Christmas is only a few days away, which means that as an online retailer you should be taking full advantage of this peak period, and preparing your business for the imminent last minute panic purchases.
Ultimately, these sales will happen regardless of whether they’re made on your site or your competitors, so if you’re not capitalising on this Christmas shopping frenzy, you could be missing out on a huge amount of potential business.
To help with this, we’ve compiled some top selling tips that will help you increase your sales in the lead up to Christmas.
1. Give visitors gift ideas based on product type
The easier you make it for your website visitors, the more likely they will find something on your site that they want to purchase. One of the best ways to do this is by providing them with gift ideas for their loved ones, for example by creating product suggestions based on age, gender, product type, interests and price.
This not only enhances their overall journey as a customer, but more importantly increases the likeliness of converting them into a sale.
2. Encourage the purchase of gift cards
Gift cards are incredibly popular purchases in the lead up to Christmas, and can be a great way to encourage last-minute shoppers to buy from your site. While physical gift cards are still incredibly popular, more and more online retailers are beginning to offer digital gift cards, otherwise referred to as e-vouchers, which can either be delivered instantly to the recipient via email or SMS, or at a specified date.
How can I offer digital gift cards for my business?
What’s great is that these gift cards can be promoted right up until the last minute, and also help to generate sales and raise awareness amongst recipients who may not have previously been aware of your brand.
To further encourage the purchase of gift cards, you may also want to consider offering a financial incentive, for example, £5 off gift card purchases over £20 or £50, or even a discount code that they can redeem in the New Year.
3. Create a sense of urgency
While there are a number of things you can do to create a sense of urgency in the lead up to Christmas, for example reminding them of final delivery dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery, you may also want to consider hosting an exclusive offer for your first 50 customers. This could be anything from offering a low-value free gift such as a candle, or alternatively offering a limited discount or £10 to spend in January 2017.
Another way to consider announcing this exclusive limited offer is via a Facebook Live video announcement. This type of marketing tactic was huge for the Black Friday sales, so it’s never too early to get practicing!
4. Offer pre-Christmas discounts
Another simple, yet effective, way to increase sales in the lead up to Christmas is by simply offering your visitors a discount code to redeem on your site. Why not go one step further and make it festive, for example Christmas20, and heavily promote it on your website’s homepage and via your social media channels. You could even use it as part of a ‘Last-Minute Christmas” focused campaign, and encourage people to finish their Christmas shopping in time and save money in the process.
If your profit margins don’t allow for an across-the-board 20% off, why not limit it to Christmas gifts, or even offer a flash sale.
For those of you selling through an eBay Shop, you may also benefit from leveraging the marketplace’s free promotional tools to help promote your store and listings.
5. Drive more sales through email
Your existing customer base is a great place to start when trying to drum up sales in the lead up to Christmas, and whether you’re offering discounts, encouraging last minute purchases of gift cards, or want to simply showcase your gift categories (or all three), email marketing could be a great option.
One of the best ways to use email is by segmenting your database so that you’re sending only the most relevant content to your recipients which will, in turn, increase open rate, click-through rate and conversions. Other types of email that may benefit you in the lead up to Christmas include shopping cart abandonment reminders.
If you would like further guidance on selecting an email provider for your eCommerce business or are simply looking for tips and best practices for successfully using email to increase sales, you may benefit from signing up to our free email marketing training series.
6. Create gift bundles
If you have a number of products that compliment each other well, it would be worth pulling them together to create a gift set. These increase your average order value, because numerous items are being purchased in a single transaction instead of just one.
Ensure that your inventory management system supports product bundling in order to save you time and automatically synchronise your stock levels over the busiest time of the year.
Here are a couple of examples:
If possible, make it clear how much your buyers are saving by purchasing a gift set. They'll feel that they're getting more for their money, which creates a positive customer experience.
7. Offer free delivery
Offering free delivery can be a great way of appealing to potential customers in the festive period and it can even help to encourage repeat custom in the future.
Offering deals such as "free delivery on orders over £40" will encourage buyers to purchase more in a single transaction in order to be accepted for free delivery.
The example below shows fashion retail company River Island doing just this:
8. Offer gift wrapping
Another tip would be to provide gift wrapping as an option, as this can help to enhance the customer’s experience and ultimately boost sales. It also might be helpful to your buyers if you offer a personalised message for customers to add to their order (for an extra charge or for free).
9. Be consistent with good customer service
Giving your loyal customers great customer service will prompt word of mouth in a positive light, so its best to take advantage of what impact a good reputation has on your business. Being consistent with customer service will allow you to maintain a good reputation, so when it comes to the busy periods, customers (old and new) feel that they can rely on your business for a pleasant transaction experience. They will also feel happy to come back to your store throughout the year, which will increase sales in your business.
10. Customise your website to fit the holidays
Tailoring your website to the holidays will create a sense of understanding of your customers needs at that time of year, and what your customers are shopping for.
For example, take a look at Amazon, which has specifically created Christmas stores, so customers can find everything they need in one place.
It also separates the customers who do not wish to shop for the holidays, or perhaps would prefer to shop for more specific presents. Filtering searches and grouping products together (for example products for her under £20) makes searching for products much easier, creating a more positive customer experience.
Final festive thoughts
While these tips will help you sell more over the Christmas period, ultimately you need to make sure that your company can handle increases in order volume, especially when optimising your marketing campaigns over the peak selling season.
For example, in order to prevent overselling and avoid stock outs, as well as maximise the efficiency of your selling processes, investing in an automated inventory management system can put you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Curious to know how? Take a look at the journey of multi-million online retailer Rinkit, including how the company reached breaking point over Christmas and how the team resolved it through the implementation of robust inventory and order management software.