Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most important dates in the eCommerce store owner’s year. It’s a time for joy, merriment, and spending. Lots and lots of spending.
Last year, 2014, £12.8 billion was spent by consumers online in the run up to Christmas. That’s almost a £2-billion increase on 2013’s Christmas eCommerce spending of £10.91 billion. In fact, according to data from the Centre for Retail Research’s Shopping for Christmas 2014 survey, many retailers make more than half their annual sales in the months leading up to the big day.
And it’s not hard to see why more consumers are going online to get their gifts and other holiday bits. Some of the best deals are available online – especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – and online shoppers have the luxury of avoiding queues, are less likely to miss out on popular items, and are often able to find more specialised, unique items than they would on the high-street.
Since the Christmas period is fast approaching, we thought we’d list our top seven eCommerce selling tips so that you can make sure you’re able to make the most of the festive season. Whilst, for most people, Christmas is a time of expense, for the savvy eCommerce store owner, it can be quite the opposite.
Preparation is Key
In order to make the most of the festive season, you need to make sure that you’re prepared for it. The run-up to Christmas should be one of your, if not the, biggest annual focus points.
This means that you need to know what you’re going to do – to have a thorough and well-thought out strategy – as early as possible. And this means knowing what deals you will offer and when, how you will promote your deals and business in general, and a realistic prediction of what you want to achieve.
Read our 4 Tips to Get Ready for Black Friday article for more in-depth preparation ideas.
Review Data and Analytics
How did your store perform last Christmas? What really worked well? What could you do better?
The best way to answer such questions is to look at figures. As an eCommerce store owner, you should absolutely be collecting and reviewing analytics data about your store’s performance.
Having good, detailed analytics should help you decide on what sort of promotions you’ll offer this year, what advertising techniques you’ll pursue, and should give you a rough idea about how much stock to order.
Our blog, 6 Essential Tools for Ecommerce Store Owners, has more information about how to collect good analytics data.
Update your Inventory
Christmas buyers often want the newest, best, and most up-to-date items. So it’s important that you’re not offering old or inferior goods. It doesn’t matter what industry you operate in, make sure that you have the most desirable products ready to sell. This is especially important if you sell technology or homeware.
Also, be sure to buy in any appropriate fad items. Last year over a quarter of a million personalised Nutella jars were sold in the run-up to Christmas. So, whilst you may not be able to get your hands on that particular product, it shows just how important tapping into fads can be.
Christmas shoppers are likely forking out for goods all over the place. And, whilst that’s a good thing, it also means that they are more likely to be tempted by a good deal.
Online Christmas shoppers are a savvy bunch and are almost guaranteed to compare prices before making a purchase. In fact, research suggests that 81 percent of online shoppers compare prices between stores before making a big purchase.
So make sure your prices are competitive and use tempting discounts to draw shoppers in.
Social media sites are huge. They attract millions of users from all over the globe and, rather handily, often offer businesses a way to isolate and advertise to particular demographics.
If you’re serious about improving your Christmas sales, it’s essential that you take your social media marketing to the next level in the festive period.
We’ve written a comprehensive guide to social media marketing for eCommerce here.
Decorate Your Online Store
The Christmas spirit is responsible for loosening people’s purse strings in the run-up to Christmas. And it’s a huge comedown to reach a store that’s bland, un-festive, and dull.
It’s important that you keep spirits up when consumers land on your page. Though it may mean hiring a professional web designer, adding a few new Christmas features, a slight change of colour scheme, including a festive greeting, and adding some pleasing yuletide graphics will keep consumers in the right mood.
Don’t be a Scrooge.
There are now over 1,600 million mobile internet users in the world. So failing to cater to mobile surfers is a huge mistake. After “mobilegeddon”, Google even prioritises pages that are mobile optimised over those that aren’t. It’s crucial, therefore, that your site gives mobile users a pleasant experience. So, if you haven’t already, you need to get mobile-optimised – now!
Christmas is an exciting time for eCommerce store owners. But you need to put in the work in order to get the biggest rewards. By following the steps outlined here, you will put yourself in a strong position. There’s still time to prepare. However, every day that passes brings us nearer to the big day. So make sure you’re being proactive, planning and implementing you Christmas strategy. Do that, and this Christmas could be your best yet.
Are you doing anything to prepare your eCommerce store for Christmas? If so, what? And if not, why? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know with a comment.