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Expert Advice
For Success in e-Commerce
Our team of e-Commerce experts outline an effective strategy for increasing and optimising your sales!
Christmas is coming! Which means so is the sweet sound of coins in your cash register (or sales on your website). It would be an understatement to say that e-tailers like this time of year. We LOVE Christmas, and a little more each year. Sage Pay predicts that online spending this Christmas will be up 18% from last year's £11 billion, putting it at £13 billon. Think about what this opportunity means for your online shop!

Our Oxatis e-Commerce experts have prepared a checklist for the holiday season, with lots of new customers under the tree. Follow our guide.
1. British online shoppers are predicted to spend £13bn this Christmas. Get your site ready to welcome them!
2. End of September – beginning of October: Get organised and concentrate on your SEO
3. Mid-October: Send out your first emails
4. Beginning of November: Step up your email marketing and SEA
5. End of November – Beginning of December: Send out more emails and communicate all of your offers on your social networks
6. Mid-December: Push your bestselling items
7. Your online shop should reflect the Christmas spirit and attract customers with good storytelling
8. Build the loyalty of customers you gained at Christmas with special offers
9. Don’t forget to promote your referral schemes
10. Think mobiles and make up to 40% of your sales through this channel
11. Create landing pages that convert customers with the new drag and drop page builder!
A Successful Christmas Season: the Calendar of our Expert Tips
01 What to prepare and when
It would be a shame to miss Christmas, there’s so much to take advantage of during this period (higher shopping carts, the possibility of new customers, loyalty building, etc.) that it’s best to start ahead of time. For several thousand e-Commerce websites everything is a question of timing and anticipation. Those final weeks before Christmas will be a busy time for you so it’s best to prepare now so you can be calm and efficient during the final stretch.

> End of September - mid-October:
This is when you should launch your Christmas campaign. If your e-Commerce website has been up and running for over a year a good place to start is by looking at the previous year’s campaign.

Take a look at the emails you sent out, sales stats day by day, bestselling items, items customers commented on etc. All of this information is important, worth its weight in gold and will help you create a successful campaign for the coming Christmas.
This is also the time you should be thinking about your site’s SEO: create a few holiday items or gift ideas for example so that they’ll have time to be indexed and rank well in Google. Don’t hesitate to present your information under several different angles for example by working on each category at a time or by segmenting your customers.

Take out a calendar and plan when you want to send your emails, post your AdWords ads, animate your site, launch bundle offers or specific promotions. The more precise your overall strategy the better you’ll be able to plan ahead.

> Mid-October:
It’s time to send out your first newsletters, which means segmenting your customer base for ultimate efficacy.

A good way to start talking about Christmas when Halloween hasn’t even happened yet is to play on the theme of “getting started early.” Talking about Christmas gift trends is also a good way to target those people who don’t have specific ideas yet but who could give in to the idea of avoiding a last-minute rush.

> Beginning of November:
Here you should shift your marketing efforts into the next gear. Sales start to pick up but won’t hit their peak until the last three weeks.

During this period of the year think about increasing your marketing budget little by little for strategic actions such as retargeting, AdWords campaigns, renting email lists etc. Customers are getting more serious during this period and some are starting to make purchases so keep a close eye on your ROI and evaluate which of your marketing campaigns are working.

Keep an eye on your products sold on marketplaces and price comparison sites: these sites draw a lot of traffic and a special optimisation for Christmas can be very helpful for your sales.

  • Why not reread our expert advice on marketplaces?

> Starting at the end of November:
Now Christmas is just a few weeks away – it’s time for intense email and SMS marketing. Take note: campaigns on weekends have been shown to be the most effective in terms of generating sales as Christmas creeps up.
If you have a strong social network presence this is also the time to work on it and advertise attractive offers: free shipping, a free gift with a minimum purchase, competitive prices, highlight strategic products etc.

