Many retailers transform their storefronts for the Christmas shopping season. Magical wonderland settings help customers get in the mood for gift-giving, but COVID-19 could affect customers’ willingness to shop in-store this festive season.To adapt, business owners need to rethink how they can develop unique, omnichannel online Christmas shopping experiences for their customers.
While the customer experience is an essential consideration year-round, during the festive season, great customer experience is crucial.
(Gartner defines the term as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations, leading to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.”)
If you can create a shopping experience through omnichannel marketing that exceeds customers’ expectations, you’ll become a memorable part of their season. And it will pay off—84 percent of companies that prioritise customer experience report an increase in revenue, according to HubSpot.
Here are a few Christmas marketing tips that will help you improve your site’s online experience during the festive season.
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1. Update your design
The first step is to customise your design for the festive season. Take advantage of templates that make this quick and easy. Choose a template that compliments your brand, so loyal customers will still recognise the business they know and trust. As customers do their Christmas shopping online, they may be browsing several brands’ websites, so you want to grab their attention immediately. You’ve got 15 seconds, which is the average amount of time someone spends on a website before they click elsewhere, according to CrazyEgg.
Successful Christmas marketing strategies use bold, easy-to-read fonts and eye-catching images. To further engage visitors, consider multimedia elements, such as video or interactive features. Another consideration is your use of colour.
Red is a classic holiday colour, but it’s also useful in sales. Colour can impact purchases, and red has been shown to create energy and urgency. That’s why it’s often used on sale signs or for calls to action on websites. If it works with your logo and branding, consider using it on your homepage and banners during your Christmas marketing campaigns.
2. Personalise your customer experience
Customers want to feel valued, and one way you can do that is with personalisation. Nearly three-quarters of customers are frustrated by website content that’s not personalised. Personalisation pays off, with 80 percent of consumers saying they are more likely to make a purchase when brands use personalised marketing.
When you personalise an experience for your customers, you increase brand affinity. An easy way to do this is through your email messaging, using the information you gather during sign-ups to address your customer by name. Engaging customers by email is an important part of good eCommerce festive season marketing.
You can customise promotions and discounts using purchase history data, but email marketing is just the start. Your website can drive sales by using custom content gleaned from customer information, browsing history, and past purchases. According to the latest research by Invesp, 53 percent of online shoppers believe that retailers who personalise the shopping experience provide a valuable service.
3. Rethink your online catalogue
In addition to your regular product categories, consider adding gift sections to your online catalogue during your holiday marketing campaigns to help shoppers search for the perfect present. These are also opportunities to take advantage of holiday online shopping trends. For example, you can break down items by recipient or price range.
If a shopper needs to purchase a gift within a specific budget, having a page devoted to products you offer that fall within a range can be helpful. And all of us have at least one hard-to-shop-for person on our list. Creating pages that suggest gifts for people who have specific hobbies or preferences or are within certain demographics can make it easy to find the perfect gift.
4. Add details to product pages
An informative site is a vital piece of successful omnichannel marketing. Be sure to give customers as much product information as possible. If they’re unsure about an item, they’ll likely click away and find something else instead of trying to get answers. Ensure each product has a thorough description that includes dimensions, weight, material, and colour options. If possible, add photos that provide a 360-degree view of the item.
5. Highlight gift cards
If you aren’t already selling gift cards on your website, you’re ignoring one of the most lucrative holiday marketing tips and an essential stream of revenue. Gift cards have been the most popular items on wish lists for more than a dozen years, with the digital gift card market in Australia expected to reach $3.2 billion by 2024. Shoppers who purchase gift cards buy at least three each Christmas season.
Gift cards are perfect for last-minute shoppers, and they can solve the problem of shopping for the hard-to-please person on shoppers’ lists.
6. Provide clear shipping information
Speedy and reliable shipping is extra important during the holiday online shopping season. This is especially true this year, when more shoppers might have to send gifts to loved ones, rather than deliver them in person.
