It’s Never Too Early: Preparing Your E-commerce Website for Christmas

29 August 2017

If you own an E-commerce retail business, you’re likely to be experiencing a lull in sales this Summer, as shoppers spend more time outdoors and less time online. So why not take the opportunity to get ahead for the festive season?

With Christmas shoppers spending over £21 bn online in 2016, it makes sense to start planning well in advance, so that you can ensure the seamless implementation of your seasonal campaigns. What’s more, having your website and campaigns ready to go will allow you more time to test, analyse and improve them throughout the season.

We’ve listed the essential questions to ask so that you can get preparations rolling this month.

Can your website handle it?

If this is your business’s first Christmas online, or you’re expecting more visitors than usual, you don’t want to be flawed by a slow website - or worse, a website that shuts down altogether. Make sure that your website will be able to handle a significant increase in traffic before potential customers show up.

Is it ready for mobile shoppers?

Last year, 42.3% (£8.87 bn) of online Christmas sales were made on mobile - including both smartphones and tablets. If your website isn’t responsive, you could be missing out on hundreds of potential customers who are visiting your site on their mobiles.

Does it provide an incredible user experience?

Christmas shoppers don’t usually have the luxury of time, and will have a million other presents to buy other than the ones from your site. Having a “Christmas Shop” with clear sub-navigation will allow them to find the products they are looking for as quickly as possible, and will increase your chance of a sale.

Making recommendations based on the products they are viewing is another way to help them save time, and upsell. Organising your products into a system like this can is straightforward but time-consuming, so it’s important to start this as soon as possible.

One other important element of their user experience is your branding. Making sure that all Christmas branding is consistent with your overall brand will ensure that your customer’s expectations are met and encourage future brand loyalty.

How will you manage delivery and stock?

Fulfilling your orders on time is one of the most important factors in gaining repeat business, especially at Christmas. Having your E-commerce website fully integrated with Point of Sale, Sales Order Processing and Customer Relationship Management software, or any other software that you use to run your business, is crucial to ensuring all orders run smoothly.

Are you ready to deal with questions and complaints?

With big online businesses offering instant advice and support, most shoppers will expect to hear back from you within minutes, not hours or days. Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter can be a great way to hear and manage complaints, with automated notification systems that do a lot of the work for you. Customers that receive a quick response will be more likely to complete their purchase, come back again, and recommend you to a friend.

Have you set aside budget for online marketing?

SEO, paid advertising and social media campaigns are all part of an effective seasonal campaign, and you can be sure your competitors will be doing the same. Taking the time to research trends and adjust your website and campaigns accordingly could win you thousands of pounds in extra customers.

If you need help getting ahead for the festive season, why not talk to Wida? We can help you to make your website ready for Christmas. Call us today on 0115 921 4797, or fill in the form below to book a consultation.