> Mid-December:
Now you should limit yourself to marketing your bestselling items and “last minute” communication: you must be able to guarantee on-time delivery otherwise you might end up with some very unsatisfied customers on your hands. You can end your last holiday email, depending on your logistic delays, with something like “LAST DAY for shipping for Christmas.” This is a good way to gain an extra bit of growth for your holiday sales.
02 Boost your traffic and sales with effective storytelling
Christmas, family, turkey dinner, carols playing in stores and shopping malls, lights: the Christmas spirit makes people feel good, and puts them in the mood for shopping.
It’s essential that you adapt your site for the holiday season. In addition to perfect service, your visitors also want the experience of shopping for presents, which means they want season-appropriate colours and decorations, even online. You should do everything you can (using emails, keywords, site decoration, catalogue choices etc.) to tell your visitors a nice Christmas story. This will help your growth and turnover!

> Decorate your shop:
You probably remember when you were little looking in shop windows at Christmas decorations. It should be the same for your e-Commerce website. Create a special Christmas shop window (home page) and make your visitors want to buy. Don’t hesitate to temporarily modify your home page and add special marketing blocks and special categories such as “gift ideas.”

> Boost your email marketing:
Yes we often talk about this marketing tool, but it’s one of the key factors for your e-Commerce website’s success. And for Christmas it’s important to up your game without of course over soliciting your customer base.

> Work on your offers:
Your goal shouldn’t be to put all of your products on sale as you do want to make a significant portion of your turnover leading up to Christmas and you’ll need to save some of those price reductions for the January sales! Think about other ways to offer your customers good deals such as offering free shipping or bundles.

As Christmas is coming we’ve decided to be generous and share 6 of our Christmas storytelling ideas with you:

- Themed weeks:
You can focus on one category of products each week to make sure you reach all of your customers and their interests. One email, one special offer, a selection of products: this will give you enough material to promote a category per week.
- “Last minute” products:
A limited selection of products that are available quickly: a page that should be popular around the 18th-19th of December.
- Guaranteed shipping within 24 hours:
Don’t hesitate to insist on this point, it’s one of the most important factors for your customers.
- Private sales:
Take care of your loyal customers by offering them, either very early on in the holiday season or during the final rush, access to a selection of products specifically studied for them.
- Advent calendar:
Every day feature a different product. You can do this risk-free up until the 21st or 22nd then you should feature non-material products such a gift vouchers.
- Product bundles:
Rather than selling individual products create product bundles with a better price for the pack. This can mean combining complementary products (ex: a camera and camera case) but also bundles such as “big family,” “cousins,” “for him/her” etc.
03 Take full advantage of our 100% e-Commerce expert advice
Being ready, having your calendar planned and storytelling: this is the recipe for a successful Christmas campaign. But we know that you probably want a couple of professional tips as well. And we’re here to give them to you!

> Influx of new customers – get ready to build loyalty!
Attracting new prospects and selling them something is great. But if they keep coming back even after New Year’s rolls around that’s even better! Plan ahead and send them special customer offers redeemable starting in January. With Oxatis' RFM customer rating you can segment your customers and target those who have only made one purchase or who never confirmed their purchase. Highlight your loyalty program in your post-Christmas emails and you’ll improve your efficacy.

  • Take a look at our Oxatis expert advice on building customer loyalty.

> Use your current customers to spread the Christmas spirit
Even during the Christmas season your customers are looking for a good deal. Do they know that if they bring you new customers they can receive gifts or discounts? Don’t hesitate to remind them of your referral scheme – playing Father Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive!

> Think mobiles
Yes, we’ve mentioned it before, but as an e-tailer today it’s essential to have a mobile version of your site. Whether it’s for making purchases or just looking up information, online shoppers use their mobiles more than ever. Reread our expert advice on the subject.

> Test a push SMS in the last few days before Christmas
SMS are opened 9 times out of 10, which is far better than the best email open rates. Try using this marketing tool for part of your customer base in a “private sales” strategy for example.

> Create specific landing pages
To increase your campaigns’ efficacy we recommend leading customers to specific pages which convert better and keep a logical connection between the message sent and the page your visitors land on. With Oxatis you can create your own pages in the blink of an eye!

  • Read our advice on creating effective landing pages.

Now it’s your turn! And Happy Christmas!