The Ghost of Ecommerce Christmas Past

September 13, 2013

Our #EcomChat write-up on The Ghost of Christmas Past was kindly written by @brandbillie

This week we discussed the lessons learned last Christmas and what should be implemented this year to enhance your site. It was quite the Christmas shindig with the following many tweeps chipping in their words of wisdom. Here are some of the key commments:

Q1: Which key changes did you made to your site (or Client sites) last Christmas & why? (and what did you see others do?)

  • ‏@mcmillanstu: @danbarker Last Nov. we launched a tablet-specific site, to capitalise on all those new devices getting opened up on Christmas day.
  • @ProjectOcto: @danbarker seasonal banner adverts (a/b tested), prices, all sales motivated. Dangerous to introduce UX changes at that time.
  • @haydens30: @danbarker A1: For one key client, we actually stripped large images off the site in preparation for peak Christmas trading.
  • @danbarker: @haydens30 that’s a great, simple idea. I know one removed the number on their basket from homepage for that reason.
  • @doggonwheels: @danbarker last Christmas we scaled down our ppc campaigns by about 50%.
  • @jamilkassam: @doggonwheels Why so?
  • @doggonwheels: @jamilkassam it’s fits our business model better. No point paying for applicants we can’t service or complete.
  • ‏@doggonwheels: @jamilkassam oct, nov, first wk dec then cut back with a big push jan.
  • ‏@jamilkassam: @doggonwheels So you mean after your delivery date has passed – understood!
  • @doggonwheels: @jamilkassam basically, yeah.
  • @danbarker: A couple of changes I saw among clients last Christmas:

1) The pre-emptive ‘bad weather’ messaging was all sorted (if not needed).
2) Most were prepared for big ‘mobile’ numbers, ‘tablet’ far exceeeded that (especially immediately after).

3) Christmas Day became a proper shopping day for some (sadly), a few had prepared for that.

4) Most had sort of ‘rolling’ sales, starting long before Christmas with milestones throughout to extend.

  • @ProjectOcto: @danbarker Smaller businesses not open resisted Xmas Day changes, bigger ones able to fulfil went for it.
  • @mcmillanstu: @danbarker yes, Christmas day is now such an important shopping day.
  • @ChrisEFrost: @danbarker Some of us work/support regions that don’t celebrate Christmas. Its like any other so makes sense to enjoy the sales.
  • @mcmillanstu: @danbarker people are increasingly mobile in those last days, everyone should ensure they offer service parity over all devices.
  • @mcmillanstu: harking back to a previous #ecomchat, delivery messaging seemed to be so much more important last year, with ASOS offering a midnight cutoff.
  • @JamesGurd: @mcmillanstu web-to-store orders grew a lot for the multi-channel retailers i know – how was it for Schuh?
  • @mcmillanstu: @JamesGurd funny you should ask:
  • @JamesGurd: @mcmillanstu looks like a heart monitor for someone on Casualty…
  • @mcmillanstu: @JamesGurd lol, yes… the shift to store -fulfillment was dramatic, even before the cut-off date, people looking for certainty.
  • @MontseCano: @mcmillanstu @JamesGurd It’d be interesting to survey those customers to see their top reasons.
  • @JamesGurd: @montsecano @mcmillanstu Indeed, often it’s fear of postal network failure esp for retailers reliant on Royal Mail.
  • @danbarker: @JamesGurd & could part be a knock-on from all the heavy “don’t chance the weather! buy now!” emails.
  • @JamesGurd: @danbarker Good point – nothing like scaring people into action! Can be pain for remote customers.

Any lurkers with any notes on what they saw retailers do last Christmas?

  • @geake: @danbarker Just bigger service statements e.g. “Signed delivery within 48 hours.” etc to remove doubts.
  • MontseCano: @geake @danbarker That’d increase trust.
  • @Magique83: @geake I think I’d prefer to see actual dates for delivery around Xmas as I’d assume that generic 48 hrs may not be 100% accurate.
  • @geake: @Magique83 Yep, 100% agree.
  • @mcmillanstu: @Magique83 agreed Mike, we’d really like to give people more certainty.
  • @geake: the problem is the 2-3 day courier is half the price of the 100% certain Next Day courier!
  • @AndrewGirdwood: I think there will be in store collection but also in-store mobile price checking. Google said 20% of checkers switch in-store.
  • @laurajhannan: @AndrewGirdwood agreed! More mobile payments in-store too for the convenience of home delivery (if not last minute).
  • @AndrewGirdwood: @laurajhannan I’m sure Square will love Christmas. In the UK? Not there yet but Contactless Payment will grow.
  • @danbarker: @AndrewGirdwood @laurajhannan and big for ‘wishlist’ & ’email this’ buttons on mobile sites.
  • @JamesGurd: @danbarker Yep Debenhams just added “email” to app basket page, can be used on any other device as syncd.
  • @AndrewGirdwood: First Christmas for Enchanced Campaigns too. I hope to see lots of Location based bid modifers.
  • @danbarker: @AndrewGirdwood @mcmillanstu what do you think of gmail promotion ads? could be v big for christmas if they push them.
  • @AndrewGirdwood: @danbarker @mcmillanstu And what about the impact of the Promotions Tab this year! Email marketers worried?
  • @danbarker: @AndrewGirdwood @mcmillanstu I see more and more of those ‘please drag us to your other tab!!’ emails each week.
  • @mcmillanstu: @danbarker @AndrewGirdwood kind of says it all about the current state of email marketing…
  • @Magique: For site that see traffic increases then they need to pre plan for additional server resource. Worst time for site to go down!
  • @beyondcontent: @Magique83 considering slowdown I see during peak hrs for likes of Bench & Hugo Boss now, they’ll really struggle at Christmas.
  • @danbarker: @beyondcontent @Magique83 oh dear – how’d Hugo Boss do over last couple of weeks?!
  • @beyondcontent: @danbarker @Magique83 the tabloid coverage has probably done the IT dept a favour and pushed the issue. No-one sees ROI until server melts.
  • @beyondcontent: @danbarker @Magique83 Kate Middleton had to wear a REISS dress to melt a server and force an IT infrastructure upgrade. MDs only see cost.

@JamesGurd: Wow #EcomChat has flown again, only 5 mins left – any final comments peeps on how to stay warm this Christmas?

  • @geake: Get a decent parcel carrier & hosting provider.
  • @mcmillanstu: @JamesGurd remember your staff and let them have as much family time as possible.
  • @JamesGurd: @geake Yep def the hosting – need to ensure they’ve factored in resilience for short-term + persistent spikes.

Cheers Dan and James, I loved writing up about my favourite subject “Christmas”. If you like a cheeky Christmas countdown feel free to follow me @brandbillie. And remember kids, ONLY 14 more #EcomChat’s until Christmas.


ps. If you’re wondering “what is this all about?” there is an about page to explain everything.

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