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Driving eCommerce Sales at Christmas:
10 Steps to Maximise Your Revenue.

Drive more traffic and stay ahead of your competitors this Christmas!

It happens every year, call it Peak Season or even Silly Season but for most retailers, the Christmas Season is the most important time of the year. For eCommerce merchants it’s vital to get it right, most online Christmas campaigns launch in August (believe it or not) so planning can start as far back as early May or June. If you haven’t really got all your ‘ducks in a row’ regarding this years Christmas Season don’t worry we have the perfect insight to Driving eCommerce Sales at Christmas with these 10 Steps to Maximise Your Revenue.

From developing your homepage strategy, understanding how to use paid search and social media advertising effectively to providing a robust platform for customer queries. Our latest article will give you some inspiration on how to enrich your customer journey and maximise your eCommerce revenue this Christmas season.

Driving eCommerce Sales at Christmas with these 10 Steps to Maximise Your Revenue.

  1. Develop a Homepage Strategy.
  2. Improve your website structure keeping Click Depth in mind.
  3. Use PPC to drive immediate traffic.
  4. Use content to add value to your eCommerce website.
  5. Leveraging your Social Media as another sales channel.
  6. Design an intuitive user-centric product page.
  7. Test your checkout system.
  8. Align your email marketing with your eCommerce purchasing and delivery systems.
  9. Develop a Shopping Cart Abandonment Strategy.
  10. Setup a robust platform for customer support.

1. Homepage Strategy – Navigation is the Key to your Christmas Shop Offers.

It’s important to control and manage what your customers see first. One of the most important pages on your website is your homepage, most of your traffic will flow to and from this by organic or paid means. So it’s vitally important when an eCommerce shopper lands on your homepage they don’t bounce off due to poor navigation with the lack of a homepage strategy. Here are some tips to building a robust strategy for your homepage that will reduce a high bounce rate from occurring.

  • Run a navigation menu check, ensure that there is a logical flow to your navigation menu, its clear and is optimised for mobile. 
  • Use simple ‘breadcrumb’ navigation techniques to allow your shoppers know where they are and how to get back to where they started
  • Using ‘call to action’ buttons and links to the most targeted landing pages, driving traffic to your most desired Christmas landing pages. 
  • Check your website works on all the main browsers and devices. This can cause serious issues in user experience and drive bounce rates. 
  • Ensure that all promotional graphics and logos are clear and located in a highly visible area on the header of your eCommerce homepage. 
  • Ensure the Site Search option is located in a clear area on the homepage, also test its accuracy in for product search results. 
  • Integrate heat-map software like Hotjar to gauge high areas of user activity on your homepage in terms of scrolling, click – throughs and user feedback.   
  • Drive notifications on any other incentives that might entice a bulk buy like ‘Free Shipping’ over certain orders and ‘click and collect’ options.

2. Keep Click-Depth in mind! 

This means developing Christmas Shop Landing Pages that are less than 3 clicks from your homepage. 

Click-depth refers to the number of clicks it takes you to reach a specific page. It’s vital for search engine spiders to be able to crawl your website easily so they can index the page content. A page directly linked to your homepage will have a depth of two and the homepage itself being one.  So ensuring that your eCommerce website has a more horizontal architecture should alleviate any difficulty with search engines crawl-ability and ensuring all the important Christmas shop web pages get indexed quickly. The best practice is to integrate a temporary link to your Christmas Shop on your main navigation menu (if you have the room) and then integrate an attractive graphic with a call to action button that links directly to your seasonal landing pages. This way it provides an easier route for web traffic to reach your Christmas Store.  

The impact of not having a more horizontal architecture will mean important seasonal product pages will not be crawled by search engines and rank high with organic search queries. Running a website audit will highlight pages greater than three clicks. In order to re-align them within the three click-depth range you possibly will need the skillsets of a web developer to redesign the architecture of your website ensuring that the flow is more lateral and user friendly. 

Download Our eCommerce Marketing Cheatsheet!

3. Use PPC Campaigns to drive more immediate traffic and awareness to targeted seasonal landing pages.

Google Ads are extremely useful in driving more immediate traffic to your website. Because they operate on a ‘pay-per-click’ basis the cost of advertising is only incurred when a user clicks an ad, allowing you to control more of your advertising budget (this does exclude advertiser rates in setup and maintenance). You will probably need the expertise of an advertising agency to help you get the most out of your ad spend. It’s wise to get started with these campaigns early in the Autumn as some people can start Christmas shopping in September.  

