find out what’s possible
- Keep an eye on the weather
Once you have all of this in place, you should be in a position to confidently take and fulfil Christmas orders.
Unfortunately, however, many Christmas shoppers leave their shopping quite late. So, to make sure that you can capitalise on these Johnny-come-latelies, you need to offer express delivery. Frantic consumers will be more than happy to pay the excess. So make sure you can give them what they want.
2. Have Good Product Images
As an e-commerce store operator, it shouldn’t come as news to you that good product images can boost your conversion rates.
This is especially true when it comes to your Christmas selling. Consumers may be looking for something quite specific, or something that they wouldn’t normally buy. Being able to see a product clearly can be decisive when it comes to deciding whether a product is for them.
There is no blueprint for a good product picture. Some products may be best presented in use, whilst other may look better on a plain white background. Still, all good product pictures:
- Are high quality (i.e., in focus, well-lit, and well positioned)
- Display the product clearly (with little or no background, and with the product in the centre of the shot)
- And of the right size (pictures that are too big take too long to load, pictures that are too small will be hard to see or look fuzzy when enlarged)
3. Offer Christmas Promotions
Christmas promotions are a great way to draw traffic to your site. Offer a genuinely good deal (even if it only lasts for a day or so) and you should see site traffic and conversions increase.
But avoid covering your entire site with gaudy popups and clickables. Instead promote deals on social media, introduce a Christmas section to you navigation and offer deals there, and launch deals gradually so that you keep interest levels piqued.
4. Extend Your Returns Policy
We’ve all been there, receiving that present that you already have, which doesn’t fit, or which you really, really just don’t like.
In fact, many shoppers worry about whether the product they pick is going to go down well or not. If they’re on the fence, then offering a long returns period could mean the difference between making a sale or not.
If you choose to extend your returns policy, you should promote this fact site-wide – and especially in the basket since this may remove any concerns shoppers have.
Make sure your returns policy covers until at least mid-January so that people will feel they’re giving their loved one time to make a return if they want to.
5. Mark Black Friday and Cyber Monday on Your Calendar
It’s good to have milestones or dates to work toward. Two of the biggest are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Originally American phenomena, both these two shopping-mad days have, for better or for worse, well and truly spread to the UK. Last year consumers spent £810 million on Black Friday, and £720 million on Cyber Monday.
To make the most of the hype, it may be a good idea to have specific social media advertising campaigns for these two events. Similarly, promote specific Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in the run-up to both of them.
Christmas is an important time of the year for most e-commerce store operators. And getting prepared is the only way to make the most from the Christmas selling period. We hope our five tips have provided you with some inspiration for how to prepare.
Now, get busy. Christmas is coming!
How are you preparing for the Christmas period? Let us know your tips with a comment.