5 top tips to maximise your online Christmas sales in December

boost online christmas salesChristmas is knocking at the door.

We are already a few weeks into the key Christmas sales period but if you aren’t fully up and running with your Christmas promotions quite yet, then don’t worry there is still time to give those seasonal sales a bit of an extra push. This week ShopIntegrator takes a look at how your small ecommerce business can maximise sales with some easy to implement tips.

Online sales predictions for 2015

If predictions are correct 2015 is looking like another booming year for ecommerce in the UK. Researchers forecast 12% market growth and £116bn will be spent online. With many retailers creating over half of their yearly sales and profits in the three months prior to Christmas, making the most of your online presence is paramount. Indeed, according to the Centre for Retail Research last year in the UK online retail accounted for almost one-quarter (23.4%) of Christmas spending with online sales rising from £14.93 bn (2013) to £17.37 billion in 2014 – a very healthy growth of 19.5%.

5 tips to maximise your online sales this holiday season

The great news is that according to National Federation of Retailers 20% of us don’t intend to start their Christmas shopping until December and actually the busy day online isn’t Cyber Monday but the Monday or Tuesday a week or two before Christmas. So implementing a few tips now could still help boost your profits over the Christmas period.

1. Jolly up your website

First stop is your website. When potential customers arrive at your site you want to keep them in a Christmas frame of mind. Adding some appropriate seasonal graphics and images will help create the right environment to promote your Christmas products. Take a look at Tiffany’s home page. It creates the perfect environment for its brand at Christmas.

christmas homepage

Having a separate Christmas page that showcases the products that make great gifts works really well. Helping customers with the decision-making process is essential so spend some time categorising products into relevant groups. For example:

  • Gifts for Her
  • Gifts for Children
  • Gifts for Teenagers
  • Gifts for Him
  • Gifts that Sparkle
  • Gifts for Food Fanatics
  • Stocking Fillers.

Not only will this inspire customers, it can push them along the road to making a decision. For a successful example checkout notonthehighstreet.com’s christmas page.

 

online christmas sales

 

2. Spread christmas cheer on social media

Social media is a great way to communicate with your customers during the Christmas season. As a marketing tool it is low-cost and a very quick way to get your message across. Use social media to inspire with creative gift ideas, highlight any special offers and promotions and communicate helpful information such as reminders about key christmas delivery dates.

And don’t forget social media is the perfect channel to spread some Christmas cheer amongst your customers. It’s a chance to be a bit lighthearted and tap into all the seasonal excitement. Try running a festive contest, create christmas mood boards, share seasonal quotes and offer handy Christmas related tips and advice. To build engagement further open up discussions with fun questions like ‘What was inside your Santa’s stocking when you were a child?”.

Pinterest is all about the visual so a strong presence works particularly well this time of year. Create special Christmas boards and pins to showcase your wares.

Here are a couple of Pinterest examples from notonthehighstreet.com and Stella and Dot.

pinterest christmas boards

 

 

christmas pins on pinterest

 

3. Open a yuletide Facebook StoreOpen a Facebook shop

Think about opening a Facebook store in time for Christmas. With over 1.55 billion monthly active users it’s an excellent way to introduce an additional sales channel for your seasonal products. The great thing about a Facebook store is that you can strike whilst the iron is hot. Rather than having to whisk engaged customers off to your website to make a purchase you can sell to them directly off your Facebook page.

It doesn’t take long to set up a Facebook page either. Checkout ShopIntegrator’s guide to opening a Facebook shop.

4. Ho Ho Ho your emails

Get busy with your email marketing this christmas. Email is an essential part of a small business owners marketing toolkit. Flexible and cost-effective it one of the most effective ways communicate with your customers this season.

Gift ideas. You’ve probably already categorised your gifts on your website so now is the time to use email to inspire customers with your gift ideas. Here is a great example of an email I received from online clothing retailer Boden that does just that.

Boden: It’s just not Christmas without new pyjamas

christmas email

Countdown: Creating a sense of urgency in your emails as Christmas approaches is a great way to encourage conversion. Try sending out emails that count down the shopping days until Christmas.  Here is a fun and creative example from gift retailer notonthehighstreet.com.

notonthehighstreet.com: Nine more sleeps till the unwrapping starts

urgency emails

Last minute shoppers. There will always be a healthy proportion of shoppers who will leave everything to the last-minute. Offering guaranteed delivery a few days before christmas is very attractive to just such customers. Just be absolutely sure you can keep that delivery promise!

Sending an email to  customers reminding them of your last posting dates to guarantee a Christmas delivery is a good way to encourage those who are thinking of making a purchase to get on and do it.

