Online sales and the e-commerce industry have been constantly developing over years. In 2019, shoppers spent a total of more than 1 trillion dollars online which was 3.7% more than in the preceding year. It was also the greatest amount in the whole history of e-commerce. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the finances of many people, however, as an online store owner, you still have a lot to fight for. So how to boost your December sales and prepare your e-shop for this intense season?
How to increase your sales in December? Well, everybody will be offering special discounts - but what can make you stand out from the crowd?
At first, you probably thought about discounts and special offers. However, you didn’t really reinvent the wheel - it’s nothing new. Try to determine your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). What can you offer to your recipients? What sets, products, or services?
15 tips on how to increase Christmas sales in an online store
Apart from the abovementioned USP, you’ll also need a reliable audit that will indicate which elements on your website have to be improved in terms of SEO. If you haven’t conducted any SEO process before and everything was “just happening”, start your strategy from the very beginning:
Select key phrases you want to do SEO for, meaning specific words on which you want to be more visible on Google
Determine the industry you operate in - each of them may require a different SEO approach and may have different objectives
Analyze your website structure and content (for this purpose you can use the Siteliner tool)
… and optimize!
Remember that first SEO results are visible only after a few months of regular and conscientious work. Firstly, you’ll notice the increase in the visibility and organic traffic to the site, only then, at the very end, your sales will improve.
Improving and optimizing product specifications
A well-optimized product specification is supposed to dispel any doubts and objections of potential buyers. It should simply guide and encourage people to finalize the transaction. Check whether your product descriptions answer all potential questions - think as a customer and see whether you’d be willing to buy a given item.
Product specification means mainly:
Accurate product photos from different angles, showing the item in use by a model or other buyers
Product description meeting Google requirements and current UX trends
Social proof (reviews, comments, feedback)
A CTA button describing the benefits of making the purchase and encouraging visitors to do it
Q&A section - the most popular questions and answers concerning a given product. This section should support SEO and facilitate the customers’ decision-making process.
If you want to ensure that more potential online visitors come across your product range, conduct an audit of product descriptions, and see whether they’re in line with current SEO standards. Do they contain appropriate keywords and key phrases people use to search for similar goods? Does the description meet all the requirements and answer all possible questions? Are some of the customer service questions notoriously repeated? Do you take advantage of the benefit-driven language? Maybe the product size isn’t displayed or the product itself isn’t assigned to any category and nobody sees it?
Apart from product descriptions, your marketing strategy should comprise various forms of content marketing activities (To learn more, check out our article: Content marketing isn’t only about blogging).
2. System of discounts and promotions
Despite all we’ve said, a system of discounts and promotions will help you plan your pricing policy and all online or offline marketing actions till the end of the year. Determine how big discounts you can offer to still be able to benefit from the sales. Provide special packages and free shipping of orders over a certain amount. Once your website traffic is bigger, maybe it’s a good idea to increase your newsletter subscriber base and, as a part of marketing automation, offer your store visitors a shopping voucher for signing up for the newsletter?
If you haven’t done it yet, determine the standards for multi-channel communication of your brand or online store. You never know when users encounter your store for the first time - it might be thanks to social media, organic Google traffic, or paid ads. In each of these places, you should present your key offer in the same clear and comprehensive way. The communication chaos, low or irregular social media activity, and lack of brand responsiveness may discourage potential customers from interacting with your company. Instead, they may go to your market rivals who inspire trust.
4. Google and Facebook ad creatives
A few months is sufficient time to prepare all Facebook and Google ad creatives, texts, and graphics. Remember that each advertisement needs days or weeks in order to examine the target group and refine the details. If you want to see significant results of PPC actions, start your marketing campaigns already in November. This way, you’ll have time to modify and optimize them properly.
You can take advantage of Canva to prepare your social media and Facebook Ads graphics for free. The platform offers a wide range of formats, tailored to specific social media activities such as ready-made Stories templates and fan page cover photos. However, remember that this tool is quite popular, therefore, it’s better to avoid the most popular projects.
Remarketing is a chance for attracting users who have already visited your online store before and, for example, abandoned their shopping carts (check out: 10 reasons for shopping cart abandonment). Advertisements that are tailored to specific products or needs and displayed to people on various websites thanks to Google or Facebook advertising systems are an extra stimulus that encourages users to make the final purchasing decision.
5. Planning your social media posts
Once you’ve devised your communication standards, promotions, and discounts or graphic creatives, maybe it’s time to plan your social media posts relating to the campaigns? Later, when the sales increase, there might be no time for that. Use Creator Studio or Buffer. A proper social media strategy may also support the SEO process.
[caption id="attachment_32152" align="aligncenter" width="576"] The Buffer application is something you should focus on. Just in a few moments, you can plan posts for months in advance. The free version allows you to schedule up to 10 publications. This is enough to test whether this solution can truly facilitate your work.[/caption]
6. Google My Business listing
If your customers can collect orders personally or if you run both online and brick and mortar stores, make sure that your company has the Google My Business listing. Marking your store appropriately on Google will make it easier for customers to reach you. Opening hours, special offers and discounts, chat to ask questions directly through Google Maps - all of these will make you stand out from other online stores that disregard this important element. Positive Google reviews can do wonders.
