Ecommerce Marketing Tips for Christmas Countdown

Now it's December it's official, Christmas 2016 is just around the corner. The turkey's getting fat and Santa's elves are busy with the finishing touches to create a spectacular Christmas!

Despite the festive joy - it's an important time of year for any serious online seller - as many of our ecommerce customers will agree. Last year more than £24.4bn was sold in the eight weeks leading up to Christmas - this year we are expecting record ecommerce sales.

To help you count down to Christmas with some festive cheer - we'll be providing daily tips from our Ecommerce Marketing experts to ensure you fully benefit from the Christmas rush. Be sure to bookmark us and check daily as we add another handy tip.

1. Encourage Customer Sign Ups

When monitoring your website, do you notice that people are browsing your products or services without buying anything or signing up? There is a variety of different ways in which you can encourage these sales/sign ups.

For example:

  • Making the call-to-action button obvious e.g. big/bold/stands out
  • Offering a guarantee e.g. returns policy
  • Offering a free giveaway e.g. eBook/checklist

Many of the incentives tend to include giving the customer something FREE, it's their favourite word when it comes to shopping and services. But one incentive that some companies use that seems to work, is offering new customers a promotion code for them to get money off their first order. Providing a first-time visitor with a promo code could be the nudge that they need to become a paying customer, what have you got to

2. Utilise Your System Emails

After a new customer signs up to your emails, I'm sure you've got an email in place that thanks them and welcomes them. Right? Well if you have, great! If not, it's a good opportunity to utilise to sell your products further. Just don't forget to update them!

Did you know that 74.4% of consumers actually expect a welcome email when they subscribe to something? And welcome emails can see more than three times the transactions and revenue per email.

Make sure that you offer an incentive in your welcome email like a discount, guide, video course, checklist, eBook, etc. if that's why they've signed up, and keep your email newsletters as regular as you say you will.

3. Is Your Design Cutting The Mustard?

Your ecommerce web design needs to be up to scratch! It only takes 3 seconds from being on your website for a consumer to form their opinion - so if it doesn't look good then they won't buy anything!

When your company invests in their brand design and web design, they are less likely to compete on price alone in their market and it ensures that positive associations are made, and this in turn increases sales! Also, using good quality images is up there with the most important aspects of your web design, along with product descriptions, so don't let that let you down. So, what are you waiting for?

4. Responsive Ecommerce Website

Did you know that so far this year 51% of ecommerce sales happened via mobile? This is expected to continue to increase over the Christmas period, especially in the sales, but unless you have a website that is responsive and compatible across all devices, you're going to be missing out on those potential sales.

A responsive ecommerce website has to be fast enough for its customers to use. Why? Because 40% of visitors to a website reported that if the page they wanted to purchase their items on took longer that 3 seconds to load then they would abandon the site and take their custom elsewhere. Don't be the company that loses out of these sales!

5. Easy Customer Checkouts

First-time customers often don't want to sign up when buying something as they then expect to be flooded with hoards of promotional emails, so forcing them to do this may result in them changing their mind. Offering a guest checkout means that they don't have to sign-up before they have bought their first item, but put the sign-up form at the end of the payment process and you may just find that they're more willing to hand their details over.

Postcode look-ups are another way to ensure that a sale is made. Enabling customers to be able to check if something is available to be delivered to their address or if it is in stock at their local branch will mean that they can actually purchase the product that they want to on that day. Not offering this, stops the customer from purchasing. Don't lose out on those sales because of your checkout process!

6. Refined Ecommerce Search

Do you have a search bar on your ecommerce website to allow customers to search for products? Some search bars include an intelligent auto-complete which means that the customer can type in the first few letters of a word and then it will display a list of products with that sequence of letters in it. Handy right? This avoids typos and misspelling as well as helping them to search more quickly. I think many customers prefer this option, I know I do.

This might be an obvious one...but...making the search bar visible on all pages is a must! There is a few out there that don't do this and this very quickly makes some customers leave because they don't want to be clicking back, back, back and through filters and thousands of products to find something they want. Don't forget to monitor what is being searched, especially any that return zero products because this could be a product to introduce next!

7. Reviews Sell Products

When consumers are considering a purchase, user reviews and product reviews often pay a big part in their decision. 88% of consumers commented saying that they trusted online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations, even though they come from complete strangers. This is because it adds a whole level of confidence to the mind of the potential buyer that they have made the right purchase decision.

