How to prepare your online shop for the Christmas business

Christmas is coming and so the time of year with the highest turnover is approaching. The shelves are filled up and shop windows are festively decorated, not only in stationary retail, but online retailers must also prepare their own shops for the Christmas business. It is important to convince visitors here with the right offer and also to ensure a smooth ordering process.
To make this work for you and to optimally prepare you for the Christmas customer rush, we have put together ten tips about the online holiday business.

#1: Create a Christmas atmosphere in your shop

The Christmas season is characterised by its unique look and feel, together with a sentimental atmosphere. The inner cities and shop windows are out-sparkling one another and also at home the Christmas decorations are being unpacked.
The fitting words and images for your online shop can prove equally effective here. Consider adjusting your colour scheme and using seasonal banners or videos. The navigation of your site should also be updated accordingly – one option, as an example, would be quick links to landing pages. Product and offer descriptions can equally be supplemented with appropriate wording and thus promoted as Christmas gifts.

#2: Prepare your shop for the increased visitor traffic

One of the worst scenarios in the Christmas season is that your shop slows down due to the high number of visitors, or even shuts down completely. Ensure in good time that your technical infrastructure is set up well for the festive period. It is worth going through visitor numbers for the past few months and preparing forecasts for the upcoming Christmas business. Based on these planned numbers, site capacities should be checked together with your technical service provider and then increased if necessary. It is also helpful to re-test and optimise the usability of your shop. Are links set correctly, can products be found quickly and does the ordering process work flawlessly?

#3: Offer your customers a mobile-optimised website

As the current study “The State of Cross-Device Commerce” by Criteo shows, 30 percent of all eCommerce transactions in Germany are now made with the smartphone. Some 35 percent of all online purchases are made via the tablet. You should also consider this in your preparations for Christmas business. After all, a lacking optimisation of your website for smartphones and tablets or too long a wait will scare away many shop visitors in the search for Christmas gifts.

#4: Improve your findability via search engines

For many customers, online research is the starting point in their gift search. To this end, you should better ensure the findability of your shop using the appropriate SEO and SEM measures. Research the search trends arising over recent years and tailor your keywords and campaigns accordingly. In the short term, paid ads through Google AdWords can also help drive traffic towards your shop.

#5: Tune your marketing and promotional offers to the Christmas season

In addition to special offers, Christmas can also conjure up creative activities such as virtual advent calendars or competitions. Coupon codes distributed via appropriate portals may also attract visitors to your site. Remember to adjust your marketing activities accordingly and advertise offers on time via newsletter and social media.

#6: Adapt to trends and help out in the gift search

For the composition of an optimal Christmas range, you should keep an eye on the newest trends. As a rule, it is the most current products and latest releases that end up under the Christmas tree. Also popular with consumers is the option to individualise products. It can also be profitable to support customers in the gift search and recommend certain articles to them. An ideal option here would be product pages with specific focus (such as “Gifts for Her” or “Gifts for Him”).

#7: Pay attention to the necessary stock and resources

Make sure that you have enough goods in stock during the holiday season. If you plan special campaigns, then you must consider these in advance. Should an article suddenly become unavailable, then flag this in good time on your website. Also consider the appropriate packaging material.
In addition, you should plan upon more staff for the Christmas business. Besides the departments for order taking and processing, as well as warehouse personnel, this particularly extends to customer service and the social media team.

#8: Revise your shipping costs and payment options

Free delivery attracts more visitors to your online shop in the Christmas season. Alternatively, a limit can be drawn based on total order value or the discount may only be granted for Christmas items. To avoid cancellation during the order process, it is important that you provide the common payment methods that consumers trust.

#9: Optimise your delivery times and reconsider return periods

A fast delivery is a must during the Christmas season! Check to see by when your parcels have to be with the shipping service provider in order to be delivered in time for the festival. By adopting express or overnight shipping, you can also stand out from your competitors. It may also make sense to extend the return periods until after the holidays, so that gifts which do not appeal can then be exchanged more easily. It is likewise important to communicate delivery and return deadlines to your customers with the appropriate formulations.

#10: Keep an eye on price developments with software solutions

Especially in the Christmas season, the price war in online retail is growing in severity. To be able to optimally position yourself for the Christmas business, you should constantly keep an eye on the prices of your competitors. Many online retailers use automated software solutions for precise market analysis and a faster adjustment of their own prices to their competitors’.
Our Retail Intelligence Suite blackbee shows you how competitive your online prices are. This is how you can also be prepared for the upcoming holidays in online retail.

In blackbee, we offer you a customised tool for price observation. Test it now and profit from the advantages of an automated software solution.