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Christmas is the biggest ecommerce event of the year and a time when consumers are at their most willing to part with their hard-earned money.

The impact of the holiday period on the attitude of customers offers a huge opportunity that online retailers can’t afford to miss.

Here are our 12 tips for driving conversion rates this holiday season

1. Welcome your visitors

Visitors are often uncertain of what they want at Christmas because they are shopping for friends, significant others, relatives and children.

To help communicate your brand’s values, serve new users a welcome message. This is a chance to familiarise visitors with your brand and USPs and to give them a good reason to buy their festive gifts from your website.

Limit the message to one time only and customise it for your target audiences by traffic sources, search terms and purchase history.  

2. Use Christmas imagery and language

Physical stores use Christmas decorations and music to get shoppers in the mood; so tweak your website to give it a more festive look. However, don’t over-do your Christmas rebranding as you still want people to recognise that you’re you.

If you have an international presence, use geo-targeting to only show your updated site to people in countries that celebrate this holiday. 

Christmas-specific language can have a huge effect on your conversion rates. Conversion Voodoo found that using the headline ‘Merry Christmas’ within an email generated almost twice as many click-throughs than the same email using ‘Happy Holidays’.

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3. Countdown to Christmas

Everyone loves a deal. So offer your customers a variety of deals with a time constraint to ensure they return again and again.

In the build up to Christmas, change your deals daily – or even hourly – in order to drive up impulse buys.  

4. Push gift guides

Gift guides are great for giving shoppers inspiration, advice and suggestions. A link to a size guide or buying guide can help explain different fits or specifications to a shopper who is shopping for something they wouldn’t usually buy, making them more likely to convert.

Create category pages for gifts or add filters to existing category pages, asking shoppers questions such as:

  • Who is the present for? What is their age? Relationship to the buyer? Gender? Personality?
  • Is it a secret Santa gift? A stocking filler?
  • Do you need a gift for ‘under £50’?

Making customers feel more confident about the gift they’re buying will help reduce the amount of returns post-Christmas. 

 photo Giftguides_zps5fc32a21.jpg

5. Show stock levels 

Providing stock levels for your customers means they know if they’re about to miss out on a product or good deal. If a visitor was considering leaving a product in their basket, they’d be much more likely to purchase if they saw there was only one left.

However, use this message sparingly and remove ‘out of stock’ items from category pages to reduce frustration and hassle. 

6. Bundle products together

Christmas time is product-bundling heaven. For example, if you notice someone is interested in a particular scented hand-cream offer them the full range of fragrances at a discount.

Customers like a bargain, and retailers like higher average order values, making it a win-win situation. 

7. Publicise e-vouchers

E-vouchers are a retailer’s dream. Not only can they be sold throughout the Christmas period because they are not dependent on physical delivery, they are also incredibly useful for gift-buyers who are unsure about what their recipients would like.

Take advantage of this gift idea by preparing a specific page to sell e-vouchers as gifts, include different image options for the email or printout.

Provide additional information on what you get when you buy an e-voucher: what it can be used to purchase, how long the order takes to be processed and if you can choose an email delivery date. 

 photo evouchers_zps2614052b.jpg 

8. Align online and offline targeting

Use data from all your channels to give customers the ultimate shopping experience this Christmas. Your customers’ online experience is becoming increasingly significant to the state of offline purchases so ensure that your online and offline comms to consumers match.

For example, make sure that website promotions are available in-store as well. Aligning your online and offline marketing strategies will help avoid the risk of alienating consumers with inconsistent messaging.

9. Shout about your delivery

One of the main concerns shoppers have during the festive season is whether their gifts will arrive in time for Christmas: clear, easy to find delivery information will help put their minds at ease.

Furthermore, research has shown that orders with free shipping average around 30% higher value than those that charge for deliveries. 

 photo Publicizedelivery_zps8b252e39.jpg 

10. Offer gift wrapping, but carefully!

If your site offers a gift wrapping service, make sure to point this out as it can be a great time-saver for shoppers at this busy time of year. This addition to the purchasing process also has the great feature of increasing average order value.

Make sure the gift wrapping service is a seamless part of the checkout. Don’t force people to opt out, but make sure they won’t miss the service, even if they are in a hurry.

Treat this service like any other product: offer a range of colours, patterns and tags to choose from and include information about the service on product pages.  

11. Offer returns, or an explanation why not

People buying gifts as presents want to know their options if the gift needs to be returned. If you have a particularly generous returns policy then shout about it.

Reassuring your users that everything is hassle free should the recipient not like the present allows visitors to be more adventurous in their choice of gift, and more disposed to buy.

12. Up or cross-sell to drive average order values

Raise your average order values by cross-selling associated products at the checkout. Place it next to the basket, especially if you have a free delivery threshold and recommend spur of the moment stocking fillers, focusing on those cheaper, lower consideration goods.

Provide enough information in the description to facilitate the purchase without needing to view the product page separately. Make sure you don’t over do it – keep it to a maximum of about three items.

Whether you’re buying or selling, the holidays are a happy and busy time for all. Make sure you don’t miss out on the winter bonanza by preparing now; you need to roll out your new website, Christmas offers, and target your messaging on time in order to drive conversions.

Ian McCaig

Published 21 October, 2013 by Ian McCaig

Ian McCaig is Founder at Qubit and a contributor to Econsultancy.

29 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Chris Michael

Brilliant summary on how to start small.

almost 3 years ago

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Amandine

Great article and great tips, thanks! Some of them will definitively help me improving my conversion rate. And it works for every seasonal event. Another key element of the conversion rate is the conversion funnels, which is not mentioned here... I recommand this article for e-traders who may want to improve their conversion funnel: http://www.atinsight.co.uk/actualite/5-photos-5-customer-journeys-conversion-funnels/

almost 3 years ago

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