It’s 6 am and the sun is just peeking over the horizon.
You spring out of your bed and dash to the window.
A light dusting of snow covers the ground. You squeal with excitement before racing downstairs to see just how many presents the jolly fat man left for you.
The rest of the morning is a whirlwind of torn paper, laughter, and the frantic emptying of boxes.
This is the Christmas morning many of us grew up with.
As you grow older, the focus shifts from the gifts to family and food.
But for you, as an ecommerce brand, your focus is focused on securing as many sales as possible.
As well it should be.
The Christmas period sales might not be as mighty as those on Black Friday weekend, but they’re still nothing to scoff at.
That Criteo report has the Christmas week seeing a marked improvement in AoV which results in more money for you.
As you can see, the festive sales period doesn’t end as soon as Cyber Monday has passed, but extends all the way through to the new year.
You need to be on top of your marketing for that entire period, here’s how to make even more sales in 2018.
Let’s first get the boring stuff out of the way and look at what you need to address from a technical standpoint to drive more sales this year.
1 – Site Speed
This is something that should always be a top priority for any ecommerce brand.
Decreasing your page’s load time can drastically increase conversions. According to Hubspot, adding even 1.5 seconds to load time can halve your conversion rate.
Improving your site’s page load time is key to securing more sales over the already frantic Xmas period.
If you want to learn about how to increase your site’s load speed, check out this piece from Crazy Egg.
2 – Mobile-First Strategy
In 2017, there were more mobile browsers than desktop over the BFCM period.
If you’re ignoring your mobile optimization strategy, then you’re going to be losing out on a ton of sales. Make sure that you’re optimizing for mobile first as if you’re not, the poor user experience could end up costing you.
Here’s a great guide on optimizing for mobile commerce from the Shopify team.
3 – Navigation
A good site navigation can be the difference from your users finding what they need or watching them bounce in frustration.
As a general rule, you want to organise any navigation into topics and sub topics, as demonstrated below.
However, I’d also recommend including the main deals and primary persuasive offers in your primary header bar.
Kind of like Amazon does here.
Amazon’s made it super simple for me to find what it is I need.
However, the key thing all sites need is a search function. If you can add images to the search bar then you’ll see even more conversions as well.
Brickhouse saw a 100% increase in conversions when adding images to their search results.
4 – Gamification
Everyone loves a little bit of fun right?
And sure, shopping itself is kinda fun, but taking it to the next level and improving user experience by offering a gamified aspect can really help increase conversions.
There’s plenty of different ways to gamify the shopping experience, and they don’t necessarily have to be complex.
eBay’s bidding system is a game of sorts, one where everyone plays but there’s only one winner.
You could opt for something more complex like Bonobos did in 2011 with this campaign.
They hid images around different sites which, when found and clicked on, gave the customer a $25 gift card and free shipping.
A fun way to ensure your users browse through your product lines.
If you’re not sure what to do, then check out a tool like Wheelio. They offer a simple gamification solution that offers users a discount in return for their email address.
Just slapping up a new social update, email campaign, and site banner that say “Christmas Sale Now On!” isn’t enough.
You need to know how to really leverage your campaigns and hook attention in this super competitive period.
5 – Season Specific Campaigns
A lot of folk will just make minor amendments to their other campaigns.
They’ll change a few words here and there to make it Christmassy and think that’s enough. But it’s not.
Whilst Black Friday weekend is all about sales, Christmas is a time that has a somewhat special feel.
People really get ito the spirit of the season. They decorate the exterior of their houses with masses of lights, they put trees up indoors, they eat season specific food, and generally are a lot happier.
Tap into that.
Use the festive feeling to inform and guide your Xmas promotions.
Leverage Christmas colours, language, and the feeling of the season to make a connection with people – like Dollar Shave Club did with the below.
View this post on Instagram
When you’re running Xmas campaigns, don’t just focus on the savings, but also look at the feeling of what you’re putting out there.
Make it seasonal.
6 – Repeat Your Winners
A week or two back there was a great answer from a skilled copywriter (Glenn Fisher of AllGoodCopy) on the best way to market your business.
A1. Repeating your winners. When you find a successful way to market, small businesses/freelancers tend to only use it once. You should always repeat your winners. The struggle is coming up with consistently fresh new ideas to test against your winners #contentclubuk
— Glenn Fisher (@allgoodcopy) November 20, 2018
In short, it’s repeat your winners.
If you had a campaign that provided bumper sales last year for Christmas, update it and use it again.
