The lead up to a Digital Christmas

Christmas becomes a more digital affair every year. And with almost 25% of all Christmas sales being made online in 2014 via ecommerce websites, it is an excellent opportunity for businesses that operate online. But being ready for a digital Christmas takes a bit of preparation.

Huge growth
In 2014, a total of £17.4 billion was spent online during the run up to Christmas. That was a growth of almost 20% when compared to 2013, where a measly £14.5 billion was spent online (eMarketer, 2014). It’s a safe bet that this year’s numbers are going to be pretty similar, most likely even higher. With a pie this big to take a slice from, you can’t afford to have inadequate digital capacity.

Is your website good to go?
You should be prepping your website for the Christmas period: uploading all of your products, updating any prices, changing any product descriptions, and generally updating your website content to meet the expectations of Christmas shoppers. On the technical side of things, you might want to ask your ecommerce web developer about whether your website has enough bandwidth to meet a surge in visitors. A range of big companies have been caught out in recent years with this and it’s led to crashing websites and unsatisfied customers. It’s always worth a quick check if you’re expecting numbers to drastically increase. You can also check your ecommerce is working as it should, checking if it will manage an increased capacity too.

Social media
Social media is a wonderful thing during Christmas time: loved ones exchanging messages, friends sending each other wishes of wellbeing, and brands telling us all about their deals and products! But seriously, social media is the best tool in your online arsenal when it comes to telling people about your products and services. People spend more time on social media during the festive season, for reasons mentioned above, which means you’re going to have an easier time reaching your audience. You could run campaigns on social media, offering discounts or deals for the lucky people that visit your ecommerce website. Use your imagination!

Seasonal SEO
This is an advanced trick you can use to drive more traffic to your website during the Christmas period. As the public begins to shop online for other people, the search terms they use will change. For example, someone searching for a gift for their dad might search for “books for men aged 50”. If you sell books for this target audience, changing some of your key words and long-tail keywords might be a good idea so your website shows up during these searches. Of course, this means you’ll have to do a bit of keyword research but it could give you the edge over your competitors and make yours a very happy Christmas..!

Postage and packaging
While people may buy digitally, a majority of what they buy still exists in the physical world. And they’ll want it delivered to them at some point, preferably before Christmas. To avoid this, don’t get caught out by postage cut off dates during Christmas. Make it clear on your website what customers can expect in terms of delivery and at what time it becomes too late for them to receive their purchases. Christmas doesn’t need to be a dread if you take these issues into account. Make sure you’re getting a piece of the digital pie this year and stay ahead of the online shopper!

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