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Your Christmas eCommerce conversion checklist

As we covered in our article Why it pays to get ready for the festive season, the build-up to Christmas is a prime time to drive sales from your online shop. We’ve put together a handy checklist of actions especially for creative and cultural individuals and organisations to improve eCommerce conversion during this period. The key sales period is from late November through to early January. We would therefore strongly recommend implementing these actions by mid-November for maximum effect, but even if your team can’t quite manage that, it’s always better late than never.

And don’t forget, the Digital Cultural Network is always on hand to support you and your team, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need 1-to-1 support.

Without further ado, here are our top 7 Christmas conversion tips:

1. Make your online shop shout Christmas

Much like shops on the high street, it’s important for online shops to get their customers in the festive mood. The more your online shops shouts ‘Christmas’ the more likely your customers are to get in the buying mood.

There are lots of ways you can hang the digital tinsel, starting with your homepage. Make sure your homepage clearly features your key Christmas products and offers. You can learn more about how to identify these products in our article How to set a winning festive eCommerce strategy.

Feature your gift ranges and offers on the homepage of your shop, using full-screen banners and smaller slots to highlight specific ranges. Your aim is to provide visitors to the homepage of your shop as many as routes as possible into all of your wonderful Christmas products and ranges.

Image of festive mugs and crockery in the sale on the Emma Bridgewater website

2. Make it easy to find gifts

It’s the festive season and gifting is what it’s all about. Make it easy for your customers to find your Christmas gift pages and ranges.

You can do this by adding a specific ‘Gifts’ heading to your navigation menu. You can go further by highlighting specific gift categories, for example  ‘gifts for children’, ‘gifts for book lovers’, ‘gifts for foodies’, ‘gifts under £X’.

Image of the dropdown menu on the Boden website

3. Make ‘Last Order’ dates work for you

You can learn more about how to calculate your ‘last order’ dates in our article Where’s my order? 5 customer service quick wins for the festive period.

Once you’ve calculated your ‘last order’ dates, there a few simple things you can do, to make them really work for you:

  • Make sure your delivery promise is clearly worded, e.g. “Order by 21st December for delivery before Christmas”.
  • Make sure your delivery promise is prominently displayed on your Delivery page and on your Product pages.
  • Set up a countdown timer on your homepage, counting down to the last order date. This conveys a sense of urgency and helps focus customers’ minds.
  • Set up a site wide banner which reminds customers of the ‘last order’ date as they browse around your site.
  • If you offer Free Delivery, consider combining this messaging with your ‘last order’ date. For example “FREE delivery on all orders over £50, order by 21st Dec for Christmas”.

Screengrab of Mountain Warehouse website Christmas homepage

4. Offer extended returns

From November onwards, customers are often shopping for gifts to be given at Christmas, rather than for themselves. Many online retailers typically offer the chance to return or exchange for one month after purchase.

If this is the case, it’s worth considering offering your customers an extended returns period, so any purchases made from 1st November onwards are eligible for return up until mid or late January. This can give customers added confidence when shopping for gifts.

5. Offer gift wrap and message

Many customers want to order gifts to be delivered directly to the gift recipient with gift wrapping and a gift message. If you’re able to offer this service it can be very popular at Christmas and improve your conversion with last-minute shoppers.

Many eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce have plugins to support this functionality. You can choose to offer this service for free and use it as an added incentive to drive your online conversion, or you may decide to add it as a paid for service.

Either way, if you do offer this service make sure that it’s clearly sign-posted on your website. Good places to feature it are on site wide banners, delivery pages and product detail pages.

6. Promote Gift Vouchers and Memberships

It’s Christmas and everyone is shopping for gifts, but sometimes it’s tricky to find the perfect item. That’s where gift vouchers and gift memberships can be ideal. Is this something you or your organisation already offer or something that you could implement online ahead of Christmas?

Make sure that your gift vouchers and memberships are well presented. The product page should highlight all the benefits of the membership or all the eligible products the vouchers can be spent on.

Make sure that your gift vouchers and memberships are highlighted in your Christmas merchandising. Can you feature them on your homepage? Add them to your gift category and navigation?

Most gift vouchers are a digital product (rather than one that needs to be physically posted to the customer) so you can keep promoting sales of these even after your last order dates. Once your last order dates have passed, switch to putting all of your effort into promoting gift vouchers. If possible, feature them prominently on your shop homepage and feature them in email newsletters and social media as the ‘perfect last minute gift’.

7. Keep selling on Christmas Day

It’s Christmas Day and you may think it’s all over, but did you know that the afternoon of 25th of December is one of the biggest online shopping days? The nation has eaten their festive lunch and is largely slumped on a sofa, perhaps playing with a new digital device and eCommerce spending starts to climb.

If you have a Christmas or January sale planned, make sure it’s live and ready for launch on Christmas Day. A good approach can be to send a festive email wishing your supporters a Merry Christmas and also mention any end-of-season promotions or sales. This also works well on social media.

What’s next?

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all creative and cultural individuals and organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up for our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn and LinkedIn for the latest updates.

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