Create a holiday shipping schedule that is posted in a prominent place on your website. For example, set purchase dates that guarantee delivery if sent by standard shipping, two-day shipping, and overnight shipping. Today’s customers expect to receive their purchases fast.
In fact, according to a recent AusPost eCommerce report, over half of the purchases were express delivered for Christmas - with the third week of December at the highest rate of next business day delivery. This was particularly important for Fashion & Apparel customers, with 36.6% of all items in this category delivered the next business day. Don’t forget to check shipping cut off dates with your provider and communicate this to your customers!
7. Offer great customer service
People make mistakes with online orders, and packages can get lost. Customers will want a way to reach you with their questions. Make sure they have a way to contact you by phone, online chat, or email. Then offer prompt attention. According to a HubSpot Research survey, 90 percent of consumers want immediate responses from customer support, and 72 percent define immediate as being within 30 minutes.
8. Provide online shopping assistant options
Christmas shopping online can be one of the toughest shopping experiences for consumers. Buying for someone else can come with a lot of questions, and you might find your business getting a lot of emails from people who need help with the shopping experience. The longer it takes you to respond, the less likely they are to buy with you, which is where online shopping assistants can help. You can do this in two ways. The most efficient is to provide a live chat option, which allows buyers to talk directly with a customer service officer online, asking and receiving answers to questions right away. According to the latest research, Australians have a 93.59% satisfaction rate when using Live Chat features for online shopping. Another option is Consultants, where buyers can sign up and have a consultant contact them the same day via Zoom or Google Hangouts – this is ideal for homewares, clothing stylists, and so on.
9. Improve online shopping experience with quizzes
A great way to get to know your customers and help them buy the right products, in the lead up to Christmas is through quizzes. Have this come up as a pop-up on your home page, and let that lead your customers to the right sales page for their needs. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, your initial quiz could include something like “What Is Your Favourite Summer-Time Outfit?” and include four options “Dress, Jumpsuit, Shorts, Swimsuits” … This could lead to more questions or could take them directly to that page. The options are abundant and it will improve their online shopping experience.
10. Add a last minute shipping option
One of the biggest problems with Christmas is that there’s always someone who decides they are going to show up on Christmas Day at the last minute even though they said no previously. And let the panic begin for last minute Christmas shopping online. By offering a last-minute shipping option (and sending out targeted emails to your subscribers with this deal), you can help eliminate the stress. Talk to Australia Post or any other delivery services about their Express Post options and add this as an option for your customers as well so they can receive packages within 1-2 days.
11. Complimentary Christmas special gift wrapping
Christmas gift online shopping is a great way for your customers to get everything they need, without the stresses of hitting the shopping centres in the Christmas rush. But when all those online gifts arrive, there’s still a rush to get them all wrapped and under the tree. By offering a complimentary Christmas gift wrapping service, you’ll entice more buyers – particularly those whose presents usually end up looking more like a crumpled mess of paper. Save them the hassle, and embarrassment, by offering a complimentary service they can opt-in to receive at the checkout.
12. Include a gift receipt option
Come Christmas, buying presents for people you don’t know very well (like your great-uncle Henry’s new wife) can be stressful. You aren’t sure what to get them, you might get the sizing wrong, or something else could go wrong. To combat this, you can give the option of returning and exchanging the products by providing a special gift receipt. To do this, include special instructions at the checkout so the buyer can indicate it is a Gift, and allow either the recipient or the purchaser to contact you to exchange products.
13. Last minute Christmas shopping online deals
To give your customers the best online shopping experience in the lead up to Christmas, have plenty of last-minute Christmas deals. For example, you could start these as early as October – say 5% off, then November switch to 10% off, early December opt for 20% off, and then two weeks before Christmas (leaving enough time for postage) you might increase that to 30% off. You could increase this even further as Christmas gets closer.
By following these festive season marketing tips, you can better prepare for the Christmas rush and help set up positive online shopping experiences for customers. When you make a person’s festive season a little brighter, they’ll remember you. A happy customer is more likely to become a loyal customer, and a loyal customer can become an ambassador for your brand, bringing you business during the Christmas holidays and beyond.