Customer reviews also help with SEO due to them being actual customer experiences, and they will often reuse the keywords repeatedly, which in turn helps with the possibility of the website being ranked higher by search engines when that keyword is searched. Do you have customer reviews on your ecommerce website?

8. Get Social

When you have social sharing buttons on your website - for either products, articles, blogs or anything else - you are able to increase the level of traffic that is going to the website. How? Well, when a visitor to your website sees something that they like and they may decide to share it to their social networking page through the buttons, then their followers will see it and some will click the link, then they may also share something they find and their followers see it, and the cycle continues. Sometimes thousands of people can be exposed to your brand from just a few shares.

Social sharing buttons are FREE advertising! One of the most favoured words of businesses and customers alike, but this time it is the business that is benefitting. Once the shares, likes and retweets increase then more people will recognise the brand name and website itself. Do you have social sharing buttons on your website?

9. Convert Abandoned Carts

Many statistics show that around 75% of online shoppers abandon their carts before they checkout which is why a lot of businesses could be experiencing a large volume of lost sales. 56% of shoppers say that they leave a site because they are presented with unexpected costs (usually shipping costs) so make sure that your customer can see them from the beginning. These isn't much else a business can do to stop them from abandoning their cart, but it's what they do after that matters.

By remarketing after a shopping cart abandonment, businesses are able to entice the customer to finish their shopping experience. Shoppers say that they often spend 55% more than they originally planned after being remarketed. So it does work! It also works if you include a promotion code to encourage them to buy and to let them know that they are valued as a customer.

10. Cross Selling

Cross selling works by placing another product in the path of the customer which compliments their initial purchase to encourage them to buy more. It's not deceptive but it is just a nudge in the right direction and is often received well by customers because they realise that they actually need that product as well and just forgot.

The most common method used by ecommerce websites is using phrases along the lines of 'frequently bought together' or 'customers who bought this item also bought this' because it gives the customer something to check before they checkout and it may encourage a further sale. Is this a feature that you need on your ecommerce website?

11. Easy Repeat Purchases

After the initial purchase, customers may not need to buy anything else so it may take them a while to revisit the website and make a second purchase. When they decide to come back they will have already entered all of their delivery and payment information so they don't want to go through this again, so keeping their details on record will be a big influence in whether or not they purchase again.

Another way to make repeat purchases easier for customers is to keep a record of their purchase history and allow them to reorder a previous order if nothing has changed or to be able to amend the order. This makes things a lot simpler for bigger businesses which may have bulk orders. If consumables are purchased, then customers may benefit from being sent reminders to buy every month or with the option to schedule orders and purchases. Does your ecommerce website offer this?

12. Favourites & Wish Lists

When consumers are shopping, they may not need to buy things straight away but may just be browsing. When they're browsing, chances are they will come across items that they like and may wish to purchase when pay day comes around, so giving them an option to favourite them will make it easy and convenient for them to come back to.

Wish lists work in a similar way to favouriting but these can be shared easily and accessed by others so that they can buy things off them instead of the consumer buying the items themselves. The most common wish lists that are created are for weddings and Christmas, but they are used daily by thousands of consumers. Is your website missing out on these tools?

13. Encourage Repeat Business

Loyalty schemes are a good way to encourage repeat business by focusing on your current customers and increasing their customer satisfaction levels, rather than seeking out new customers. These loyalty schemes reward customers for acting in a specific way but at the same time, you don't want to lose profit from these rewards so you need to do it well. By using a loyalty scheme you can look at who your best customers are and who your worst customers are as well.

The most common type of loyalty scheme that companies use is a points system. This includes customers gaining points from purchases which translate into some type of reward e.g. bonus points, discounts, freebies etc. Does your company use a loyalty scheme to encourage repeat business?

14. Use Video to Promote

When you create videos to promote your business or products, you are placing the business very high up in the mind of the consumer because they are more likely to remember you over any competitors that haven't used a video. Having this audio-visual element is marketing the business more effectively because of its appeal to multiple senses rather than just the one with visual content. You can use a video to market a product, compare it to similar ones and even teach consumers how to use it.

If you have a video embedded on your website, then you are 53 times more likely to show up first on search engine results. Don't miss out on this chance! Many consumers prefer to spend 2-3 minutes of their time watching a video than reading some content for 15-20 minutes. I think that's the same for a lot of people! So use videos to get your business and products out there.

