Ecommerce

We’re barely into September, but savvy businesses are already thinking about Christmas sales. Are you?

If you sell products online, you’ll know how important it is to understand trends in your business. One of the biggest trends of any business’ year is Christmas.

Christmas-shoppers

In a report from IMRG, the UK’s online retail association, in 2013, “online retail sales were up 18% year on year in December” signalling a strong move toward customers doing their Christmas shopping online.

The same report found that “twice as much was spent on mobile devices in December 2013 compared to December 2012”; so not only are your customers shopping online, they’re using their mobile phones to do it.

But this trend toward online sales doesn’t mean your business will automatically succeed in online sales. Online shoppers are arguably some of the most capricious, being able to move from one online store to another quickly and easily, shopping around for the best deals.

In order to succeed in online sales and to stand out from the competition, businesses must start investing in their digital strategy now.

Preparing Your Website for Christmas Sales

One of the most important elements of your Christmas strategy for online sales is the shop window that is your website.

To attract Christmas shoppers, your website needs to have a Christmas focus that enables it to rank well in the search results for Christmas themed queries and which showcases your Christmas products in an appealing and user friendly way.

This means ensuring that you have your Christmas products loaded onto your website and that there is an area of your site dedicated to selling Christmas wares.

Consider as an example the website of John Lewis. This British retailer sells both online and off. A quick search on Google for the term ‘Christmas gifts’ brings up their website at the top of the results list thanks to the dedication of an entire section of their website to Christmas items at http://www.johnlewis.com/christmas/.

Here, John Lewis shows a list of product ranges available for Christmas, including Christmas decorations, home ware and gifts. Despite the fact that Christmas is 4 months away, John Lewis is prepared to start selling now.

It’s no surprise, then, that we see a rise in businesses investing in their website at this time of year. Indeed, here at Hallam Internet we are working with a range of ecommerce clients already to help them prepare for the Christmas period.

To capitalise on online sales this Christmas, your website needs to be Christmas ready NOW.

Engaging with Your Customers

Another key element of your Christmas strategy is engagement with customers across channels. Both online and off, your business needs to be building relationships with potential and existing customers – and that starts now.

One of the most effective ways to engage customers and to get customer loyalty and brand advocacy is through social media.

How is your business using social media networks? The likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on are an important communication channel and it’s important you’re using them to their best effect.

Multi-Channel Shopping Experiences and the Role of Mobile

The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report explores further the role of the ‘multi-channel experience’ in Christmas sales.

According to the report, consumers are utilising mobile devices more than ever. Using their mobile devices, consumers are:

  • Reviewing products online
  • Comparing prices (often whilst shopping in a physical store)
  • Completing full purchases via a mobile device

Businesses that want to succeed in online sales will be able to capitalise on this intelligence.

This means having a strong digital marketing strategy in place which includes mobile and tablet use. In order to create a true multi-channel experience, businesses will need to meet consumer expectations online – and this includes having a seamless, user-friendly mobile presence.

Is Your Business Christmas-Ready?

Businesses across the UK are cashing in on an increasing demand for online shopping for Christmas.

Whilst big names like John Lewis lead the way, businesses across all sectors and sizes are investing in their Christmas strategy – and they’re doing it NOW.

If you’d like to discuss your Christmas digital marketing strategy, give us a call on 0115 948 0123 or email info@hallaminternet.com.

christmas shopping trends

This article first appeared in the Nottingham Post in August 2014.

Christmas shopper image credit: http://www.standard.co.uk/

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