The Best Ways in using PPC campaigns at Christmas.

  • Analyse your existing web traffic (by device) and decipher what is the most popular device users interact on whether it be mobile, tablet or desktop. Keep in mind you will have new shoppers coming to your website from different devices on PPC for the Christmas period. But if you already have data on device usage you will be better prepared in allocating ad spend giving priority to devices with traditionally higher rates in traffic and click-through volume. 
  • Get seasonal search results (from Google Keyword Planner) for keywords that you want your products and landing pages to rank for. 
  • The next step is to use Google’s keyword forecasting tool to project – conversion numbers, running costs and ad impressions (how many times your ad gets seen) on your selected keywords. It doesn’t provide exact numbers  but it’s pretty close as what to expect. 
  • The best way to approach PPC is to consider three stages. Firstly what users see in the browsing stage (what they will see in ad copy of the search query results?), secondly when they click through to the landing page (what content do they see?) and thirdly the post click experience (is it relevant to their original search query?). 
  • Use site link extensions to add more directional benefit to users. They help segment traffic to special offers pages with a ‘call to action’ allowing the user a more seamless journey to the check out process with less clicks and distractions. 
  • Last but not least, ensure your keyword tagging is relevant and seasonal on your PPC and landing page meta tags for example.

‘Christmas gifts’
‘Christmas gifts for her’
‘Christmas gifts for him’

4. Add more content to create more value and relevance to your website.

Good content is always a welcome addition to any website. Google loves it and rewards with higher search visibility for relevant searches. When it comes to your Christmas eCommerce Store it’s the perfect opportunity to craft some really useful seasonal content topics that will drive value in your brand. 

Christmas is a creative time and always provides people with ideas on how to be diverse with common day things. Social media has also got some great purpose for sharing creative ideas and can really drive a buzz about a brand with user generated content

Be sure to plan blog content as part of your Christmas content strategy, blogs are very useful also for internal linking (to product pages) building a more solid SEO presence.

5. Leverage your Social Media to offer another channel for selling directly to your audience. 

Online merchants are relying more than ever on social media as another opportunity for selling to their customers. ‘Social Commerce’ as it has become more commonly known as is the process of using social media platforms with integrated eCommerce functionality. 

The origins of social commerce started with eCommerce Merchant providers Shopify and BigCommerce seeing the potential of social media as a reach platform for eCommerce merchants. By developing their eCommerce marketplace app and partnering with Facebook it gave them unrivalled access to a global audience of business owners through their Facebook business pages. They also spurred the growth of startup operators with affordable subscription based eCommerce packages and user friendly platforms to build their empires on. 

But social commerce has moved on. With the rapid advancement in electronic commerce creating more and more immersive online shopping experiences, social media channels (like Instagram Business, Pinterest Buyable Pins and Facebook Shop) have integrated enclosed buying platforms. These allow brands to connect closer with their customers providing a more seamless purchase journey whilst keeping them within the confines of the Social Media platform. 

Driving eCommerce Sales at Christmas: 10 Steps to Maximise Your Revenue.

6. Product page design and development. 

Your product pages are the most important pages on your website, they are the money generators, high bounce rates here will no doubt result in a low conversion rate for your website. When developing your Christmas store especially your seasonal product pages it best to keep the following in mind. 

  • What are your competitors doing?

It would be worth having a look at your competitors on a regular basis, but especially for the Christmas period. See what they are doing in terms of marketing activities and offers. 

  • Design for a ‘mobile first’ user experience. 

You should design your eCommerce platform with a ‘mobile first’ approach, as the mobile shopping trend continues to scale in popularity, ensure your eCommerce experience is not left behind with old technology platforms, processes and check out systems. Integrating the likes of Instagram Shoppable posts (which naturally operates as a mobile app) can greatly increase your ability to connect closer with your social media audience. As imagery is a vital asset, ensure you use high resolution mobile optimised imagery and video to greatly increase the knowledge base of you products. 

  • Add compelling content.

Compelling content will reassure users landing on your product pages that they are making the right decision to purchase from you. Highlight the unique selling points, key benefits and features of your products, what makes them different from others? Offer aftercare advice so the quality of your products can be maintained. Most of all social proof! leverage user generated content and customer reviews to drive brand authenticity.

Why not check out this article on Best Product Page Design Principles.

