E-commerce Tips for Christmas

November 16, 2012

This week’s #ecomchat topic was ‘Christmas & ECommerce’.

The 3 “Christmas & Ecommerce” Questions Were:

Q1: “What can website owners do ‘on the site itself’ to make the most of the opportunities over Christmas?”

Q2: “What should people do from a marketing point of view to make the most of it?”

Q3: “How can ‘pureplay’ sites compete with multi-channel retailers over the period?”

There were lots & lots of tweets around this, and some brilliant tips, so here are the selected answers from hands-on site managers, agency owners, marketers, developers, and many others:


Ecommerce & Christmas

Storified by dan barker · Thu, Nov 15 2012 23:07:02

#EcomChat Q1: What are the most important & most productive things to do *on your site itself* to make the most of Christmas?dan barker
@danbarker I think that highlighting delivery times is important and also upselling for gifts. #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@danbarker #ecomchat A1: Will my packages arrive before Santa’s if I order them right now!Russell McAthy
@danbarker Make delivery information prominant, ensure site search works well, have a clear returns policy #ecomchatKieron Hughes
A1: Highlight clear Christmas value/offers, eg: https://www.laithwaites.co.uk/ #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
Consensus so far on #ecomchat Q1 seems to be "Make sure people know they’ll get their gifts in time" is #1 most important for Christmasdan barker
Although I favour @JayGreasley’s point that "Javascript Snowflakes" is the true essential. #ecomchatdan barker
@danbarker delivery dates IMO should be displayed in the benefits bar. Possible with count down closer to last day. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
#ecomchat A1) And don’t forget to include clear returns info – what if someone doesn’t like what they get? How easy is it to return/exchangeJames Gurd
@danbarker I also like specific content for gift buyers, eg: ideas for mums etc. #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers good point! Related: if you’re a specialist site, recognising you may have lots of ‘non-specialist’ xmas customers? #ecomchatdan barker
#ecomchat A1 agree with delivery info. Also, tell people (esp. who might not buy your stuff for themselves) what they should be buying!Erika Ungar
#ecomchat A1) I say be wary of thinking everyone loves Christmas – not everyone celebrates (religion/personal) so be inclusiveJames Gurd
@danbarker Promoting checkout security to reassure people who might be thinking about buying certain gifts online #ecomchatKieron Hughes
@kieronhughes that’s a great point – maximise basket value + deliver great service by ensuring add-ons available #ecomchatJames Gurd
A1: Great opportunity to provide help with buying gifts. The gift chooser, if done well, is a classic. #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
A1: And vouchers!! #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
@danbarker knowing whether a product will be back in stock before XMAS. Can cause issues as you get closer to delivery cut off. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
@danbarker upselling throughout the checkout process. Maybe a low price item but could increase margin over XMAS period. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
@danbarker Make sure add-ons are promoted for gifts, such as batteries for electronics (such as toys) #ecomchatKieron Hughes
#ecomchat a1) depends a bit on how "gifty" the site is – my last co. got some good conversion by modifying the search as a "gift finder"Dan Coleman
@DanielMColeman very neat idea. I suppose even a very simple ‘gift finder’ page, with best sellers & prominent search box. #ecomchatdan barker
@danbarker #ecomchat A1: Del times / Gift wrapping options / upsell for ‘stocking fill’ / gifts for x / returns policyRussell McAthy
#Ecomchat A1) Highlight your gift wrap service if you have one, works especially well in PPC ads.dan barker
Ensuring your site can take the extra surge in Christmas traffic… #ecomchatDaniel Austin
@danieljaustin which means capacity planning, ensuring bandwidth can stretch, failover procedures with dev team for quick reaction #ecomchatJames Gurd
@DanielJAustin Good point, also ensuring site speed is optimised for peak traffic periods #ecomchatKieron Hughes
A1) For retail, multi-faceted gift finder – drill down by person, gender, age, product type, personality etc #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd I love AJAX / JS gift finders based on questions, but generally only suited to big budget sites #ecomchatPaul Rogers
A1) A big put-off for me is "Gifts for Him" – so utterly generic and often bizarre collection for men of all shapes/sizes/ages #ecomchatJames Gurd
A1) And if you’re multi-channel, in-store pick up service – can run right up to Xmas Eve – big advantage over pureplays #ecomchat #ecommerceJames Gurd
#ecomchat showing how many products are available, especially if no.s are low, will help inc sales and stop people waiting for sales.Cranberry Panda
A1: Create editorial content around products – eg "Top 10 gifts for the eco-aware…" – to use in social media, PR, and for SEO #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
A1 Returns and delivery info all important, and promote last delivery dates for an edge over the competition #ecomchatGraham Charlton
@danbarker make sure it works on mobiles! #ecomchatRed Barrington