7. Competitor analysis
This is a suitable moment to go through the catalogs of your market rivals. What do they sell? What are the new products on their offer? Do they have more attractive prices, shipping, and payment methods or more professional customer service?
8. UX improvements on the online store website
This is the last call to implement all necessary UX improvements. Accelerate your website operation and simplify its user interface. In the end, it’ll also support the SEO process.
If your page loads even 2-3 seconds longer than the websites of your competitors, you may lose the fight for customers even before it truly begins. People don’t want to wait for sites to reload, especially when they use mobile devices. Work with your IT or UX specialist to optimize the conversion rate as much as possible.
9. Mobile version of the website
Today, Google focuses on Mobile-First Index so an optimized mobile version of your online store and an appropriate mobile SEO strategy may be a real key to e-commerce success. If you haven’t implemented these solutions so far, do it as quickly as possible. As many as 65% of all Black Friday purchases are done on mobile devices. Don’t miss out on such selling opportunities. On the other hand, if you already have a mobile website version, check whether it still works properly on various devices.
10. Changing the server
If you’re considering changing your server and hosting to a faster and cheaper one that allows greater bandwidth and more efficient store operation, it’s the last moment to do it and test everything before December in order to ensure it works properly. Going for a better server also affects the SEO process of the online store (check out our article: Server selection - what to pay attention to? Does it impact the SEO process?). On particularly busy November and December days, your online store may be visited even from 30% to 50% more frequently than usual. Get prepared for this intense period.
Have you been complaining about your shipping company for a long time? Maybe your list of consumer complaints is pretty long but you don’t have time to deal with it? Imagine how many problems you have when there are hundreds of orders every day. Think about your store operation when so many people finalize their transactions and you need to ship the products. Today is the best time to go through the offers available on the market and select an appropriate company that will safely deliver your goods.
Delivery time matters
As customers, we got used to receiving our orders the next day or maximally in two business days’ time. Obviously, it’s completely normal that the delivery time is longer during the pre-Christmas period. And this applies to everyone. However, waiting for a package a week or two is definitely too long.
Logistics outsourcing in an e-commerce company
If you believe that you aren’t able to handle such a great number of orders, you can outsource the shipping of products from your online store and warehouse to an external company. Although this way the sales profit per product will be lower, you won’t need to waste time on hiring employees to pack and send packages or monitoring their work. Now, you can focus only on promoting your store and settling invoices.
More delivery methods
Consider introducing other delivery methods from the ones you already offer. Package lockers, a few courier companies - let the customers decide about the most convenient solution and don’t limit their choices. It’s incredibly easy to lose e-commerce customers, even because of such seemingly irrelevant details as available delivery methods. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s much harder to win new buyers.
If your online store or products have the potential to succeed abroad and you already have some experience in this field, take care of a proper international SEO strategy, optimize product descriptions in a target language and provide as many relatively affordable forms of international product shipping as possible.
12. Gift packaging for free or at a symbolic price
Think if you’re able to technologically and logistically offer such a service to your customers. This involves both IT updates on the website and the necessity to delegate additional employees to pack the gifts.
It seems that we get lazier and lazier every year. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic hindered our lives and traditional shopping. It may turn out that many potential customers will choose your e-store over your market rivals’ businesses if you offer gift packaging for free or at a symbolic price.
13. A clock counting down the time to the same-day shipment
According to the statistics, we’re most willing to shop online between 10 am and 8 pm. During this time, customers usually choose stores that offer next-day delivery, in 24 hours. A clock counting down the time to the same day shipment of the purchased product is a great solution.
[caption id="attachment_32769" align="aligncenter" width="563"] Counting down the time until the end of the next business day delivery warranty is a great incentive that makes your store stand out from the crowd.[/caption]
14. Extra payment methods
Traditional transfers, cash on delivery, or approachable installment payments - remember that customers use and prefer various solutions. If somebody else offers payment methods that suit users best, they’ll probably choose the comfort and convenience of shopping. Don’t lose this competition.
15. Hiring and training new people specializing in customer service
Perhaps during this busy sales period at the end of the year, it’s a good idea to hire additional people for email and telephone customer service. If you decide to do it, start recruiting and training new employees.
Christmas is just around the corner
Very soon you’ll see Coca-Cola trucks on TV. This means that Christmas time is coming. This is the most profitable period for all e-commerce entrepreneurs. Only on Black Friday, everybody spends an average of 165 dollars. So how to boost Christmas sales in your online store? Don’t miss the boat and prepare your SEO activities, product descriptions, offer, logistics, and employees for the November and December madness. You won’t have a similar opportunity until the next year.
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