Why reinvent the wheel?
7 – Personalisation
Personalisation is often spoken about in suuuper simple terms.
Like “use the recipients first name”.
Not bad advice, but hardly enough to create a breakthrough campaign, right?
Personalisation needs to go beyond simple tactics and should inform your overall strategy.
For the Xmas period, you want to recommend products people are willing to buy.
So dig into a user’s purchase history. Look at what they bought last year from you for Christmas and offer similar products to them this year.
See if they’ve bought 2+ items of a set or within a category and recommend the next.
These kind of personalised recommendation can generate up to 4X as many conversions.
Use the data from the recent BFCM campaigns and sales to inform your Christmas campaigns.
During Black Friday people often buy something for themselves, hit them up in the run up to Christmas seeing if they want to get the same product they now love for a loved one.
8 – Abandonment Retrieval
Over the years I’ve done a lot of work in the cart abandonment space.
I’ve seen brands recoup huge potential losses through the implementation of simple emails or messages after a cart is abandoned.
Generally speaking, the average abandonment rate sites at between 75-80% depending on industry.
At the very least, you’re losing $3 for every $1 you make.
Implementing a sound cart abandonment strategy is key to making more money in busy shopping periods when sales and abandonment spike.
9 – Seasonal Specific Referrals
Referral programs can mean big money.
With 82% of customers saying they consult a friend before making a purchase, actively asking people to recommend your products is a no brainer.
Of course, your regular referral program could work, but if you want to massively increase its effectiveness give it that festive spin.
Use relevant Christmas colours.
Pop a picture of Santa in there.
Make it clear that this will save them money in the month when most people’s gift expenditure is huge.
10 – Leverage Emerging Channels
The marketing world is forever changing.
New tactics, tools, and strategies emerge almost monthly. And yet, very few seem to offer any real tangible benefit.
However, there’s a new channel that’s helping brands across the globe secure thousands of dollars in extra revenue every single day.
Messenger marketing is a more personal way to connect with your users and, thanks to its conversational format, has helped many brands secure more sales.
However, it excels in transactional messages like simple welcomes and cart abandonment. in testing it at Recart against email for cart abandonment, we found it provide a much better conversion rate.
Get yourself a Messenger marketing solution so you’ll get some incredible engagement numbers that put email to shame.
11 – Channel Specific Campaigns
It’s easy to think you can repurpose that Facebook campaign on Instagram and twitter and still see great results.
But the networks themselves are fundamentally different.
Twitter is about short conversations, Facebook is becoming a game to see who can make the most natural sounding post, ad Instagram is about being highly visual.
If you simply copy and paste your ads across different networks it’s only going to feel right to the consumer on one channel.
You have to adapt and amend your campaigns to better fit with the expectations and intent of the users on different platforms.
12 – Cross Channel Promotions
Whilst the ads themselves should be network specific, you shouldn’t chop up your campaign itself and silo it to different channels.
If anything, every touchpoint across channels should feel like a natural progression from the last.
The overall campaign should be the same across networks, and your users should be able to dip in and out at different stages on different platforms.
This is, of course, difficult to manage. However, with the right tracking and optmization strategy you could massively increase the effectiveness of your campaigns with a solid multi-channel marketing approach.
13 – Incorporate Social Commerce
I mentioned earlier how social commerce is one of the new channels you should be leveraging, the question is, how?
Social commerce really excels at the top of the funnel with low cost,
By cutting out the long purchase journey people are used to and reducing it to a simple 2-step process you can massively increase conversions.
People see something on social they want to buy, they click the buy now button and an automated checkout bot helps them complete their purchase.
This simple 2-step process is how Marvel managed to achieve a 58% conversion rate and generate 18X more engagement than any other campaign.
You can get your social commerce strategy up and running today by signing up for a free jumper account.
14 – Vouchers on External Sites
Everyone loves a deal.
And when you’re having to buy presents for multiple people, every dollar saved is more than worth it.
If you check out the Google search data, the searches for discount codes spike every Christmas period.
Your SEO strategy won’t be set up to rank for the term, so submit your own coupons, vouchers, and discounts to third party sites that rank well for the term.
Sites like RetailMeNot.com and CouponCodes.com are an ideal way to get extra attention for your store during this period.
15 – Get your Affiliates In Line
You can’t be everywhere during this super busy period.
You can take some of the promotional headache off your own hands by letting affiliates promote on your behalf.
But you’ve got to be prepared for this.
Now is the time to start prepping your affiliates.
