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How to Prepare Your eCommerce Store for the Christmas Season

santa's sleigh flying over forest

I have a confession to make, I’ve used the C word in October, in fact, I started saying it in September… I said ‘Christmas’ out loud. Whether you like it or not though, the Christmas holidays are coming (as Coca-Cola would say) and marketers will be wondering (if they’ve not already got steps in place) how to prepare their e-commerce website for the holiday season, to convert their shoppers into sales.

Christmas (there, I said it again) creates unique challenges to businesses of all sizes as not only are they having to fight to stay on a shopper’s mind (in a positive way) vs the competition, but that shopper is changing their behaviour during the Christmas period to how they would usually shop during the rest of the year.

“How do shoppers change their behaviour at Christmas?” I hear you ask. Well, considering over 45% say they shop online more at Christmas than the rest of the year (which is great news for e-commerce sites), shoppers are becoming savvy about what they buy, the price and how they feel when buying a product.

Price, rewards and discount codes

Shoppers know that there are many websites often offering the same product, but when they know they’re going to make a purchase, the price is one of the highest deciding factors of where they buy it. With the rise of regular sales and holiday specials like Boxing Day sales and Black Friday, consumers are always finding ways to save money on products and it’s up to e-commerce websites to provide them if they want to convert a shopper.

In today’s dynamic e-commerce landscape, savvy shoppers are always on the lookout for ways to save money and snag the best deals. Fortunately, there are some fantastic resources like Vouchercloud, HotUKdeals, and Moneysaving Expert that cater to this exact need. These platforms offer discount codes, clever money-saving strategies, and tempting purchasing incentives, ensuring that consumers can make the most of their hard-earned money.

But here’s where you, as an e-commerce store, can take it a step further. Instead of merely directing potential customers to external sources, consider implementing smart strategies to keep them engaged on your website. One powerful tactic is the creation of popup offers that appear when a shopper is about to make a purchase. These offers can provide additional discounts or bonuses, enticing them to complete the transaction right away. Moreover, building a mailing list is a golden opportunity to stay connected with your audience. Offer exclusive deals or insider tips in exchange for their email addresses, thereby fostering a loyal customer base.

Taking a cue from innovative e-commerce players, you can also create special landing pages that reward shoppers for their diligence in finding that extra bargain. This psychological approach not only acknowledges their effort but also taps into the thrill of the hunt. By providing incentives for ‘searching hard’ for a deal they already desire, you can effectively drive shoppers into a spending mood. In the competitive world of online retail, it’s not just about selling products; it’s about creating an engaging and rewarding shopping experience. So, get creative, think strategically, and watch as your e-commerce venture thrives by keeping customers satisfied and excited about their purchases.

Video marketing for eCommerce

For some, they’re putting extra thought and research into what they’re buying to ensure it’s the right gift for the recipient. Putting this information front and centre in the buildup can help shoppers complete this research leading up to Christmas. However, putting it in video or through UGC (User Generated Content) makes it even better. Google has reported that up to 50% of shoppers say online video has helped them decide which specific brand or product to buy; and UGC helps resonate with people that they’re buying the right thing as their peers are also buying it. After all, 65% of brands believe UGC content is more powerful than branded content.

a family out christmas shopping

How to avoid cart abandonment

Now let’s talk about cart abandonment; it happens and even more so at Christmas when the rate increases to 7 out of 10 mobile shoppers. E-commerce websites need to make shopping on mobile a seamless experience and not give them any excuse to abandon a cart, especially when they’ve gone to all that effort of getting them to simply add a product to a cart. Cart abandonment includes having extra steps like logging in or registering, not showing payment costs until the end or having to provide any extra unnecessary information. Extra steps frustrate shoppers and make them more likely to walk away.

How site speed affects sales

Along with extra unnecessary steps, long waits are a surefire way to annoy shoppers both in-store and online. Not only should your e-commerce website layout be clean, simple and easy to direct people where to find a product, but the load time of the website should be fast too. According to statistics, half of Christmas shoppers don’t even wait two seconds for website content to start loading and your website is your first impression- if your website is slow, how does that reflect in your services or delivery time?

Personalised content for shoppers

Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting special treatment and that you really care about them and only them. According to Shopify, up to 70% of customers spend more with businesses that offer a personalised shopping experience.

Google reported that “more than half of consumers say they were interested in seeing personalised content when shopping” as shoppers want results that are more specific and tailored to their immediate needs.

User-generated content for eCommerce

User-generated content (UGC) can help play a big part in being personal with shoppers, after all, nothing kills an experience more than being boring and generic. Whether on a product page, social adverts or email, switching things up by displaying photos and reviews from real shoppers (their peers) makes your brand more relatable and authentic and has a higher chance of conversion over other websites.

Whilst the Christmas holiday season creates a different experience for e-commerce websites and shoppers alike, it’s a time to get creative and fight to win over your shoppers. The one-size-fits-all is no longer acceptable and accepted by shoppers. To be successful, companies should listen to their customers and anticipate what they want, how they want it and deliver it to them in a personalised, speedy and price-savvy way.

For those that haven’t already reacted, there is still time to prepare your eCommerce website for the Christmas season 2023, even if it’s small improvements and changes; or you could start thinking about your Christmas 2024 strategy and the important dates to plan for.

SEO & Digital Marketing Specialist
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