7 ways to make your eCommerce store a hit this Christmas

Aran Reeks
By Aran Reeks
11 Sep 2014

How was last Christmas for your business? Was it a rip-roaring success that gave you a warm glow through to the end of January, or more like a damp party-popper that never quite popped?

Christmas is a peak sales period. Its a one-off opportunity to grab potential sales that just wont be there the rest of the year.

If you want a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons you should already be planning your eCommerce tactics.  Here are 6 initiatives you should be implementing for this year and one really important one that might have to be planned for Christmas 2015.

Make Better Use of Google

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How clear are you about the specific search terms related to your products that people use in the run-up to Christmas? Before you even think about what AdWords and Google Shopping promotions you might run during November and December, dive into the Keyword Planner and make sure you understand how different potential keywords performed in the run-up to last Christmas.

The keywords you need to use for Christmas campaigns may not be the same ones you focus on the rest of the year.

As always, don’t just look for the biggest number of searches; these may be prohibitively expensive. Investigate a few long-tail terms that might be more directly relevant to your specific products, services or target customers. 

For many eCommerce businesses, Christmas is a peak sales period. It’s a one-off opportunity to grab potential sales that just won’t be there the rest of the year. A well planned AdWords campaign will make all the difference - but there’s no point starting to think about it in November.

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Similarly with remarketing, online sales grow every year and more people than ever will be trawling through the internet looking for inspiration and gift ideas. And more than ever consumers will decide to shop online rather than brave the High Streets and malls. 

Online shoppers will visit many sites (possibly dozens), and they might forget what they saw where. That’s why you need to have everything in place to start building intelligent remarketing lists right now so you can exploit the Google Display Network. You also need to design your remarketing Ads before the start of the Christmas rush leaves you with no time to do it properly. 

Retargeting on Social Media

How many of your target customers are active on Facebook or Twitter? Possibly more than you think. Advertising on Facebook and Twitter offers the potential to serve your product ads to highly targeted audiences. 

Facebook Ads can be targeted at people based on a whole host of demographics, interests and online behaviours. You can even target specific adverts to people who visited a specific product page or service listing on your site.

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Advertising on Facebook offers opportunities to place ads either in the sponsored area on the right hand side of the page or as native ads directly in the news feed. Native ads cost more but fit more naturally into the Facebook user experience. You also have the option of running separate campaigns for desktop and mobile.

Facebook’s retargeting options include Website Custom Audiences (WCA). This allows you to re-target specific ads at people who have visited particular areas of your website.

And remember mobile! This is where many people choose to carry out their social media activity. Data collected by retargeting platform AdRoll suggests that native Facebook ads on mobile are not only cheaper per impression; they also enjoy higher click-through rates than desktop.

Where native and social media advertising fail to deliver a return it’s often down to insufficiently accurate targeting of the ads. Services like AdRoll can make the process relatively easy to manage and help you get your Christmas marketing campaigns in front of the most appropriate eyes.

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And the new ‘Buy Now’ button on Facebook should make it easier to turn impressions directly into sales. If you’ve never tried retargeting via Facebook, Christmas 2014 could be the time to start.

Abandoned Cart Emails

Even if you opt to do most of your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your sofa it can still be a hectic business. Online shoppers will start shopping carts on many different sites, often just so they can group different options together for comparison and selection.

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Having started a cart people sometimes get distracted or end up browsing on a different eCommerce site. Well targeted and executed abandoned cart emails could be just what people need when they are running out of time and ideas - reminding them of gifts they had been actively considering buying.

You can learn more about how to recover sales from abandoned carts here:
/blog/eCommerce-abandoned-cart-emails-that-work

Email Marketing

When people are searching for inspiration and ideas, marketing newsletters can be more welcome than usual.  Christmas should be one time of the year when you can capitalise on all that email address data you’ve been collecting (and hopefully segmenting). Email should be an essential part of your Christmas marketing plans.

But, as always, it needs to be done well and professionally. Start designing your templates now so you can easily populate them with the seasonal products you want to promote when the time comes. Don’t wait until you’re too busy to do the job properly.

Here are a few simple, but often overlooked messages to include in your Christmas email campaigns:

  1. Christmas delivery cut-off times
  2. Top products for the customer, typically based on either past items they’ve purchased or items they’ve recently viewed.
  3. If your product range is well suited, make sure to push the smaller, lower value items for stocking fillers too - these are often overlooked. Then push your upsells when the customer comes to your website.
  4. Timed offers and Discount codes - Free delivery discounts and percentage off offers are always almost always a welcome surprise when they pop into your inbox in the months leading up to Christmas.
  5. Weekly offers

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On-site Promotions

When somebody arrives on your site in November or December what will they see? The same old home page they would see the rest of the year. Plan now how you are going to use your site to highlight seasonal offers and promotions.

Make sure your seasonal best sellers are highlighted in your page headers, especially on your homepage so people don’t have to go searching for them. Ensure there are clear and obvious Calls to Action (CTAs) so people can click straight through to make a purchase.

It’s always worth sharing out your competitions wherever possible, creating a well written blog post containing a simple Christmas offer can be a great way to do so. This can then be shared out onto other external deal sites to help boost your traffic and sales.

Lets face it, I’m sure most of us are guilty at one time or another from searching online for ideas for a friend or loved one during the Christmas period. Deal sites are a very commonly searched place so make sure you’re on them. Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Hot UK Deals
  2. Voucher Codes
  3. VoucherCloud

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Gift Vouchers

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We all have those friends and relatives who are difficult to buy for. We know the things they are interested in or enjoy; we know the brands they like to buy; we possibly even know the places they like to shop. But could we possibly, ever, hope to select their perfect present? One that won’t duplicate something they already own and would match their exact needs and preferences.

Often what these people prefer is a voucher, so they can choose exactly what they want or need after the Christmas rush instead of receiving random but well-intentioned gifts.

If you’re selling goods such as apparel, where personal taste is critical, or specialist goods where specific technical features are important, a gift voucher service offered via your eCommerce website is essential. And arguably it makes sense for any brand.

Gift vouchers used to be a pain for eCommerce businesses involving a lot of manual handling, postage and hassle. But now there are plenty of electronic solutions that your eCommerce web agency could implement. These offer secure payment and distribution via email, SMS or Facebook.

Make your site responsive

This is the one for 2015, as it’s clearly not feasible to design, build, test, and launch a mobile responsive site, and ensure it’s running at it’s best in time for the busy Christmas period. But mobile eCommerce isn’t going away.

Every survey points to the fact that traffic from smartphones and tablets is overtaking PCs. Sites such as Shopify have already seen mobile traffic outrstrip desktops and this is a trend that’s certainly going to continue. 

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People are becoming happier with shopping online using a mobile device. As more opportunities for one-click ordering - such as the facility offered through Sage Pay - come on stream, the final usability barriers to shopping with a smartphone are likely to dissolve.

So if you aren’t ready for mobile eCommerce this Christmas, you probably want to start making sure you’re ready for it next year. Which might mean making a fully responsive eCommerce site your first New Year’s resolution.

Following these tips will not only help you fatten your Christmas goose, they might just turn it into one that lays golden eggs - and the Evosite team is on hand to help.

If you want to talk with the Evosite team about how they can help your eCommerce store this Christmas please get in touch with us on 01823 278 500.