7. Test your checkout process is seamless and efficient.

Like most eCommerce retailers you are planning to have a bumper year in eCommerce sales this Christmas. So to make things as efficient as possible in your shopping experience  it’s wise to test your check out process and ensure that there are no cumbersome experiences which could drive shopping cart abandonment. It might even be prudent to test the experience with some mystery shoppers allowing them to run through the checkout process and measure its speed and user friendliness. 

8. Check your email marketing platform is integrated correctly with your eCommerce store.

If you attract new customers to your online store over the peak period it’s a perfect opportunity to keep them coming back through your email marketing automation. The post purchase experience is a vital stage in the customer journey as it builds trust and brand loyalty. As was mentioned earlier social proof and customer reviews can be valuable elements to have embedded on your product landing pages. But it’s more than that in terms of sustaining loyalty for your brand. Having an automated email system at your disposal can be fruitful in terms of accelerating customer satisfaction and positive feedback. Sequenced emails pushed out from the time of purchase to beyond the due delivery date will keep your brand in the minds of your customers. Customer feedback loops (through email marketing) provide useful insight on how to improve the quality of your brand whilst personalised offers (through email marketing) keep you connected with your eCommerce shoppers post purchase. 

Download Our eCommerce Marketing Cheatsheet!

9. Develop a Shopping Cart Abandonment Strategy.

Most eCommerce sites experience a shopping cart abandonment rate of over 65%. With this in mind and even with the usual Christmas spending splurge due, it would be prudent to have a solid shopping cart abandonment strategy in place.

The drop off is mainly due to cumbersome check out processes or adding a simple distraction leading them users away from the sales funnel. But if this isn’t the problem it can be due to product selection or even users not reaching their product choice through poor keyword search themselves.  

For account holders: If you are experiencing high drop-off rates there are simple ways to try and alleviate the issue and win your regular customers back. Personalised email marketing works a treat by sending targeted campaigns to customers who were in the process of buying products on your site but for some reason didn’t and abandoned their shopping cart. By identifying what the customer was searching for initially and providing recommendations on suitable alternatives. (note you might not see a change in abandonment rates in your analytics but return visits should increase and setting up email marketing click through goals and tags on specific URLs should help you track web traffic and conversions)

For non account holders: As you don’t have any customer data, setting up re-marketing campaigns can greatly improve return visits from abandoned shoppers. There are two main re-marketing options at your disposal, Google Ads re-marketing and Facebook custom audiences. With these you can re-advertise to customers (across a range of platforms) who have already been on your website and expressed an interest in your products. They work by adding tags and widgets to your website from Google ads and Facebook. When a customer leaves and goes to another site they are added to a program that pushes a display of products to them which they had previously showed interested on a site. This strategy has vastly improved return traffic and lowered the cost of conversions for many B2C online operators.  

10. Have clear options for support lines and customer queries.

One of the best methods in gaining trust in your brand is looking at every stage of the customer journey and seeing how you can enrich the experience and add value to it. The post purchase stage is no different. As highlighted earlier the need for an automated email marketing system is invaluable to increase the lifetime value of your customers. Things can go wrong so having a robust customer service element will only add more value and trust in your brand and the overall buying experience. 

Some things to consider:

  • Highlight direct phone lines for different support queries. Having these highlighted in the footer menu of your website can greatly increase the flow and efficiency in directing the right queries to the right person. 

 

  • It’s a good idea to invest time in developing an FAQ page from past customer queries, these are highly useful from an SEO perspective and also are a great point of reference for users with similar queries. 

 

  • Deploy live chat options for those who are looking for quick responses. It gives your support team the option of driving those online queries to be answered within your FAQ page. Another advantage to this is gathering data you might not already have about your customers like an email address and phone number. 

 

  • Offer the services of a virtual assistant (VA), especially for the peak periods around Christmas. There is nothing more comforting than having someone to talk with about an issue or to get information from. Not all your customers will be as digitally savvy as you might like them to be. So it’s worth considering that hiring a VA can help those who might feel intimidated by using technology such as live chat and the searching for answers on your website FAQ page. 

 

  • Above all provide a clear and user friendly returns policy, this can make or break the motivation for your customers to bulk buy on your eCommerce store.  Make it easy for returns to be processed with self addressed envelopes and affixed prepaid postage to avoid any costs being incurred by your customers.   

 

What was covered might seem somewhat overwhelming, but there’s plenty of time to put all of these strategies in play. Why not Get in Touch with the team here at izest Marketing if you need any help.

We love solving complex problems with solutions that get results!