Make sure they have everything they need from the right discount codes and tracking UTMs to the most up to date banner ads and images.
The more you can help them, the better your overall sales will be.
16 – Make your Xmas Promos Easy to Find
Earlier in this list, I mentioned how navigation was key to increasing sales.
However, you also want to go one step further and really highlight your Christmas campaigns.
Make sure that on your key pages there are prominent links and banners that let people know you’re running a Christmas campaign and that they can save X% now.
Here’s a great example of how to catch attention with a season specific campaign.
On top of this, make sure you’re pinned Tweets, Facebook posts, and INstagram stories are constantly reminding people of your sale.
You don’t want people wondering if they can save money with you.
17 – Christmas Isn’t the End
So a lot of brands will run sales all the way up to the Christmas period and then stop everything as soon as the day itself arrives.
After all, it’s too late now for a gift to arrive, right?
But what of the people who have received money or gift cards as gifts? They’re still gonna want to shop, right?
If you check the sales numbers on Christmas Day, you’ll see that it’s still a day to drive a huge number of sales.
Run you’re festive sales all the way through to New Year to make the most sales possible.
18 – Understand Regional Differences
This is tied to the point above.
In the US, a lot of people end up going back ot work the day immediately following Christmas.
However, in the UK we have Boxing Day. Another day of the holiday which is often spent recovering from the food coma you’ll wake to find yourself in.
And as you can see from the above, Boxing Day is still a great day for sales.
When you’re running your campaigns be aware of the various cultural differences and how they can impact the sales on specific days.
Timing and Persuasion
Persuasion is at the heart of any effective strategy.
If you can persuade someone your product is the right choice for them, you’ll make the sale. Question is, what can you do to increase the persuasiveness of your campaigns?
19 – FOMO
The fear of missing out is one of the most used strategies in marketing.
And with good reason.
Adding a scarcity or time limit to your offers is proven to suspend rational thought in favour of immediate action.
The great thing about seasonal campaigns like those at Christmas is that they’ve an in built countdown. You have to get the gift before Christmas or it’s useless, right?
So use that.
Something as simple as mentioning the sale is for a limited time only can help.
But you should also look at getting more specific.
Use countdown timers, stock counters, and other elements to really increase the need for a speedy purchase.
Speaking of which…
20 – Stock Counters
A hard time limit in the form of a countdown is one way to introduce urgency to your campaigns.
Another method is to outline the stock levels of the products.
If people see there’s only a handful left in this busy shopping period, they’re going to jump at the chance to beat other customers to the punch.
Some of the best examples of this are on travel sites who not only list how many are left, but also indicate if demand is high.
Listing stock levels under your items will push users to take quick action or risk losing out.
21 – Understand Purchase Behaviours
We’d all like to think that we’re the super prepared person who has their gifts picked out in advance.
That we’re the one sat at home enjoying a Christmas movie whilst everyone else is out doing last minute shopping.
But it rarely works out that way, right?
Truth is, the week just before Christmas is where gift searches peak and panic buying is at it’s height.
Make sure you’re leveraging those last minute buyers to make some last minute sales.
22 – Bundles
Two of the biggest drivers of revenue gain within ecommerce are increasing average order value and securing a cross or up-sell.
However, at Christmas, one of the best things you can do is bundle your products together.
This not only provides the user with a ready made gift basket of sorts, but it’s also a more compelling offer that sells more.
Usually with product bundles you’re selling 2 or more complementary products. However, for the Xmas period, you might also want to consider what products would make a good gift set.
23 – Delivery Dates
I’ve already mentioned how adding an element of scarcity can increase the likelihood of a purchase.
You can take this one step further with your deliveries as well.
We all want the gifts we buy to arrive in time for Christmas, right?
So remind people when the last day for guaranteed delivery before the holidays is. Just like the below tweet does.
Can’t believe I’m about to say this. But it’s the LAST day for domestic shipping to arrive in time for Christmas! Get those orders in and receive free shipping over $50. pic.twitter.com/JwGoraEIEE
— Darius Rucker (@dariusrucker) December 14, 2017
As it gets closer to the cut-off date make sure you’re more prominently featuring this little detail.
24 – Gifting Yourself
I don’t come from a big gift giving family.
We usually spend no more than $50 per person (and even that’s a lot) for any sort of holiday.
However, I still want a nice little something to open on Christmas morning.
Rather than build all your promotions around that perfect gift for Mom, partners, or kids, build something out that lets people know it’s OK to buy for themselves.
