e-commerce

Sep 2020

Your Ecommerce Christmas Checklist

Emily Shaw

Director

It’s officially 100 days until Christmas and this year has been unlike any other.

Throughout Q1, Q2 and Q3 COVID-19 forced many businesses to close temporarily, while other major retailers went into administration. The majority of companies found ways to pivot and offer online shopping options as a way to survive during the lockdown. In-person services such as gyms and yoga studios went virtual where possible and Direct-To-Consumer (D2C) food brands thrived.

According to Shopify, this consumer behaviour accelerated a decade of e-commerce growth in 90 days.

After such a rollercoaster year, many consumers and retailers are looking to the Christmas season of Q4 as a final push to pull back losses or capitalise on unexpected market growth. As many as 61% of retailers are expecting more engagement and sales through social media and businesses are ramping up their digital marketing plans because of it.

So, how can you properly prepare for a shopping season with e-commerce right at the centre? Our Ecommerce Holiday Checklist is a great place to start.

2020 eCommerce Christmas Checklist

Each year, retailers rely on Christmas to make a heavy portion of their annual revenue and it’s never too early to start preparing. Let’s work our way through a checklist to ensure we don’t miss anything:

  1. Ensure customers will have the best user experience
  2. Create strategic Christmas marketing and promotions
  3. Leverage CRM data effectively to turn a single purchase into a lifetime customer
  4. Ramp up customer service and support for increased traffic
  5. Measure the success of your Christmas campaign.

1. Ensure Customers will Have the Best User Experience

Test your infrastructure: Your e-commerce store needs to be able to handle a surge in traffic and transactions. Do a round of load testing to ensure servers can handle increases in traffic and transactions. Reach out to your technology provider to ensure you don’t lose sales from something silly like a lack of server space. Shopify is an excellent e-commerce platform for this reason as it can handle up to 10,000 orders a minute.

Check your site speed. Your page load time should be under three seconds — any longer than that and you’ll be looking at very high bounce rates. Even a 1s delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. If your load speed isn’t optimal, get a detailed list of recommendations on what to change, such as optimising your image sizes for the web or reducing redirects. Having too many plugins and apps that need to load can also slow down your site speed.

Evaluate your third-party integrations. Take a look at your third-party integrations. Are they up-to-date? Test them, make sure they can handle the load, and then don’t add any others. Additional or last-minute app add-ons can break aspects of your flow or slow down your site. This is exactly what happened to GymShark in 2015 when an app integration caused their site to go down for eight hours straight on Black Friday. Unless something is broken, put a “code freeze” in place.

Enable cart abandonment notifications. There are many reasons a customer might leave your website with a shopping cart full of items. Sending them a push notification will remind them of the products they left behind, with a goal of convincing them to make the purchase is a great reminder to complete their order. These notifications have double and sometimes triple the click-through-rate of a targeted email. We would also recommend remarketing ads to help with conversion too.

2. Create strategic Christmas marketing and promotions

Update your creative: This season, many consumers will be shopping online. This means retailers face massive competition for consumer attention. Christmas is a great opportunity to spend a little bit of time on updating product images and website banners with seasonal creative. You want to stay true to your brand but remember you can also have some fun with it. Even tweaks to copy can go a long way in creating a joyful experience for website visitors.

Prioritise mobile: Digital marketeers and e-commerce experts Typically, mobile bounce rates are higher and with more consumers turning to their phones to make purchases, a business’ mobile experience is vital. In fact, consumers give just 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about a site and 38% of them will stop engaging if the content or the design is unattractive.

3. Leverage CRM data effectively

Nurture a repeat customer: Gifting is a key way to introduce new customers to your business. Ensuring that you have an effective email strategy is important for customer retention. The key is striking the balance between being an effective reminder of your product or service but without being intrusive. You want a warm introductory email that outlines your offering, perhaps showing the full range of your business and elements that a single purchase customer may not be aware of.

Capture relevant data: An email address is a great starting point but you want to have visibility on order history too. We recommend including the month/day of birth too for an exclusive birthday treat or discount. Perhaps enquiries with live chat or customer service would also be useful. Think of the information that would be helpful to your business and the ways you can ask for it without being intrusive.

4. Ramp up customer service

Introduce Live chat: If you haven’t got a live chat feature on your website, perhaps now is the time to introduce one. Today, more than 41% of customers expect to live chat on your website. Easy and effectiveness both for the customer and internal customer service, just ensure your team are trained to answer questions effectively and professionally.

Content Expansion: A relevantly easy way to strengthen your website and customer experience is to have written guides that effectively answer FAQs. These are a useful reference for your team, serving as a prompt or visual aid for complicated product questions. They can also harbour keywords and questions that may help with inbound marketing.

5. Measure the success of your Christmas campaign

Establish KPIs: Everyone wants to ‘do as much as possible’ but establishing the key performance indicators is critical for knowing if you have reached – or surpassed – your goals. Understanding your e-commerce metrics is important for estimating the media spend required and the channels/projects that need to be completed in order to achieve those goals.

Year On Year: If you’re unsure of how to adequately estimate your targets and which channels will drive what percentage of sales – look to your historic data. Be ambitious with your estimates but make sure you have the mechanics of how to execute that growth clearly laid out as well. You can’t expect a 50% YoY increase if your customer database is exactly the same size or if you’re allocating the same amount of budget to media.

Check your conversions: More website visitors does not automatically mean more sales unless you have clarity on your conversion rate or drop-off rate at each stage of the e-commerce buying process. How many times does a visitor browse your site before purchase? What is the Average Order Value? Understanding basics like this is key to knowing if your media strategy driving the right traffic to your site. Knowing where the largest drop-off is another starting point for improving your conversion rate. Perhaps delivery information needs to be more obvious or maybe the checkout process is too long-winded and fussy. A CRO project can help deliver clarity around what is or isn’t working.

 

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