For the retail sector, Christmas is the busiest time of year and their marketing calendars are usually planned months in advance. If you haven’t given Christmas much thought this year, don’t panic! There’s still just enough time to get your head in the festive game!
Black Friday is thought to be the busiest shopping day of the year, and is traditionally held on the last Friday in November when retailers host huge flash sales and offer enormous discounts! Black Friday initially only lasted 24 hours, however, retailers soon realised that they could reap in even more business if they extended their sales and discounts across the weekend. Cyber Monday takes place on the last Monday of November and is an extension of the Black Friday deals that consumers are so eager to get a piece of!
According to Net Imperative, in 2016 the UK’s total spend on Black Friday alone was a staggering £1.23bn, marking a 12.2% increase in Black Friday spend in 2015.
In recent years, in a bid to boost conversions and ramp up sales even further, online retailers have dragged out their Black Friday campaigns to span across an entire week, hosting Black Friday ‘warm up deals’. Across ‘Cyber Week’ in 2016 (between Monday 21st and Monday 28th November) the UK saw a total spend of £6.45bn, and that figure is expected to rise to £10bn in 2017!
Christmas is the best time of year to get new business and attract brand new shoppers. New shoppers don’t always necessarily know what they are shopping for, particularly if they are shopping for gifts for someone else. Instead, they are looking for inspiration, and if they’re not too familiar with your brand and what you have to offer, this inspiration can often come in the form of your best sellers!
Improve the user-friendliness of your eCommerce website and streamline your user’s journey by adding a dedicated “Christmas” category to your website. As I mentioned before, your users are likely to be looking for inspiration, and a popular way of categorising your products is by dividing them into subcategories by recipient or price. You could even go to the extent of creating a gift guide for your users, by breaking down your products into gifts for him, gifts for her, gifts under £50, etc. Breaking down your products into specific gift categories helps the user find what they need (or think they need!) as quickly as possible.
Not everyone is super-organised when it comes to buying presents, and many of us are guilty of being a last minute Christmas shopper! Just when you think you’ve nailed your shopping list… BAM! It’s 4 days until Christmas and you’ve forgotten about your Great Aunty Val who buys for the kids every single year, and you only invited her for Christmas dinner out of guilt.
Many retailers deliver right up until a few days before Christmas, and some even deliver on Christmas Eve, depending on which day Christmas falls. This is a huge selling point for many consumers as the shops are bedlam in the days before Christmas, and to be avoided at all costs! Make your last delivery date obvious with an ‘Order within DD:HH:MM for Christmas Delivery’ countdown feature that is instantly visible wherever the user lands on your website.
Equally as important as your delivery information is your returns policy. We’re all guilty of opening a present on Christmas morning and pretending we like it when really we’re just praying that the buyer kept the receipt! So cater for the risky-gift-buyers and disappointed-present-openers this Christmas by clearly outlining your returns policy!
During the Christmas period, Google Adwords is your best friend and a Pay Per Click campaigns of some sort should most definitely be part of your festive strategy! Unlike organic SEO, you can quickly create targeted campaigns and gain instant visibility, and there are so many methods of advertising that enable you to completely tailor your ads to your target market. And the great thing is, you only pay when someone clicks your ad!
The type of campaigns you create completely depends on the nature of your business. For the hospitality sector, you want to create both text and display ads, however, if you are a product retailer, then Google Shopping is definitely a route you should consider! If you really want to bring out the advertising big guns this Christmas however, remarketing ads are going to be your saving grace.
Remarketing allows you to recapture past visitors at a time when they are more likely to be in a position to buy from you. So what better time to capture them than when they have a full bank balance ready to blow it all on Christmas shopping?
Don’t just create email campaigns willy-nilly, make them personal and make them count! Start by creating a campaign calendar packed with ideas and key dates around the festive period. Big ones include Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Final Call for Christmas Delivery and so much more! To help you with your Christmas marketing calendar check out this list of 14 key Christmas shopping dates!
Another great way to recapture your users is via browse abandonment emails. According to Sale Cycle, browse abandonment emails have an 80.9% higher open rate and 50.5% higher click-through rate than traditional emails, so bear that in mind next time a potential customer adds an item to their cart and bounces off your website!
Come to mid-November, your website needs to be a central hub for all of your Christmas products and content, and with your homepage acting as a shop window to your online store, you need to ensure it’s just as festive and Christmassy as it would be on the local high street.
The extent of just how Christmassy your homepage is should reflect the products or service you’re offering. For example, if you stock personalised Christmas gifts and you want to give your users the warm fuzzy feeling of giving at Christmas, then you want to go for an all-out Winter theme, with all of the traditional Christmas trademarks and colour schemes. Two of our favourite websites that are well and truly in the festive spirit are The White Company and Hotel Chocolat. Both of sites have a homepage that really depicts what Christmas is all about.
However not all online shops require the magical, Christmas razmataz. For example, if you’re an electrical retailer selling large household appliances, then you’ll understand that Christmas isn’t always about the fancy personalised prezzies, and your market will be those people who’ve asked for practical gifts. You’ll know that there won’t be much excitement in opening a new vacuum cleaner on Christmas day, and your homepage should reflect this, and give the message; “Look I know this isn’t the most exciting gift, but if it’s what they’ve asked for then go for this brand!”
There has been a rise in Christmas Day sales in recent years, as more and more people are eager to spend their much appreciated Christmas gift vouchers. Why not make your customers’ Christmas extra special by dropping an exclusive Merry Christmas discount code into their inbox on Christmas morning!
So what’s next? There are 5 weeks to go until Christmas, so take these tips and whip up a magical, sparkly, super-easy buying experience for your customers this Christmas!