7 Ways to get your eCommerce Website ready for Christmas
If you are just starting to think about your Christmas marketing plan then you are really cutting it fine. Think we’re being over-dramatic?
Christmas shopping has already begun for many consumers. Last year, Digital Strategy Consulting found that nearly a third of all Christmas shopping takes place during September and October, so the clock has started ticking.
Christmas is just around the corner and most of the large retailers and online stores have been planning their festive campaigns since July.
So with Christmas fast approaching, this is what we recommend you and your team check over to make sure they are addressed or in place;
Download the Infographic – ‘7 Ways To Get Your eCommerce Website Ready For Christmas’
1. Optimise Your Landing Pages
You should be doing this throughout the year anyway but putting some additional focus onto your landing pages during Christmas should be top of your To-Do list.
The Christmas market is a huge, global beast and you need to make absolutely sure your site is at its best from now until January.
These are the steps that you should take to make sure your pages are optimised for the most suitable search term that is (or will be trending);
Use the Keyword Planner to find keywords around your category, product type or product.
- TIP: Choose a phrase that includes as many of the recommendations as possible, but is also grammatically correct so it can be fit naturally within content.
On Page Content Optimisation
Go back to your page and make sure the phrase is reflected within these areas:
- URL – does the pages web address use the exact phrase you’re targeting? If not then change it but make sure you add a 301 redirect.
- Meta/Page Title – With your phrase at the beginning, write a title to attract the clicks and make sure you have your brand at the end but stay within 60-65 characters (e.g. Diamond Cluster Rings from £64.99 | Domain.co.uk).
- Meta Description – Tell the consumer why they should shop from you, what’s different about you and what do you offer. Make it relevant to the product but remember you only have 155 characters to play with.
- Page Headers – If it sounds right, make sure the H1 just has the Keyword but your H2 has the Keyword within a short phrase.
- Content – make your content highly informative, think of everything your customers ask you about that category, that product type or that product and get all the important points and facts written up. When doing this, the Keyword should naturally appear but always check you’ve not used it too much and it doesn’t come across as spammy to the user.
- Images – Before you use an image, rename the title to exactly match the Keyword on your computer and then upload to the website. While in the website, include the Keyword within the Alt text attribute.
- Internal Linking – go through the website and make sure that where applicable, you are linking to the page we’re amending. Link the page reference, you don’t have to make it an exact match.
On Page Conversion Optimisation
Look at the front end of the website and check your call to actions;
- Is it clear how to add something to the basket, or once added is it clear how they proceed to the checkout.
- Are your company’s USP and consumer benefits clearly on show to give added confidence to the consumer as to why they should buy from you? It’s not all about price, excellent customer service and generous returns policies go a long way.
- Are you recommending other products and practicing careful upsell techniques? If someone it shopping for a Hammer, you should be displaying Nails on the same page with a “Quick Add” feature.
2. Christmas Offers and Discounts
No doubt you have a number of fantastic discounts and offers all ready to go for the Christmas rush. However the main question is whether all of your customers or website visitors know about them?
Are your offers clearly displayed throughout your website, within category pages or product pages for instance? If someone knows they have to spend another ten pounds for free shipping, there’s a good chance they will.
In regards to your communication, subtle reminders to your community that an offer is still live with how many days remaining is acceptable. Thinking of all the other options the consumer has, not everyone will remember what you have running.
Trickle out your offers if you prefer, or go for a couple of big pushes each week, but start the ball rolling now or you’ll be running to catch up.
3. Have a Seasonal Front End Design
One great thing about the Christmas period is the decorations – everyone gets in on the act, from shop windows and local restaurants, to television adverts and websites.
It is a chance to show your creative side and maybe do something original with your standard graphics. It also shows your customers that you’re progressive and forward thinking business.
Depending on your shopping cart and how its been built, adding a little “Christmas Feel” isn’t a monster or very time consuming task.
Take a look around and examine previous popular designs to find something that still suits your brand but fully encapsulates the festive season as well.
4. Prepare for a Social Push
Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social channels are your friends over Christmas.
With more people taking time off work over the holidays, you’ll find a higher number of interactions than you may have seen previously.
Start to engage with your users early, build that trust with your community and when you share the “sales pitch” people will be more acceptant of it.
There’s a handful of ways you can promote your business and offers through social channels, here’s a couple;
- Paid promotion – you can target new audiences based on interests and demographics.
- Social Incentives – ask your community to share, like or comment on a post about an offer then put everyone who engaged into a hat and draw one for an extra discount or free gift.
- Natural Engagement – on Twitter you can search for people who are talking about certain products, to which you can reach out and say “not sure if this is of interest to you, but we currently have XX% off what you’re looking for at the moment”.
5. Organise Adwords Campaigns
If you’ve used Adwords over Christmas before, you will already be prepared for the influx of traffic you will receive. Stats can go haywire in a matter of hours and this can be very confusing for the uninitiated.
- Budget – Competition in Adwords is fierce during Christmas and it is easy to lose sight of your budget when caught up in the buzz. Check your budget caps on your campaigns to ensure you don’t burst your limit and once you’ve finalised your budget, stick to it.
- Keyword Research – It may be worth creating a specific Christmas campaign within Adwords in order to target the right keywords. Focus on your highest conversions to ensure you don’t slip behind your competitors once the ball gets rolling.
- Vigilance – Keep an eye on conversion rates and flag up any issues as soon as they arise – the best advice here is prepare and monitor consistently during your campaign.
6. Double Check Your Categories
Every year, people across the world promise themselves that they will definitely not leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute and they will definitely take their time picking out the perfect gifts – and every year these people leave it as late as possible.
The one thing you don’t want to be doing is frustrating these already pressurised people so check for the following;
- Poorly planned category pages – Go back through your category pages and ensure only the right products are grouped together. Separate your Christmas items from your New Year items and optimise your content to promote only the products listed within the category.
- Missing products – Your customers don’t want to follow the trail you’ve laid out only to realise your item is missing or out of stock. Be clear as soon as it is possible if something is out of stock and offer alternatives.
- Broken links – Time is of the essence for shoppers at Christmas and a broken link will instantly turn them off your site and onto someone else’s. Double check every link goes where it should.
- Faulty check out basket – This is where you make your money so check and double check your basket functionality can cope with a sudden influx of users. It is also worth setting up a Thank You email or subscribe option once they have completed their purchase in order to monitor traffic and build up your customer base.
Tip: To help quickly identify broken links you may want to use a tool called Screaming Frog. If you only need to crawl up to 500 pages then you can use the free licence.
7. Track, Measure and Improve
So, you’ve planned the world’s greatest Christmas campaign and it has gone off without a hitch. Fantastic! Now, where’s your evidence?
If you neglect to set up the proper tools to track its success then you’re not going to have the necessary data to hand to make sure you make improvements next year.
Simple tools like Google Analytics and the admin areas of Social Media pages are (potentially) all you may need to get a good feel for what has worked. Google Analytics will track your revenue and help you see which channels are strongest, whilst the social media tools can tell you what posts have had the most impact, showing engagement and amplification signals.
Good luck and we hope you find this useful. Of course, you can download the Infographic by following this link – ‘7 Ways To Get Your eCommerce Website Ready For Christmas’