On the 1st of November, 2012, LivePerson, Inc, announced the results of this year’s Holiday E-commerce survey. Of the 500 respondents, 63% said that they expected to do their Christmas shopping online.
Another key finding revealed that 45% of respondents indicated live chat as their preferred channel for engaging with the businesses and brands from whom they purchase. Email and 1-800 numbers came second (27%).
The fact that 63% would prefer to do Christmas shopping online reinforces the upward online shopping trend. This is great news for online retailers who are looking to win their slice of the e-commerce Christmas spend.
Based on the LivePerson survey findings and our own E-commerce experience, we’ve included a list of 10 things you can do to make the most of the Christmas period.
1. Add a live chat feature to your website
Not only did 45% of the survey respondents choose live chat as their preferred communication channel, but 94% of those who had previously used live chat said they were likely use it again while shopping this holiday season. Moreover, 40% of respondents said that they would likely use live chat on their mobile device if they needed assistance when shopping.
2. Make sure you have a social media presence
Of those that use social media for holiday shopping, 40% said that they would be using Twitter and Facebook to communicate with and to interact with companies. This might include tweeting a question or posting a comment on a company’s Facebook Fan page.
3. Design for a better mobile experience
While mobile usage for e-commerce purposes is certainly on the rise, in our own experience it’s only worth the investment if a large enough portion of the visitors to your e-commerce store are coming via mobile devices.
However, LivePerson’s Christmas E-commerce survey did find that 50% of respondents indicated it is important for a company to have a mobile-optimised website, or indeed, a mobile app.
Bear in mind that a mobile app is only a good idea if you’ve got something to actually turn into an app.
4. Tablets are getting big
According to the survey, 65% expect to use the tablet device as one of their two primary holiday shopping devices – the other devices being desktop/laptop computers.
As with mobiles, take a look at your Google Analytics account and check whether or not you have enough visitors coming through to your site to justify investing in a tablet-optimised design.
5. Adopt a festive feel
Just as high street stores spend a fortune on window displays, Christmas lighting and festive decorations, the online marketplace shouldn’t be any different. A few minor graphical changes can make a world of difference to how ‘Christmassy’ your online store looks and feels. Plus, it can’t hurt to remind consumers that Christmas is coming up soon. Get them thinking of all those presents they need to buy.
6. Highlight best sellers
Let your shoppers know what’s hot. It may be that they are looking for gift ideas and welcome some input. This is another great way to push specific products.
7. Tweak your on-page SEO
Making sure your site is geared toward the Christmas period is not just a good way to get your site listed in the SERPs as Christmas product searches increase, but it’s also a good way to get your regular customers thinking of Christmas.
Get Christmas related keywords inserted into your copy, your product descriptions, your meta description and your meta title.
In fact, why not think of taking a look into this season’s search trends? Google Trends is a fantastic place to start. I’ve just run a search for ‘gift ideas’ and narrowed the search down so that you can see that in the period beginning Jan 2008 and ending November 2012, the search for ‘gift ideas’ spikes over the Christmas period every year, without fail.
8. Stand out from the Christmas crowd
It’s not always the first Google listing that wins the business. Sometime it’s about standing out from the crowd – having something that makes you a little bit different.
According to e-commerce consultant James Gurd, offering free delivery on all orders is a good way to remove the biggest barriers to impulse and gift shopping purchases. It’s also a good way to hook browsers. Make sure you put ‘free delivery’ in your meta description so that it shows up in the search listings.
Another way to stand out from the crowd is to highlight any special services you offer. This might include gift wrapping options or personalised gift messages.
9. Be transparent
Make sure your shipping, return and exchange policy is transparent. According to the folk at Conversion Factory, you’re likely to capture more sales if stressed shoppers feel they can easily return a gift.
Being upfront about those additional charges will also help you decrease shopping cart abandonment rate – after all, no one likes a nasty surprise when they get to the final page of the checkout process and realise they actually have to pay another £10 pounds more than they thought.
10. Have a combination of marketing plans in place
From a PPC strategy geared toward the Christmas season, to a social media marketing plan that gets followers engaging, having a variety of marketing strategies for the festive period is essential. It’s a good way to connect with people, to share memories and to build a community around a brand.
Here are a few things you might consider doing:
- Adjust your corporate branding so that is has a Christmassy feel. If tweaking your logo is not something you want to try, at least have a bit of fun with your social media cover photos and images.
- Offer advice and tips on specific holiday related issues or challenges – like choosing gifts for the in-laws or entertaining on Christmas Day.
- Consider adding video to your marketing mix. In 2011 one of John Lewis’s videos kicked up a storm and went viral. It was great press coverage for the company who managed to get it right in total comparison to Littlewoods who got it so wrong. Both videos are posted below. Take a look and you’ll see the difference.
Christmas may be over but that doesn’t mean your work is
After the holiday season has come to an end, you need to make sure that you have got a strong marketing plan in place. Remember, January sales are another great opportunity to get rid of last year’s stock. You might even consider sending a few of your customers a voucher that they can redeem in January – perhaps 10% off or something similar?
Begin thinking about the next holiday period. Make sure you review what worked versus what did not work. The best way to learn is through experience.
If you’d like help maximising sales over Christmas, get in touch with us today.