Encourage people on to your mailing list with priority access to January sales etc. #ecomchatChris Dyson
A1) Have a place in your navigation / landing page on your site for Xmas #EcomchatHayden Sutherland
A1) consistent messaging across all advertising channels. Ensuring your website matches creatives used offline. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
#ecomchat Q1a – anything you really *shouldn’t* be doing on-site in run up to Christmas?Erika Ungar
Nice interesting side-question from @erikau: Anything you *shouldn’t* do on-site around Christmas? #ecomchatdan barker
@danbarker @erikau #ecomchat – assume everyone is Christian – its not all about Jesus and Santa!Russell McAthy
#EcomChat I think people often stick to their standard merchandising schedule, even though traffic is much greater.dan barker
#Ecomchat if you normally look at sales data once a week, but traffic increases 7-fold, look & tweak daily instead.dan barker
@danbarker #ecomchat related: make sure you are geared up to react e.g. if a surprise bestseller eats stock for scheduled campaignsDan Coleman
@danbarker @erikau – don’t kill general user experience by making everything about Christmas promotions, compliment existing #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd I also like product recommendation engines / merchandising solutions for product ranking algorithms (based on gifts) #ecomchatPaul Rogers
A good point from @paulnrogers: If you use product recommendation engines, you may need to tweak rules for Christmas. #ecomchatdan barker
A1) don’t remove Xmas URLs indefinitely, reuse them YoY to keep history. just remove them from the main navigation. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
@danbarker if the xmas page is there all year, it should also help SEO & PPC #ecomchatHayden Sutherland
@danielbianchini @haydens30 very true & I’d bet it’s rare people do that! #ecomchatdan barker
@danbarker @haydens30 recommend it every year but lots remove it. Similar for lots of URLs on eCommerce sites. Can be reused. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
@danbarker working hard on abandon carts, funnel based retargeting #ecomchatSean Dawes
@fraserjwood @danbarker @erikau agreed, also can mean a slow loading site #ecomchatRed Barrington
A nice vaguely related tip is to look at which types of products sold when in the run up to Christmas last year. #ecomchatdan barker
Early buyers may already know what they want. Later on, more impulsive & looking for suggestions. #ecomchatdan barker
@danbarker We would plan our Q4 ecomm campaigns for just this phenomenon. Keyword intent = big. #ecomchatBill Sebald
@danbarker funny you should say that, doing that now for a Client for PPC tactical targets. Can also help inform the buying teams #ecomchatJames Gurd
Out of interest, who ramps up their basket abandonment programs this time of year? Usually expect abandon % to go up with traffic #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd Yep. #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@danbarker basket drop-offs also essential at Christmas for ecommerce. Have seen 300% sales increases from using it #ecomchatRed Barrington
The ‘Deal of the Day’ thing can work really well too, especially as can be tweeted/shared/etc v easily. #ecomchatdan barker
A1) add low selling products to XMAS deals such as 12 days of XMAS, to remove stock. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
@danbarker I really like ’12 days of xmas’ campaigns with a different deal / offer every day #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers @danbarker seen this work well for products that don’t normally sell but provide high margin #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
#ecomchat Deal of the Day can get a boost if you show clock counting down time left to redeem + stock levelsJames Gurd
Would recommend using capture+ to optimise cart fields https://www.postcodeanywhere.co.uk/demos/postal-code-address-validation.aspx #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers yes we’ve been using capture+ and found some really encouraging feedback so far… #ecomchatFraser Wood
#ecomchat adding live chat or/and making customer service details more visible can help to convert shoppers who need inspiration.Cranberry Panda
So #ecomchat Q2) How should e-commerce teams be using their marketing channels to drive Christmas sales?James Gurd
@JamesGurd affiliate: seasonal promotions and offers for cashback sites and discount code sites. #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@danbarker @jamesgurd Lots of seasonal gifting from PR agencies #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@JamesGurd Tactical outreach focused on seasonal trends, events and offers #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@JamesGurd Also, xmas-related discount codes for bloggers #ecomchatPaul Rogers
RT @paulnrogers: @JamesGurd Also, xmas-related discount codes for bloggers #ecomchat << +1Chris Dyson
@danbarker @JamesGurd I also like the idea of swapping retargeting pixels for strategic partnerships. #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@JamesGurd targeted email campaigns. Segment and display relevant deals. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
Bit of an obscure #ecomchat marketing tip: Sign up for all your competitors’ emails. Send your ‘gift’ emails before theirs where possible.dan barker
@danbarker @jamesgurd there are done great low-cost and targeted banner ad options that can provide good ROI for retailers #ecomchatRed Barrington
