Is Your eCommerce Business Ready for Christmas?

online marketing tips for christmas

In this guest post from Tim Cameron-Kitchen, owner and founder of Exposure Ninja, we see again that there are many similarities between online business and offline business. Here is what you need to do to get your eCommerce site ready for Christmas.

Across the world, offline shops are putting up decorations, training their Christmas temps and stocking up their storerooms in order to prepare themselves for the surge of customers looking for that perfect Christmas gift.

So what about eCommerce businesses? If you own an eCommerce business, how prepared are you for Christmas? In order to know that, you need to be asking yourself these questions.

Is Your eCommerce Company Ready for a Surge of Web Traffic?

If you own an offline shop, nothing will fill your heart with that mix of fear and excitement quite like the rush of hundreds of customers. Sure, it can be stressful, but this sort of madness is precisely why businesses make so much money over Christmas.

To prepare an offline shop for teeming masses of shoppers, business owners need to make sure they have enough staff manning the tills, they need to make sure the shop floor has enough products to sell and that both their staff and their building can thrive under the demands of Christmas.

So it is offline, so it is online. If your site hasn’t had a behind-the-scenes check up recently, now would be the time to do it. Your plugins and core files need to be as up-to-date as possible. You should also be testing all contact forms, shopping carts, and page layouts on multiple devices — phone, tablet, laptop — to make sure that you maximise the benefit from the increased web traffic you will be hoping for over Christmas.

Apple is constantly updating its site, especially in time for Christmas. 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008; Apple updates its site for the same reason it updates its phones. The old one no longer makes the cut.

Are You Directing People to Your eCommerce Company?

The idea that so many people are going to visit your site that it will crash is predicated on the idea that your site will have thousands of new visitors. However, if you’re not actively directing people to your site, this is unlikely to happen. It’s one thing to have a site running slowly because you were unprepared for so many customers; it’s another thing to have a site running perfectly fine, but having no visitors.

eCommerce digital PR can be a challenge, but a large part of it is just using trends to your advantage. Is there something that your business sells or is relevant to your business trending on Google during Christmas? If so, write a blog about it. The benefits of blogging for business have been talked about for years, but suffice to say that the right blog, at the right time, shared with the right people, is a surefire way of directing traffic to your site.

That also means using social media to your advantage. If your business has lots of followers on Twitter, Christmas is the perfect time to get a pithy Tweet containing your blog shared and seen by thousands of people. If your business doesn’t have many followers, Christmas is the perfect time to use what’s trending to gain more followers.

Don’t be afraid to increase your AdWords spend over Christmas, either, or to completely change your AdWords strategy. If people aren’t visiting your site, it means that something isn’t working. There are several things that could be going wrong, or it could be just one. The difficulty is figuring out which it is.

Facebook adverts can also be a fantastic source of traffic, and during gift-giving season, people are much more likely to impulse buy items they see in their feeds if they make suitable presents. If you’re targeting this gift market, remember that the Facebook user you are targeting is no longer your end user, and so you’ll need to change your ad strategy slightly.

For example, instead of targeting fans of fishing in your fishing tackle advert, you will want to broaden your targeting to reach friends and family of fishing fans. You might find (as many do) that, if your target audience is this broad, it’s possible to reduce interest targeting altogether and simply target the demographic that you think are most likely to buy fishing gifts (e.g. females aged 35-65+).

Your ad text will likely need to change as well. Rather than talking about the technical superiority or particular function which makes a certain product unique, you’ll want to talk about what a perfect gift it makes for the fishing fan who has everything. Focus on how happy the they’ll be to unwrap the Carp Buster 9000 on Christmas morning, before they disappear off to the river for the rest of the holiday (depending on your view this could be a good or bad thing).

Does Your eCommerce Company Know It’s Christmas?

It’s an odd question, but this final one is definitely worth asking. From visiting your site, is it immediately obvious that you have a whole bunch of amazing Christmas offers? Like walking into a physical store during December, visitors expect websites to make a nod to the season and show that they are in the holiday spirit.

Layout is the most important part of a well-marketed eCommerce website and at no time is this truer than during Christmas. Fancy Christmas fonts and GIFs of elves have their place in beautifying your site for Christmas, but the really important thing is whether or not your layout sells your product or service to Christmas shoppers straight away.

This means putting your Christmas sales pitch where it is immediately visible. The first thing people see when they click on your site before they scroll anywhere: that’s where your pitch needs to be. That’s where your buy button needs to be and that’s where all of your Christmas products and offers need to be. This part of the site is known as “above the fold” and it’s integral to getting people’s attention during the chaos of Christmas.

About the author

Tim Cameron-Kitchen is the owner and founder of Exposure Ninja, a digital marketing company based in Nottingham, England who specialise in providing eCommerce digital PR.

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