eCommerce Christmas advice from the experts: make the most of the seasonal period and make more money than ever.
If you are just thinking about your eCommerce Christmas strategy then you are already running late this year. Most top eCommerce stores will have been planning this time of year for the last couple of months already. Actually, many of them work year-round to make December their most profitable month. Why? Because Christmas is the most fruitful time of year for selling online. Fact. The Christmas period offers a massive opportunity for online shops, with more people shopping online than ever before. In the UK last year (2014), 40% of Christmas shopping was done online. Over twenty billion pounds was spent on eCommerce websites in the eight weeks leading up to Christmas and a further £810 million spent online on Black Friday alone! A huge opportunity for Shopify store owners to get organized and make a profit. However planning can seem a bit bewildering at times.
Don't worry, we have made eCommerce Christmas simple!
To make the most of these seasonal opportunities, your marketing plan is crucial and needs to cater for the month of December throughout the year. Plus you will want to think about ways to maximize the opportunities available after the season is over. You need to set the wheels in motion almost as soon as Christmas has ended. It may seem like lots of effort to plan for Christmas all year round. Therefore we have taken the time to give you a yearly strategy, that focuses on the run-up to Christmas, but also how you should be preparing throughout the year too. Getting you completely in the know for next year. You can print this guide out for your employees to study so they get a good idea of what they are gearing up for.
Key Tasks: June/July until September
Begin Christmas eCommerce Research
The summer in the Northern hemisphere can be quite a quiet time for online shopping, unless you sell holiday clothing or seasonal related goods. This is because many people are trying to save money for there impending holiday. Or the weather is nice so they are on their phone/computer less and hitting the shops more. Therefore you can take a bit more time to do some seasonal market research.
If your Shopify store has been running for several years, you will have a good idea when demand is highest for your products. Take some look at last year's data. Where did most of your sales come from and what trended?
If this is your first or just second Christmas in business, you may find it useful to look at Google trends to see when people start searching for gifts in your niche. This will show you the top months that your products will probably sell, therefore you can make sure to promote these to get more sales.
The summer is also the ideal time to complete you keyword research and create and optimize your product pages. Onsite optimization is how users find your store through search engines. Without onsite optimization, it is unlikely that your store will rank in Google. However SEO is not a race, it takes a while for onsite optimization to take effect, and therefore you need to begin early to be in a strong position for Christmas. Need help with Shopify onsite optimization? We can help you there!
Get your Shopify blog in gear
Get a content plan together to rank for the terms people will be searching for when the holiday period arrives. It takes time for content to get ranked and appear on search engines, so don’t leave this too late! Create interesting and engaging articles around your subjects to rank highly on search engines, and also to entice real shoppers. This will really aid the health of your Shopify store too.
Optimize your Shopify store's mobile experience
Seventy-five percent of users now online shop on their mobile phone or tablet and this number is expected to keep on rising. To maximize any sales opportunities it’s vital your Shopify store is mobile friendly. Go through the complete purchase process on a mobile and tablet and fix any glitches now. You are risking around three quarters of your eCommerce Christmas sales if you do not.
Create your eCommerce Christmas marketing plan
Plan your Christmas based campaigns, choose which channels you will utilize, and map out exactly what will happen and when. Consider:
– What promotions, offers and sales you will run this Christmas period.
– What emails you will send and to what segments of your mailing list.
– When the website content, landing pages and banners need to be created or updated.
– What you will share on social media to engage your followers.
– What PPC adverts and social media advertising you will run.
– Any blog content you need to create on the run up to Christmas.
October is the prime month to make sure you summer plans get into check.
Kick off your planned eCommerce marketing campaigns
Now is the time to start rolling out your Christmas marketing campaigns, if you haven’t begun already. It is definitely not time to put up your Christmas holiday theme though! Prepping marketing campaigns should NOT include tinsel and sparkling logos in October. It just means that you, as a store owner, should be aware that people are already researching and buying their Christmas purchases and so now is a good time to run offers. The most “Christmas” it should get is to encourage people to get their shopping done before the rush. Google found that a quarter start their Christmas shopping before Halloween, with nearly half (48%) completing the majority of their shopping before Cyber Monday.
Build up your email marketing list and followers
Focus on capturing the details of those on your website and social media followers ready for Christmas. This is so you can market to them closer to the date. Try offering free delivery or 10% off the first order in return for email sign up or run a competition on social media. We love the Shopify application Soundest, which helps you set up re-marketing emails and sign up forms from just $14 per month. Perfect!
Update your delivery and returns information
Your delivery and returns info should be clear on your website in general, as it helps with conversion rates.
Read our full blog on improving conversion rates on Shopify here.
However at Christmas it is even more important to ensure your delivery and returns information is easily accessible and crystal clear. Shoppers are understandably more conscious of return policies and delivery timescales during the Christmas period, so reassure them that their purchases will arrive on time by including delivery times and costs on your product pages. Also try to give a gift returns policy too if you can.
Build website trust
Shoppers don’t want to take chances at Christmas time. It is a stressful period for many already. Make sure you have everything in place to reassure visitors that you are a trustworthy company with happy customers. Check your About page is up to date, encourage customers to leave reviews on your product pages.
November and December
Keep them coming back for more
In the upcoming period, the competition is extremely fierce. Now is the time to utilize the email marketing contacts you built up earlier in the year to keep your customers coming back to you with special deals, useful bundles or time saving offerings like gift wrapping.
Will you have a merry eCommerce Christmas 2016?
If you need any help with your SEO, content or more in 2016 then our Shopify experts will be ready and waiting to help you. We are certified Shopify marketing experts with years of experience when ramping up sales and visitors for our clients. From email marketing, to link building: we can aid you at affordable prices too.