@danbarker plus email marketing – lots of low CPM deals or CPA lists out there #ecomchatRed Barrington
#ecomchat A2) For paid search, allocating some budget to retargeting is a must – keep them thinking about you (in a none stalkerish way)James Gurd
@JamesGurd Facebook retargeting and selected audiences is wroth trying for xmas #ecomchatPaul Rogers
A2) social media, platform specific discount codes. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
@JamesGurd Get rid of cookie control (and other unnecessary annoying plugins) before xmas haha #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers what’s wrong with the cookie/privacy law? It’s such a boon to the user journey…. #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd I mean the ‘CookieControl’ module specifically – I hate it. #ecomchatPaul Rogers
Lots of #ecomchat answers around discount codes. This seems to be the most popular ‘Christmas Marketing’ answer.dan barker
As conversion increases over Christmas, so often does ROI, you can sometimes use that to fund discounts/increased marketing. #ecomchatdan barker
When I was in-house, I always found ‘tiered’ discount codes worked well, the lowest tier slightly above AOV. #ecomchatdan barker
@danbarker They should also be part of affiliate campaigns (via code sites and cashback sites) #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers @danbarker should also be part of you email marketing strategy #ecomchatRed Barrington
@redbarrington @danbarker Also, potentially part of cart abandonment strategy #ecomchatPaul Rogers
A2) Set up your paid marketing in advance to promote last delivery date and surplus stock ahead of sale period #EcomChatHayden Sutherland
@haydens30 Good idea. Plus think about the people who shop online on Christmas Day – a cheeky email never hurts #EcomChatJames Gurd
A2) Re surplus stock, if you have eBay/Amazon channels, they are good outlets – those sites are rather busy at Christmas #EcomChatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd plus Amazon & eBay are usually more able to scale to peak demand #EcomChatHayden Sutherland
@JamesGurd that’s a good tip. I noticed this on Ebay yesterday. Sold 2,000 units in <12 hours. https://pic.twitter.com/57BC0FOh #ecomchatdan barker
Another #ecomchat voucher code tip: Bid on "[your brand] voucher code"; link to your offers page. Avoid blindly giving affiliate % away.dan barker
@danbarker @JamesGurd Also – Refer a friend campaigns are an opportunity #ecomchatPaul Rogers
Q3) How can pureplays compete effectively with multi-channel retailers given the disadvantge of having no store presence? #EcomChatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd digital know how. Lots multi-channel companies still working on footfall rather than online sales. #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
A3) #EcomChat make returns as simple as possible and communicate this (consider other collection services at peak time if able to )Hayden Sutherland
A3) ensure pureplay customer call centres are ready, willing & able to give exemplary service #EcomChatHayden Sutherland
One interesting advantage of pureplays is that starting your sale early cannibalises sales less than high street stores. #ecomchatdan barker
For a pureplay site – the second your ‘last christmas post’ window closes is a good time to start your big sale. #ecomchatdan barker
For a high-street merchant, doing the same means you’ll be selling lots of ‘sale’ gifts people would have happily bouht full price #ecomchatdan barker
Q3 Returns is a big deal, give customers the reassurance that they can return goods. Do it for free too. https://bit.ly/Rvvwky #ecomchatGraham Charlton
Q3 Offer fast delivery to get as many last minute orders as possible. #ecomchatGraham Charlton
@jamesgurd Most pure play retailers have the ability to sell cheaper and still make good margin, #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
@danielbianchini Perhaps for nice pureplays but for mass market it can be hard – price works best for commoditised product? #EcomChatJames Gurd
@paulnrogers @jamesgurd multi-channel businesses need to go through lots of red tape to change prices, pure play could skip this #EcomChatDaniel Bianchini
@danielbianchini @paulnrogers In some cases that’s probably big advantage but not all pureplays are ‘dynamic’ with fast decisions #EcomChatJames Gurd
@danielbianchini i.e. big multi-channel players like Tesco use price scrapers and constantly change pricing to remain competitive #EcomChatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd @danielbianchini Some also have algorithmic price increases based on orders and traffic #ecomchatPaul Rogers
As always loved #EcomChat by @danbarker & @jamesgurd tonight. Check out the hashtag for some great Christmas tips to increase sales.Billie Graham
Really enjoyed #ecomchat! Look forward to next week.Paul Rogers

Thanks very much to the following people for joining in: @CathyOliva, @DanielJAustin, @DanielMColeman, @Darren_Moloney, @FutureTracy, @JamesGurd, @LEONRETAIL, @LondonjobsSEO, @MagentoTalk, @RootsWebSol, @SeanDawes, @StokedSEO, @beyondcontent, @billsebald, @brandbillie, @cranberrypanda, @danbarker, @danielbianchini, @erikau, @fraserjwood, @gcharlton, @gpmd, @haydens30, @johnpeavoy, @kieronhughes, @paulnrogers, @ravisodha, @redbarrington, @therustybear, @webmgrs.

We’ll be back next monday at 17:30 UK time.

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