The run up to Christmas is a time when people are looking to spend more. But poor preparation can limit how effective you are as an online retailer during this busy retail period.

To truly capitalise on the opportunities that are out there, a well-executed plan of attack is key. And the sooner those steps are put in place, the better.

We’ve picked out 5 ways to give yourself the best chance of ecommerce success in the run up to Christmas 2018.

1 – Plan ahead

For online retailers, the time is now to get your plans together for the final few weeks in 2018. What tactics are you going to use to entice people to your site? When are you going to look to engage with potential customers? These are decisions that should be made as soon as possible.

One option to consider is blogging. Content is an excellent way to enhance your site from an SEO perspective.

With this in mind, consider creating a blogging plan with posts aimed at targeting specific keywords for example. This will give your website a better chance of appearing higher in search results, while also providing shoppers with information that can shape their purchasing decisions.

Consider what will shoppers be interested in reading about in the run up to Christmas? Might a series of articles on personal shopping be of interest? Or gift options for a friend, family member or work colleague? Look to place yourself in the shoes of the shopper, and deliver insightful content that is relevant them.

Be sure to plan the release of these blogs at times when they are likely to land. Don’t plan five blogs for the week leading up to Christmas and none in November for example. According to Google Trends, the search term ‘Christmas Gift Ideas’ sees significant increase from September all the way through to the 25th December. So don’t hold off implementing these plans.

You can also schedule in email marketing campaigns to inform registered recipients of any deals, new purchasing options or other relevant information. Be clever as to how you deliver information and do your research. The closer your plans align with the behaviours you see from your potential customers, the higher the chances of success.

2 – Use Social Wisely

Social media is one of the best ways to create a buzz around your company. It not only gives you the chance to deliver information and insight to a host of people, but also presents the opportunity to receive feedback, answer customer questions, and tap into relevant themes and trends.

But if you overdo the promotion of products and bargains, potential shoppers will be put off. One click of a button and they could completely remove themselves from what you have to say moving forwards.

So in the run up to Christmas, aim to be informative when it comes to your social media use. Let followers know what’s available, but also promote things like your delivery offerings for example, or anything else you offer that your competitors may not. This can help differentiate you from the competition.

And don’t underestimate the power of video when it comes to your social media plans. Research from depositphotos found that 90% of consumers believe video can help them make buying decisions, while having video on landing pages can boost conversions by as much as 80%. With such potential, well-executed video content presents an opportune way to enhance your sales in the run up to Christmas.

3 – Step up on Search

Try to make sure anybody that may be looking for the type of products you sell can find your website. This means getting your site’s search engine optimisation right is an absolute must.

If you have category pages or product pages that don’t have optimum meta data or content, the chances of people finding these items via organic search is diminished. If this isn’t where it needs to be, this is something you should look to address in order to boost your sales around Christmas.

A technical SEO audit can be hugely advantageous and provide insight into areas of your site that could be enhanced, helping you to appear higher in search results.

Equally, a pay-per-click campaign can enhance the chances of potential customers finding your site via search in the run up to Christmas. It’s all about making your business visible in the right places. Do this, and your chances of success this November and December increases exponentially.

4 – Boost that Conversion Rate

In the run up to Christmas, consider what your shoppers are dealing with. They likely have a host of items to buy and will be spending plenty of money. The last thing they need is added hassle.

This means that once people reach your site, you need to make it as easy as possible to buy from you. There’s a myriad of factors that come into completing a transaction. Essentially, having simple processes where all the relevant information is present boosts the chances of a site visitor converting to a customer.

By picking out parts of your website that cause issues and enhancing the UX design for example, there’s a chance to optimise your conversion rate and potentially secure more sales.

Additionally, don’t think this is only applicable to desktop. Improving conversion rate on mobile is equally important, especially with the amount of transactions conducted via mobile around Christmas as outlined below.

5 – Make your site Mobile ready

Research from Criteo found that in the run up to Christmas 2016, around a third of all ecommerce transactions during weekends were completed via a mobile device.

This proves how vital it is that you have a website which is optimised for mobile as an ecommerce retailer. You need to be capable of showcasing your offering across all mediums. This way, however your visitors reach your site, you give yourself the best chance of them becoming a customer.

So ask yourself if your site optimised for mobile use? Efficiency is the priority here, so be sure to list your most important pages first, and consider search as part of your navigation. Additionally, make sure your site is optimised for touch and for multi-screen mobile users where possible.

You can also write content that is particularly friendly for consumption on mobile devices too. Blogs or articles that are 100-150 words in length are more suited to being viewed via mobile for example.

Equally, you want to ensure the checkout experience is seamless on mobile like it is for desktop. Don’t let this final step hinder your sales. Tools such as Klarna and Amazon Pay can support a faster checkout experience for your customers.

To take advantage of Williams Commerce’s digital marketing offering, get in touch today.