While the summer tries to make a stuttering start we thought it was about time to start thinking about how to maximise Christmas performance. As with all things, a successful ecommerce Christmas relies on careful planning and doing simple things well.
So, with apologies for bringing up Christmas in July, here are our top tips for getting prepared for the Christmas rush ahead of time:
- Mine Your Data - Your most valuable resource for deciding what you should do next Christmas is data you have from last Christmas. Look at who bought from you and when in previous years. Use this build build segments for your email campaigns. Review what products you sold most of last year. Can these categories be expanded? Are there any categories that didn't sell well? Additionally, review which promotions worked the best; what times of year and what types of promotion were they?
- Last posting dates - Speak to your couriers now. You may not have checked, but Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, which means that the week before will be critical to your business. Yet with DPD stating in Feb 2016 that they where already at capacity that week, based on contracted volumes, don't just assume that all will be well for you.
- Embrace PPC - You might not normally use PPC but at Christmas it can be a great way to cut through the competition and boost traffic and sales. Customers are more likely to convert at Christmas which means better margins than the rest of the year. Google Shopping feeds, Remarketing Lists and image ads can take time to get right, especially if you have to go through external developers and designers so give yourself plenty of time to set these up.
- Optimise Mobile & Tablet - 40% of ecommerce transactions last December were on mobile of tablet. We would hope that everybody has a responsive mobile template by now but are you doing everything you can to make it easy to buy from you on mobile? Adding simple payment solutions like Paypal can give your conversion rates a real boost.
- Improve Conversion with Plugins - Basket Abandonment functionality and review software, like Feefo or Trustpilot, are proven to improve conversion rates. We've seen great results with both types of software. If you want to get the most out of these improvements before Christmas, you're going to have to get coding and testing soon. (The same goes for mobile and tablet changes!). We recommend a 'code freeze' in Q4 to prevent any unexpected bugs and changes taking down the site during peak business.