With Winter almost upon us it’s time to think towards the Xmas market and get your website or e-commerce site ‘blinged up’ for the festive season ahead.
Christmas offers one of the most lucrative times for e-commerce shops and what better way to make it appealing to the Christmas shoppers than to embrace the festive spirit and throw some Santa’s at it’s design! Why stop at Christmas? Halloween is close so why not embrace every festival and holiday throughout the year and see how it improves the freshness of your site.
But to prepare for the Christmas market in particular, what are some steps you could take for your online business?
Timing : It’s no use waiting until the Christmas week to prepare your website. Highstreet shops start getting ready from September onwards and so should your online shop. My own Christmas shopping patterns involve a lot of surfing online and going back to online shops a few times before purchase and I doubt I am alone in this. With this in mind it is worth getting the Xmas theme going as soon as possible to give maximum festive exposure for your Christmas products.
Deliver in good time : Make sure your customers know when their cut off dates for delivery before Xmas are and allow for seasonal delays. Nothing would be worse for business than items not being delivered in time for the big day. Maybe consider an express delivery option for last minute shoppers and send recorded delivery if you can to give both you and your customer peace of mind and the ability to track the parcel.
Christmas Specific : Get some Christmas specific categories added to your cart with all your special offers and gift sets etc clearly advertised. Consider stocking fillers too and if you can try and add a ‘search by price’ option to encompass all budgets and reasons for purchasing. Consider your product as well for example the HairCareShop sells great Christmas gift products for friends and family but it also provides a whole host of hair care products for you too such as travel straighteners for party perfect hair – let you customers treat themselves too.
Wrap it up : Don’t overlook the power of free gift wrapping. On researching this (friends and family as the guinea pigs) it was blatantly obvious that taking away the ‘chore’ of wrapping a gift would be enough to sway most of the males in the focus group. Thinking about it, I could have saved time researching this as in 10 years I have yet to have a hand wrapped gift from my Fiance and to quote him “why would I? The girls in John Lewis do it so much better” hmmm…
Easy Fast Shopping : Let your clients find products as easily as possible with clearly defined sales paths. For example, add in a ‘Gifts for her’, ‘Gifts for him’ etc section and add bright, eye-catching graphics to the homepage to let people browse appropriate sections and gather gift ideas as easily and quickly as possible. After all, If I were looking for a musical instrument Christmas gift I wouldn’t know where to start however, to go onto a music shop website that had a section for Guitar gifts, Childrens gifts etc it would help immensly.
Boxing Day Brighten Up : When Christmas is over and January seems to be stretching long into the future, brighten up your customers Boxing Day with new year offers and specials. If this doesn’t seem appealing then consider this; On Christmas day 2007 an estimated £84m was spent online with an average purchase of £19.99 – what e-commerce cart can afford not to be a part of that!
To give you a flavour of the difference the suggestions can make please take time to have a look at the screenshots below. Item one is the HairCareShop as it is on a day to day basis and Item two is the HairCareShop in all it’s Christmas glory using the majority of the techniques described above.
Enjoy the run up to Christmas and if you don’t stop by again before 2009 then have a great holiday!