15. Hook into Third Party Marketplaces

By integrating your ecommerce website into an online marketplace like Amazon or, you are able to reach a much wider customer base than just using search engine optimisation on its own. This is because they already have millions of loyal customers, so you can also benefit from their customer loyalty and trust as it is already there and you don't need to build up a new level of customer loyalty.

In doing this, you open up your business to millions of potential customers which are already established in that marketplace and this allows you to provide a more seamless service to your customers. Do you need a website that is integrated?

16. Rich Snippets

The use of rich snippets is on the rise. When they are used, it means that search engines are able to return more relevant results and the users can ensure that they have the specific results that they need more easily. It gives the user extra information underneath the search results so that they know a little bit more about the result and website before they click on it.

The main benefits of using rich snippets include:

  • Setting yourself apart from your competition
  • Increasing your click-through rates
  • Increasing your page ranking

Have you made use of rich snippets on your website?

17. In-House System Integration

Save time and money by integrating your website with your systems whether it is CRM, stock management or accounts. In doing this, you eliminate the need to double key information across multiple systems.

As stock levels change or orders are submitted, all of the systems are automatically updated without the need to perform manual imports or have a dedicated number of staff who are responsible for keeping all the systems in sync. By saving time and money on laborious tasks, you can focus more on sales and marketing.

18. Multiple Supplier Integration

Ensure your website is fully stocked by integrating with multiple suppliers which will ensure that your website is automatically updated with the latest stock and pricing information. By automating the order process as well, you can have orders automatically submitted to your suppliers when stock runs low, to allow you to spend less time on administration and more time on marketing.

19. Schedule Banner Updates

When you have banners on your website, you don't want them to contain the same content constantly. Ensure that they are scheduled to update regularly to keep visitors interested and informed.

The same goes for featured products. Surely, you don't have the same 4 featured products for months on end? So your website shouldn't say this either! Make sure you update them regularly to reflect what is happening within your company.

20. Call-To-Action Buttons

Call-to-action buttons encourage the visitor to act - whether it be to sign up for a newsletter or to purchase something on your website - these buttons have proved effective for many companies. By including them on your social media profiles as well, you are able to redirect the visitor to your website for more information and a chance to be able to purchase a product.

Can you make use of call-to-action buttons on your social media pages and your website?

21. Using Pop Ups

Pop ups come in many forms. Big, small, full page or small box. But it's up to you to choose the one that reflects your business and works for you. But be careful! Sometimes they can work against you. Pop ups have now been developed enough that they have become extremely efficient at driving traffic to certain pages, collecting email addresses and helping with conversions.

But Google have decided that the full page pop ups are too intrusive so if you choose one of these, you may find that your website drops further and further down the search results.

22. Optimising Data

When creating content for your website, you could do with making sure that it is optimised for search engines by using phrases and keywords that consumers search when they are looking for a particular product or service. If you enter keywords and phrases into a search engine, you can see who your competitors are and if your website doesn't show up on that list, then you need to take another look at your website content. Or get in contact with our marketing experts for some hints and tips!

23. Planning Your Ecommerce Marketing for 2017

There are some key events throughout the year that you should be keeping an eye on and planning your ecommerce marketing campaign around. Here is a few of them:

  • January - Christmas Sales, New Year, Sports & Fitness
  • March - World Book Day, Mother's Day, St. Patrick's Day
  • May - Eurovision
  • June - Father's Day, Wimbledon, End of School Events, Summer Sales
  • July - Tour de France, Graduations
  • October - Halloween, Winter Clothing
  • November - Bonfire Night, Black Friday, Cyber Monday
  • December - Christmas, Winter Sports

There are many more national and international ones, as well as ones that are local to you. Do you plan your ecommerce marketing campaigns around events in the year? Is there any extra ones that you should be thinking about?

24. Merry Christmas from Comgem

From everyone here at Comgem, we want to wish you all a 'Merry Christmas' and a prosperous New Year! There is still time for you to sign up for a FREE quote and to become one of our new customers, where you will receive a 15% discount off of our services if you sign up before 31st January 2017. Why don't you make your new website design part of your business New Years Resolutions?

We will be closed for Christmas from Friday 23rd December at 5pm and re-open on Tuesday 3rd January 2017.

Get in contact with our Ecommerce Marketing experts for more information. Call 01656 330 360.

By Stacey at 1 Dec 2016, 15:59 PM