Seasons greetings to your customers. After all the sales promotion emails it is a nice idea to send out a little christmas spirit  to show your customers you appreciate them. Sending out an e-card to customers and suppliers adds a personal touch and reminds then that they are important to you.

discounts, coupons and voucher codes5. Happy holiday promotions

At such a key time of year online businesses are all competing to win customers. A great short-term sales tactic way to boost your seasonal sales conversions is through offering special holiday promotions such as online vouchers, discount codes and e-coupons.

We all love to feel we’ve got a bargain especially during Christmas when it feels like money is literally flying out of our wallets. Special offers such as online discount vouchers can help encourage us to take our shopping cart to the checkout – especially if there is a deadline looming for the discount.

There are all sorts of variations you can use – popular ones include:

  • Free delivery and returns
  • Buy one get one half price
  • Save 25% 
  • Spend over £100 and get £10 off
  • 3 for 2 offers

Just remember if you are offering discounts to make sure you have done your sums first  and have read the guidelines laid out by the British Code of Sales Promotions and Direct Marketing.

Hopefully we’ve given you a few easy to implement ideas to help give your ecommerce sales a bit of a boost during what we hope will be a busy and profitable season for online businesses.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on maximising sales at Christmas. So please do leave  a comment.

 

 

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Make sure your online business gets a bite of the apple this Valentine’s day

valentines day image

The days of grabbing some last minute flowers from the local petrol station on the way home from work are long gone. Nowadays, Valentine’s day is seriously big business. According to statistics 180 million cards are exchanged on Valentine’s day and the average annual Valentine’s day spending is a staggering $13.19 billion.

Growth in online Valentine’s s day purchases

For the past few years UK and US online Valentine’s day sales have been grown steadily year-on-year. In the UK alone it is estimated that 1 out 3 shoppers will go online for their Valentine’s day purchase. So if you are an online business offering something that would make a great Valentine’s day gift or experience then you really can’t afford not to tap in to this lucrative seasonal surge.

Valentine’s day is not just for the chocolate and card industries

And, don’t just think Valentine’s day is only of relevance to the card, flower and chocolate industries. These days popular Valentine’s day presents are surprisingly diverse –  from jewellery to electronics, clothing to pets. Yes, pet shops take note, in the US an eye watering $367 million is spent on pets on Valentine’s day.

Take inspiration from other websites

So, what can you do as a small business to get in on the act? A good starting point is getting some inspiration from other websites. There is a great deal that can be learnt from looking at websites that have been established for a while or who have a large marketing team and budget behind them. Assessing other sites can provide you with great insight and is a good way to generate ideas – even if you have to pare them down or adapt them to meet your own business requirements. Here are a few websites that we at ShopIntegrator think do Valentine’s day well:

Valentine’s day up your online business

  • Website: Give your website a Valentine’s day feel and focus by introducing some relevant images and graphics. When customers come to your website they should immediately be able to see where your Valentine’s day selection is. Remember, customers shouldn’t have to think to hard once they’re on your website. Categorise gifts where you can and try and help customers with their purchase by inspiring them with gift ideas ‘gifts for him’,  ‘gifts for her’ ‘gifts under £25’ and so on. And, as with any seasonal deadline, make sure last shipping and delivery dates are clear for your customers to see – shoppers will not want their Valentine’s day purchases turning up after the event.
  • Special Valentine’s day offers: Used sensibly, special offers can be a good way to pull in customers. Perhaps think about motivating customers with a Valentine’s day promotion as an added incentive.  For example a small free gift with every purchase  over a certain value or introduce discount codes and sales vouchers with free shipping and delivery,  percentage off or multi-buy savings. Just remember to factor in all your costs before introducing any promotions.  Although offers may generate more sales, your profit margins could be effected.

“People who receive gift cards often spend more than the value of the card

  • Spread the word: Telling your customers about what you are doing is essential. Use all your available digital marketing tools to spread the word.  Send out Valentine’s day related emails and promote your special offers on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and  all your other social media sites. And if you have a blog then why not use it to entice customers in. Not on the High Street. com have cleverly used their blog to inspire customers and to tap into the whole Valentine’s day phenomenon with fun and relevant posts.

Plan ahead your seasonal promotions

It is important think ahead and plan for seasonal surges such as Valentine’s day. Most industries have times when sales peak. You need to identify these periods in order to ensure you maximise the opportunities they can offer your business. And remember one of the benefits of being an online business is that you have a global audience – so try to think globally and culturally. Once you identify your best seasonal periods and start examining all the possible opportunities, you’ll be surprised at just how creative you can get.

Image courtesy of Claire Bloomfield at FreeDigitalPhotos.com

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