With Christmas being the busiest trading period of the year for most retailers, it pays to optimise every aspect of your eCommerce store to increase sales. As we move into November, now is the time to start implementing your marketing strategies. Here are 7 ways to increase your eCommerce sales this Christmas season:

1. Get Your Website Ready

First and foremost is making sure that your website is ready and capable of handling the influx of visitors to it. Check that your hosting plan will be able to handle an increase in visitors without crashing, make sure updates are done prior to the busy period starting, ensure backups are working, and know how to get technical support quickly if you need it.

Then it’s time to make sure the user experience of your website is ready. Does the site work well on mobile devices, do all of the links work, is the homepage promoting the right products to increase sales, are images optimised to create a fast loading time, are menus practical and making it easy for people to find items, is the search functionality working, is the checkout process as simple as it can be, and are order confirmation emails working? As a further check, occasionally buy from your own store to verify that everything is working the way it should be.

2. Email, Email, Email

Your email list is one of the best tools you have for increasing sales because it includes people that have already bought from you or people that have wanted to sign up. Alternate the content of these emails with new products, current promotions, important notes about delivery dates, 5-star reviews from customers and links off to your social media profiles.

Like with paid ads, email is all about frequency. It normally takes a few emails before someone will take action. Start sending some emails in November to get people thinking about your brand and your products. Then in December, increase the frequency to at least weekly.

3. Be Crystal Clear On Delivery Options

One of the first things that visitors will want to know once they get to your site is the cost of delivery and how long it will take. Make it easy for them to find this information by having a link to your delivery/shipping page in the main menu or the top menu if you have one on your site.

On the delivery page itself, it needs to be easy to understand so that visitors can easily see what options there are for delivery and the costs. Also include delivery cut off dates so people know when to order by for their purchase to arrive before Christmas.

A proven strategy to convert visitors into buyers is by offering free delivery. If this is something that you do or can afford to offer, promote it at the top of your site so it’s one of the first things people see when they visit. Social media posts, emails and paid ads are also great places to promote free delivery.

4. Dominate On Social Media

This is the time to really be at your best on social media because so many people are online shopping for presents. Choose the 1 or 2 social channels that work best for your brand and focus on them. Typically, this is going to be Facebook and Instagram where a combination of photos and video posts along with stories work best.

Create engaging content on a daily basis and monitor it to see what type of posts are working best. Include lifestyle type photos and videos, behind the scenes, user generated content, customer reviews, FAQ’s and some fun Christmas related content that incorporates your brand. You want there to be consistency and an overall theme to all of your social posts.

On a daily basis, engage with people who have liked or commented on your social posts and find other posts, hashtags or people that you can engage with.

5. Use Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads on Google, Facebook and Instagram should form part of your digital marketing strategies during the Christmas season. This is a time of year when buyers are very active. If they have found your site and looked at your products, there’s a good chance that they are looking to purchase.

By running retargeting ads, people will see the products that they have viewed on your website when they are on Facebook, Instagram or other websites that they visit. It’s a good way to remind and encourage people back to your eCommerce site to buy from you.

There is a range of different strategies that you can use for retargeting ads. For example, you can have the first retargeting ad remind people of the products they viewed on your site, then if they still haven’t purchased after 3 days you can show them a second ad that gives a discount if they complete their purchase.

You can also retarget people that add items to the cart but never finalise their purchase. This type of retargeting can often bring in the best results because the visitor was so close to purchasing but something stopped them at the last minute. In this campaign, you can offer them a discount or free delivery straight up to complete the purchase with you rather than with a competitor.

6. Outperform In Customer Service

The Christmas season can bring out the worst in people, especially when their purchases are lost in transit, late, wrong, or damaged. If you are experiencing delays in processing orders or shipping, add a notice on your eCommerce store informing visitors of this. If you are out of stock, make sure your website is updated so that item can’t be purchased.

It’s best to stay on top of customer service and address questions, concerns and problems as quickly as possible. Make it easy for them to online chat, call or message you but don’t include options if you can’t manage them effectively and in a timely manner. And, when customers have a genuine complaint, go out of your way to resolve the matter and offer them a gift card, discount coupon or refund. This creates goodwill with the customer and will likely have them shopping with you again rather than leaving 1-star reviews all over social media and the Internet.

7. Follow-on After Christmas

Many eCommerce retailers make the mistake of finishing their campaigns and promotions the day or two before Christmas. Although it does depend on the type of products that you sell, we have seen some really good results by retailers that continue on their marketing efforts through to the New Year.

There are a lot of last minute Christmas shoppers that will still buy even though it won’t be delivered until after Christmas. This is also a time when people are expecting sales as part of Boxing Day so it’s a good time to reduce prices on the leftover stock from Christmas.