With just 8 Fridays left until Christmas and shoppers trying to get things wrapped up early this year (pun very much intended), businesses are starting to feel the pressure. Year on year consumers are spending more money during the holiday season and with our current global situation, now has never been a better time to give gifts to loved ones and spread some Christmas cheer.
But small businesses may be left scrambling for the best way of selling at Christmas this year. And as Christmas shopping predictions are foreseeing a season of online shopping in 2020, we want brands to be ready. We've compiled the latest tricks and trends that you can use to sleigh this Christmas and improve those eCommerce conversions!
Know you're key dates
Everyone loves a bargain and sale days are a great way for shoppers to save during the festive season. Brits spent billions last year throughout October and November in the sale days that predate Christmas so knowing your dates is key to setting up sales to boost revenue.
The dates to remember are, drumroll please…
- 11th November - Singles Day: as Anti-Valentines holiday that is growing in the UK, businesses can market products to suit this event easily
- 27th November - Black Friday: a shopping staple that should NOT be ignored this year
- 30th November - Cyber Monday: in 2020 this is set to be a massive event for the e-market and small businesses
- 19th December - Super Saturday: last Saturday before Christmas, this is when disorganised men start shopping so be prepared (unlike them)
- 23rd December - Last One Day Delivery: this is the last day to book a Next Day delivery with us for those panic buyers out there
- 24th December - Last Same Day Delivery: you've really lost the plot now, but we still offer Same Day delivery so disaster averted!
- 26th December - Boxing Day: a timeless classic for businesses, a bittersweet day for shoppers as they see all their Xmas gifts half price!
Take heed of these dates and your brand will make it rein this Christmas season!
Use urgency as an advantage
Now that you've got all the key dates down you need a plan of action to benefit from the urgency they create. Especially sale days like Super Saturday and the final shipping cut-off dates, these events create urgency to spur panic buyers to purchase from you, increasing those eCommerce conversions.
To get your brand noticed you need to create reminders that your sales are on and customers still lagging behind in the gift department can get it all done with you. During sale periods, it's estimated that 90% of sales are impulse purchases so it's an excellent time to run these promotions.
To create urgency for your online business this festive season create:
- Countdown timers to the end of your sale period
- Limited-time offers on certain products
- Pop-ups making your sale clear
- Emails that make customers aware of sale days
- Deals and discounts made visible on your site
Don't ignore deals and discounts
As just mentioned, deals and discounts should be visible and readily available to customers during your seasonal sale period. No one loves collecting a basket full of lovely products on your website, only to enter a broken discount code and have to abandon the cart!
Making sure your deals are clear and discount codes are working is important so that customers are enticed and happy when shopping your website. This doesn't always mean however that you have to slash prices and offer huge discounts, instead try:
- Simply changing the style (colour, font, size) of the prices on your website
- Add a filter option to see the range of sale items on your site
- Apply a banner on your landing page and product pages so that sales aren't missed
Insights into consumer behaviour shows that even using a .99 on a price is a useful way to make your products appear cheaper and attract them to browsing customers!
Have faster shipping over free shipping
Everyone knows and loves free holiday shipping but this year fast shipping is becoming more and more popular. Although shipping costs as well as delivery times still remain one of the biggest factors behind cart abandonment, fast holiday shipping has become a convenient way to buy last minute.
Last year, Amazon Prime had 112 million users buying into their 2 business day delivery guarantee. This is especially important during the holiday period, as more than 60% of consumers are estimated to purchase presents a week before Christmas.
Time sensitive deliveries are easily remedied with us at Interparcel. We've helped businesses through many Christmasses, getting orders to customers via our Next Day and Same Day delivery options. Our courier partnerships with the likes of CitySprint and DPD Local enables us to support brands during the busy festive period and keep customers happy!
And why not make your life even easier? Businesses can integrate their website with our Shipping Manager to benefit from auto-address correction, label printing options, branded tracking and more. Offer your customers more parcel delivery solutions this season so that those panic shoppers don't miss holiday shipping deadlines!
Create product bundles
Product bundling is when you package complementary products together, often sold at a discounted price or with an added value. These bundles are extremely popular during holidays.
Bundles can be great to:
- Increase customer awareness of less popular products
- Sell slow-moving stock
- Provide fun gift options
- Increase basket value with a 'build-your-own-bundle' option
Each bundle that you put together should ideally have a theme and over the run up to Christmas there's a lot businesses can do with this. Plus if your bundle campaign goes really well over this period, you could set up a subscription service where customers can pay to receive a fun bundle from you on a monthly basis!
Stay on top of seasonal social media
It goes without saying that, just like a brick-and-mortar store, eCommerce stores need to push their holiday deals and sales out to their community on social media too. Generally, you want to start advertising your Christmas sales at least a month (if not two) from the start of the holiday period. So now's a good time to begin these campaigns.
If you're a small business this doesn't have to be anything fancy, just create stories and posts for your social media that gets customers excited about your Christmas sales products.
To these ends, try to:
- Run holiday-themed contests and giveaways for brand awareness
- Reward your social media followers with exclusive deals
- Create sneak peaks for new festive products
- Have a countdown to your sale days to create excitement
Social media is a big contributor to shopping habits and eCommerce conversions these days so making sure potential customers can see what you have to offer on your social channels is important!
Support customer loyalty
Returning customers are much easier to sell to than new ones, it's a fact. Setting up a loyalty scheme is a great way to offer exclusive discounts, offers and promotions to returning customers to incentivise conversions.
For small businesses, loyalty programs needn't be such a huge operation, but simply a fun incentive for shoppers to return. Here are some ways even a small business can run a scheme:
- Make it fun: offer a discount code after purchase every time if they snap a picture with the product and tag your brand online with a seasonal hashtag like #Xmas2020
- Make it rewarding: offer long-time customers discounts on their favourite products during the festive period
- Make it valuable: create a charitable program that offers a portion of the price to a good cause this Christmas 2020
You have to be loyal to get loyalty in return - giving an incentive to purchase from you again, be it discount codes or little surprise gifts, can be the difference between a one-time buyer and a customer for life.
Improve customer support
The holiday season is a perfect time to use content to help bring new customers to your site and to nurture your visitors as well. Make sure that your website content is useful and guides your customers through the checkout process smoothly.
Ensuring that your telephone, email or live chat features are all working and offer fast replies to customers is essential this Christmas 2020 period. Customers looking for quick gift options may have questions about delivery dates or product availability so making sure you're reachable is important.
At Interparcel we want our customers to have all the support they need over the busy festive season. Our parcel experts are available from 8 am - 8 pm from Monday to Friday and 9 am - 1 pm on weekends if any of our customers need help or advise on seasonal sending or order delivery estimates.
Offer gift wrapping options
Chances are, if your customers are anything like us, they dread the gift-wrapping part of giving someone a gift. And particularly for those panic buyers out there, gift-wrapping options are an enticing short-cut, offering a pre-prepared present to be delivered to their doorstep.
Gift-wrapping as a business won't take much more effort as we're sure you put a good amount of effort into your product packaging anyway. But make sure that if you do offer this service, that you aren't putting branded wrapping all over the order and ruin the surprise!
Offer this service at checkout or add a banner making it clear on your homepage. This way you can apply a small fee and raise basket prices for increased revenue over the seasonal period.
This Christmas sales season offers exciting opportunities for small brands and online businesses, so getting prepared and putting promotions in place for busy periods is essential to improving revenue. After you've put everything in place you can just hold on for deer life and watch your Christmas sales surge sweep in!