The predictions are in and by all accounts Christmas 2013 looks set to be a record year for online retailers. So, as we go full steam ahead into the busiest shopping period of the year, ask yourself whether you are making the most of the opportunities Christmas presents to maximise your online sales.
A record Christmas for online sales
Forecasts indicate that consumer spending will break through the £10 bn mark for the first time this year as internet shopping will account for the largest ever share of sales . Retailers are already coming in with glowing pre-christmas sales reports. Indeed, John Lewis has announced a 23.7% year-on-year growth in eccomerce sales, with 31% of the £101.4m made in the week in question were from sales made online.
Monday 2nd December – Cyber Monday – is just a few days away and looks set to be the busiest online shopping day of the year. Therefore we thought it was the opportune moment to offer some timely tips to help you take advantage of this record breaking period and increase your Christmas sales.
7 tips to boost your sales and keep your customers happy this Christmas
1. ‘Christmas up’ your Website
Get into the Christmas spirit and inspire your customers by making your website Christmas friendly. Creating a festive feel with the use of some appropriate graphics sets the right atmosphere and helps create a relevant environment for Christmas shopping.
Identify the products that will make great Christmas gifts and create a Christmas page where you can showcase them. Make things easy for customers and categorise products so they are easy to find under headings such as; gifts for him, gifts for her, gifts for kids, gifts for foodies, gifts under £20, sticking fillers – you get my drift. This helps inspire customers with gift ideas and can help motivate them to buy.
Don’t be afraid to look at what your competitors are doing and to take some inspiration from other bigger websites like John Lewis and Not on the High Street .com that do Christmas really well.
2. Be multi-device friendly this Christmas
“Online retailers also need to be mindful of the need to provide a consistent multi-channel experience to shoppers across all devices” Digital Strategy Consulting
According to the latest research findings from IBM the volume of traffic to UK retail websites has grown 60% year-on-year (October 2012 – October 2013) and sales from mobiles is up 80% in the same period. Therefore, it is more important than ever to make sure your website is equally well viewed on whatever device your customer is using to browse or buy from your online shop – whether laptop, mobile, tablet or desktop.
You may have a fantastic Christmas friendly website selling a multitude of great products but if it can’t be viewed effectively on the device the customer is using at the time, then you may lose the customer and the potential sale.
3. Special christmas promotions – discount codes and special offers
Christmas shoppers are on the hunt for good deals so now is the time to entice customers to your website and motivate them to purchase with some special Christmas promotions. For example use discount codes and sales vouchers to offer special Christmas savings such as percentage off, multi-buy savings, free delivery and limited time money-off discounts.
4. Entice customers with Christmas friendly shipping and delivery
Getting shipping and delivery right at Christmas is hugely important. Offering free shipping is great but only if the product gets to the recipient in time for Christmas. Give customers peace of mind by being very clear about estimated delivery dates. Remember at Christmas the sheer volume of packages results in longer delivery times. Build this into your delivery estimations so as not to disappoint customers. Why not consider click and collect options for your customers. They may find this more more convenient than waiting at home for a delivery.
Communicate with your customers, send email status up-dates letting customers know when their products have dispatched. And most importantly don’t forget to make sure you state the last day for guaranteed Christmas delivery. As we’ve already mentioned, not getting their purchase in time for Christmas is a huge frustration for customers. Reinforce your last shipping dates on you website, social media sites and in email communciations. Perhaps consider a Christmas delivery countdown such as – 11 shipping days to go.
5. Don’t forget stock and resources
With all your offers and promotions – take time to think about your stock and staffing levels . Identify the products most likely to sell (last years Christmas sales figures should help) and make sure you are managing your stock to meet any uplift in sales. Also, with increased orders do you have enough hands to fulfil and despatch orders in time to meet your promised deadlines? Think about taking on some temporary staff or rope in family and friends to help if necessary.
6. Promote, promote, promote
Christmas is the time to go all out with your marketing. You need to make sure your offers are communicated effectively to customers. There is no point implementing great offers and incentives if your customers remain unaware of them. Shout your promotions from the rooftops using your website, all your social media channels and email. As a small business all these tools are low-cost and effective ways to get your messages out. Keep promoting, refreshing and pushing your messages throughout the entire Christmas shopping season.
7. Don’t forget last-minute shoppers
There is a large proportion of shoppers that do their Christmas shopping at the last minute in the week before Christmas so try and think of creative ways of enticing them in for some extra last minute sales. Perhaps offer next day delivery options or promote some last minute offers. You could even think about a last minute Christmas shopping promotion – perhaps a special offer and some last minute gift ideas for customers.
Christmas 2013 looks like a great year for online businesses so we wish you some very happy and healthy Christmas sales.
We’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this post, so please do leave a comment