Mega Monday, Cyber Monday, the day for flurried transactions, huge site traffic and flash sales. Whatever you call it, the much-discussed day has passed with a significant boost for online retailers.
The results for the 2012 holiday season have, so far, been promising. Retailers on our platform saw this Sunday nudge Cyber Monday off the top online shopping day spot as far as revenue is concerned, but both days performed exceptionally well.
Last year’s individual retailer transaction record for the platform was blasted out of the park by an astonishing 88% increase.
Those customers such as Laura Ashley and Urban Outfitters who extended their e-commerce platforms to other channels such as mobile were justly rewarded with significant increases in both revenues and transactions.
Despite the tough economic times, it seems that shoppers won't spend less this Christmas, but they are spending differently. Spending this year will be more fragmented than ever: divided between the high street, desktop shopping, mobile, tablets and social media platforms, as shoppers look to grab the best deals wherever they can be found.
Developments like deliver-to-store or pop-up pick-up points allow the online trade peak to hit later and later with consumers confident they'll get their goods in time for Christmas.
There’s no doubt that online has become a vital element of how consumers research and buy products. However, UK retailers have some work to do to ensure that they remove all possible barriers in converting Christmas browsers into customers.
There are still a few weeks left to capitalise on the pre and post-Christmas shopping flurry and much to do in the coming months to prepare for next year, so here are 11 key tips on how to ready your online strategy:
Ensure your e-commerce platform doesn’t just support your website, but also integrates your in-store, mobile and online marketplaces, as well as social and call-centre channels.
Make it simple for customers to shop on a channel that suits their needs, and use all your channels together to consistently focus messages, offers, promotions and deadlines to your customer base.
Optimise SEO, PPC and on-site search
Make sure that gift purchases are floating to the top of search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) and on-site search results and that promotional items are right at the top.
Scale for promotions and flash sales
Seasonal promotions and flash sales are a great way to generate high volumes of traffic and transactions.
Ensure your e-commerce platform is flexible and scalable enough to handle this, as a website that’s slow or has constantly crashing pages will impact on the end-customer experience.
Maximise your visual merchandising
Time limited shoppers want to be able to view products easily and in a way that’s as representative as possible - for instance you could use video to show clothing ranges.
Also consider featuring your promotions and collections using landing page carousels, so shoppers can see them all at a glance.
Provide multiple payment options
As well as offering the usual debit and credit card options, consider adding online payment options such as PayPal or enable your online shop to allow purchases with gift cards.
In addition, if you are trading outside the UK, don’t forget to make sure that the popular payment options used these countries are also offered.
Highlight your security
Ensure that your security trustmarks are highly visible to potential customers. With fraud on the increase, shoppers are increasingly wary of shopping on sites they perceive as insecure.
Advertise delivery details
Keep your delivery information and final shipping dates clear and prominent. It’s better to lose a sale than a customer because of confusion about shipping.
Where possible, offer alternative delivery options, allowing consumers to click and collect or providing a deliver to store option will be well received after the snowbound delivery woes of previous years.
Refine your checkout process
Allow shoppers to checkout without registration or reduce your registration process to the bare bones. This allows you to capitalise on first time shoppers or quick buys.
Control your stock
Ensure you have effective stock control across all channels. You may not always have volumes or flexibility to manage a rush demand on products, so while you work to restock a particular item, ensure you redirect consumers to similar products or suggested alternatives.
Embrace the seasonal sales but offer something new
Remember that January Sales start on Boxing Day – get those promos ready to go and scheduled in your web control panel now. However, for those shoppers who shun the sales or with some Christmas cash or gift cards to spend, have fresh product offers for the period up to New Year’s Day.
Keep in touch with your customers
Christmas shopping can be frenetic and shoppers can forget where they found that special something while shopping online. Sending abandoned basket emails can be a helpful reminder and adding a discount offer can also incentivise them to place their orders in time for Christmas delivery.
In addition, sending customers order confirmation emails is also helpful, as it reassures them that their gifts will be arriving in plenty of time.