25 – Embrace your inner James Bond
And spy on the competition.
Sign up to their email lists, follow their social accounts and see how they’re promoting their products.
If there’s anything in there you like, adapt it to your products and audience.
It’s a simple way to get new campaign ideas and should be an ongoing process for you.
Getting your potential customers to the checkout stage is a huge task, however, it’s not the main hurdle you’ll face.
The biggest hurdle comes when you’re asking for their card dewtails and int he way you process the order and follow up with them.
Screw up any of these, and you could lose the sale, but will definitely lose the long term repeat custom.
Here’s how to reduce the chances of that happening.
26 – Form Autofill
A short while ago I reached out to a number of ecommerce professionals for their number one tip.
Peep Laja of ConversionXL said the following;
According to the man who is known as one of (if not the) most influential conversion optimization specialists in the world, reducing cognitive load by adding in form autofill is gonna be key.
So do that.
27 – Streamline Everything
Following on from the above, it’s about making every stage of the process as smooth and streamlined as possible.
I might be slightly biased here, but there’s nothing out there that can compete wth jumper and the social commerce two-step checkout it creates for smooth usage.
The simple see it > click to buy process is going to help you sell even more because it’s so simple.
That level of ease of purchase is what you should be aiming for.
if you’re looking at your store, model it after Amazon’s super simple one-click purchase.
28 – Free Delivery
This is a no brainer.
Unexpected delivery costs is the primary reason people abandon their carts.
Don’t take that risk.
Offer site wide free delivery (or as close to it as your margins will allow) to avoid losing sales unnecessarily.
29 – Effective Fulfilment Notices
So we’ve mentioned how delivery costs are an issue, right? Also, that people want to receive their product before the 25th so delivery countdown timers are helpful.
but what about after the purchase?
You should always be working to keep the user updated so they don’t panic and wonder if their product is dispatched, on it’s way, or arrived.
There’s plenty of simple solutions for this.
Most platforms offer delivery updates as standard so you should just be able to activate it.
It doesn’t need to be anything special, even something simple like the below will work.
In an ideal world, everyone who buys from you over the festive period will also come back and buy from you multiple times in the future.
However, no one is going to come back fro a repeat purchase if the customer service was bad.
To make sure you don’t alienate customers from returning to your store, make sure you follow these steps.
30 – Gift Wrapping
I can’t wrap gifts. I’m terrible at it.
If there is an option to get the gift wrapped for me, I’m taking it.
And I’m not the only one as Hallmark believes gift wrapping to be a multi-billion dollar industry.
As the brand, you don’t really need to wrap anything either.
Brands like John’s Crazy Socks will pop your purchase into a gift bag. It’s low effort for them, but adds to that all important average order value.
31 – Load your Support Staff
With the increases in sales, you’re gonna see an increase in customer service requests.
And when customer support is a key differentiator deciding whether users will shop with you or not, it’s worth making sure you can handle the increased need.
How you handle this is up to you. A couple of potentials include:
- Leveraging some form of automated responses
- Asking your support staff to pull extra hours
- Bringing in extra support staff for the festive season
I even know of one brand whose support staff work in shifts and sleep at the office over the Black Friday weekend to ensure the service is all it could be.
32 – Ensure your T&Cs are Simple, but Iron Clad
We’re getting into the realm of self preservation with this one.
Over the Xmas period you should see a massive influx of customers. With that influx, you’re also going to see a spike in returns and refund requests – not all of which will be legitimate.
So, to save yourself a headache later, make sure you update your policies right now.
Ideally, you want them to cover everything you need such as return process, how long people have to process a return or file a grievance etc.
But more than that, you want to make it simple. You want those stressed last minute shoppers to be able to understand quickly what the return and refund policy is.
33 – Stress Tests
Every year on Black Friday weekend there’s some huge brand whose website crashes due to the increased load.
This year, John Lewis fell victim to the demand from their customers.
Whilst the Christmas won’t produce that level of interest, it’s still worth you making sure your entire operation can handle the increased demand.
The customer support mentioned above is part of this, but you’ll also want to double check;
- Traffic load capabilities
- Whether your courier can handle a large influx of orders
- Your customer support capabilities
- Any third party software like your ESP
So there you go.
33 tips to run more profitable campaigns over this year’s Christmas period.
If you’ve got any questions or feel like we’ve missed anything, feel free to drop a comment below.
And if you fancy adding a cheeky little social commerce strategy into the mix, sign up for a free jumper trial right here.