Summer has passed and we’re a couple of months away from the holiday season kick-off. This means that you don’t have a lot of time to get your online shop up and running for the peak season. A three week preparation in early December is not sufficient enough to get ready in time for a serious quantity of shoppers.
What can you do to make your online shop shine like a Christmas star? The answer…a lot! From quick wins and small adjustments to complete overhauls of the checkout procedure or order flow, it is worth the effort. In this article you will find loads of suggestions on how to maximize your holiday sales and stand out from the crowd.
As a shop owner, Christmas-preparation is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your online shop and ask yourself: am I ready? What can I do to serve my visitors better and answer their wishes and needs?
Getting traffic to your website.
Now is a good time to start promoting your website. It always takes some time for search engines to find links to your site and “mark” your page as relevant. So start with writing a blog post about a product you want to feature, or a post that inspires people in a different way, like “Best Christmas Gifts Ever”. Start undertaking some keyword research, focusing on how people search on the web for “Christmas Gifts”. You are maybe in for a surprise on what keywords people use, for example, “Red Sweater” or “<BRANDNAME> Hong Kong”. Use those keywords in your blog post, to ensure that the search engines find them easily. You could also start with setting up an ad campaign for your store.
Tell a story.
People love to buy into a ‘story’, a meaningful metaphor that they can give away, in addition to the gift itself. Exchanging gifts is all about reconnecting with loved ones and a gift can really help with that. There is a reason that big brands sell a story, such as one of my favorites: Watchmaker Patek Philippe’s ad campaign: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”
But you can also simplify your narrative to create a compelling story about the origin of the product. What is the background of the designer or material used? Provide your customers with a story to tell when they show/give the product to others.
Ask for testimonials and put them on your site, as prominently as possible.
People like “the voice of others”, not just the ‘salesman’ voice. Ask current clients for a testimonial and place that on your site. It will also show that your site is active and that people are engaging with it on a regular basis.
Make sure your products are visible on mobile devices.
It is 2014! Yes, this year, mobile internet use overtook desktop, so more people use the internet on a mobile device than on their PC computers. Recent web traffic analytics for sites we manage show that mobile visits grew from 20% to over 60% in the last 30 days.
Make sure ‘push products’ highlighted
Are your hero products visible on your homepage? Are they one click away from product details or ordering?
Provide users with relevant information
This includes price comparison, gift ideas, estimated shipping time etc. Most importantly, give them insight on your stock. Don’t waste their time by offering something that you don’t have in stock, it will give a negative feeling when you can’t deliver. This will add stress, especially during the chaotic holiday season.
Boost sales by clearing a painless pathway to checkout
Take note on your micro-interactions here. How easy and fluid is your checkout? Ask a stranger in a coffee shop to (fake) buy something on your laptop in your store and ask them to share their thoughts out loud, the feedback will be priceless. The check-out process needs to be flawless.
4 weeks before Christmas:
- Consider early bird offers: Promote your early birds and give your clients a great shopping experience. If you make them feel special, I bet they will come back for more before the season is over.
- Flash sales with the right marketing and notifications
- Outstanding offers, like gift messages or festive packaging
- Provide tracking on delivery, it helps building trust to the service. The local Hong Kong startup AfterShip could help you with that.
Time is everything for last minute orders. Provide an express option in checkout and shipping. Also, give clients the opportunity to take care of the whole packaging and labeling process online. You can really make your shop stand out in this area of service.
After the season:
- Make the most out of the history of return customers
- Analyze the visitors’ data – How many visitors did you have? How many bought something? This can help you to see where you can optimize conversion.
- Get ready for the next big event!
Help your clients come back by making it easier for them to prepare new gifts for the same people, by providing gift history, recommendations and speed checkout.
So, there is a lot to do before, during and after the holiday season, and a lot that you can do yourself or that can be done with a little help from a web developer. For the bigger changes, don’t wait too long, because a web developer isn’t waiting with his hands crossed for you to come along and give him a project. He has his planning too, and the end of the year is often very busy for them. It will give you more revenue and a more secure feeling as you enter the holiday season.
Don’t procrastinate, act now and have a great boast in your revenue!
Jeffrey Broer — Founder of Grayscale Ltd a HK based digital agency.
As a Dutch entrepreneur Jeffrey has launched a number of emerging and developing ventures, including a data recovery company, a computer component wholesale business and an IT consulting firm. Jeffrey also mentors up-and-coming startups. Jeffrey founded Grayscale 4 years ago to cater businesses with user focused designed websites and Grayscale’s team is now 8 people strong.
At the present, he is also involved with developing Surround App, a mobile application that enables people who cannot read Chinese to engage with Chinese social media.