Seasonal Adjustments in E-Commerce: 8 Tips for Successful Christmas Commerce
The festive season is one of the busiest times for online retail in terms of sales. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a boom in online retail that is likely to be continued this year. According to Statista, online retail's share of total sales in the German Christmas business was 20.7 percent in 2021. In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the share was at 16.8 percent.
Almost half of German consumers search for gifts online
The pandemic has influenced the behavior of consumers significantly. Due to the economically unstable situation, inflation, and rising energy prices, supposedly, even more consumers are going to compare prices online and make purchases in online stores accordingly.
According to Google Insights, the online search volume increases by almost 20 percent in the festive season and by over 40 percent on Black Friday. Around 47 percent of German consumers take inspiration for their Christmas gifts online.
The sales potential of festive season commerce in online retail
According to the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland e.V.), the interactive retail generated a total goods sales of 112.1 billion euros in 2021, which corresponds to a growth of 2.4 percent in comparison to 2020. In relation to the years prior to the pandemic, this is an enormous increase, as the average growth was only about 11 percent up until then.
The starting signal for the festive season: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
For 47 percent of the customers in Germany, the bargain hunt starts way before December. More and more consumers are taking advantage of the days “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” on which online retailers lure them with special discounts to buy gifts online.
Younger customers, in particular, increasingly go on online bargain hunts and a total of 95 percent of online consumers are familiar with Black Friday. More than 80 percent of customers are familiar with Cyber Monday and so, one-third of e-commerce shoppers plan to use the Black Friday offers.
8 tips for e-commerce retailers for a successful festive season commerce
The increasing competition and the ever-growing demand for online retail increase the pressure on e-commerce retailers. That’s why it is important to prepare for the fourth quarter in advance with good developed strategies, in order to make as much profit for your business as possible. There are numerous ways to succeed in the festive season:
1. Scalable & fast customization of product descriptions
Creating an optimal shopping experience for the customers plays an important role, as customers become loyal to the company by satisfying their needs.
Through content automation, you can customize thousands of product descriptions of an online shop individually at the push of a button. They are also scalable for various occasions, such as Christmas.
Your product descriptions can be automated in three simple steps:
- Structured data, such as product features and information from data sources like the PIM system, are uploaded and make up the information basis for product descriptions.
- Then, the texts are configured in the AX Semantics software. There it will be decided how the uploaded data should appear in the texts. The entire text design is up to you.
- Ultimately, you can generate product descriptions for all your data sets at the push of a button. The content can be actualized and regenerated as often as you wish.
Product descriptions can be seasonally customized with minimum effort and in the shortest time by using content automation. You can give any text a Christmas feeling at the push of a button by adding Christmas specific words to each individual part. In less than 10 minutes, you can turn an automatically generated product description like:
Into an automatically generated product description with a Christmas note like:
Furthermore, you can include information, such as an extended return period policy for the holiday season or delivery guarantees in all desired product descriptions. After the festive season, you can remove them quickly and automatically.
In our video, you can follow each individual step in which a product description is swiftly turned into a Christmas text:
2. An optimal fulfillment preparation for the festive season
The fulfillment ensures customer satisfaction. Especially now, when the e-commerce sector is facing an all-time high in festive season. Consequently, it is even more important to optimize the logistic setup to prevent delivery shortages.
For this reason, it should be ensured that:
- Planning is conducted with an increased need for personnel
- Inventories are restocked and products are in stock in advance
- Fulfillment capacity is extended, in order to successfully master the peak times of holiday shopping
- The customer has a variety of delivery options
- Returns can be processed smoothly
If sufficient attention is paid to the previous points and the appropriate preparation is made for a smooth fulfillment, the potential of the festive season can be fully exploited in terms of logistics.
3. Optimizing the visibility of the online shop and the product pages in search engines
To ensure that christmas offers are found by customers, it is important to have a high visibility of the online shop. This can be achieved by search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA).
We recommend using keyword tools to research the most relevant terms users look up about the festive season. These terms are completed with information on localization, such as the city, or other specific terms connected to the company.
The combination of long-tail keywords, which means the combination of multiple keywords, is advantageous for smaller, rather unknown online shops. Because generic search terms tend to be used by market leaders. Therefore, generic keywords should be advertised through campaigns, in order to generate traffic.
4. Planning marketing activities well in advance
The right time to start with the marketing for Christmas is in the early fall.
In the SEA domain, landing pages can be designed specifically for the season and advertised through campaigns. A Christmas spirit can also be created outside the online store by visually customizing shipping boxes as well as adhesive tapes and including small gifts in the deliveries. Furthermore, there are numerous marketing activities that help customers by finding the right gift and promote the purchase decision:
- Customized Christmas bundles based on different themes
- Printable last-minute gift options, such as vouchers
- Gift advisor in the form of blog posts
- Guaranteed on-time delivery for the holiday
- Order without a customer account
Apart from the help offered by finding the right gift, customers can also be won over by various actions, such as discounts and vouchers. Ideally, a timer for the holiday shopping, a display of the remaining stock of each individual product, discounts on products that are difficult to deliver and call-to-actions, such as “Order in the next two hours and receive your delivery tomorrow” provide the finishing touches of a well-designed Christmas online shop.
5. Improve Customer Experience
As the visitors of a website are usually new potential customers, the first impression of the online shop is of high importance. To offer the customers the best possible shopping experience, there are a few processes that should be optimized:
A good Product Experience is vital for a Positive Customer Experience
The basis of a good Customer Experience (CX) is a positive Product Experience (PX). Loyalty to the online store is only possible when the customer receives all required information and feels individually addressed and picked up. Above all, in e-commerce, the foundation of a good PX is provided by expressive and content-rich product descriptions, which often represent the only contact between customer and product. Therefore, it is important to convince the customers with a customized product description in the shortest time possible. So that they develop trust in the product and in the company, have a positive CX, and, ultimately, make a purchase decision.
Optimization of ordering processes
The ordering process should be as easy as possible and be done with just a few clicks. When the website is user-friendly and the purchasing process is easy, the customer will more likely buy from the online shop again.
Design a m-commerce friendly online shop
As more and more people make their purchases on their mobile devices, it is of high importance to design the online shop in a mobile commerce (also known as M-commerce) friendly way. Mobile commerce stands for internet retail that occurs via mobile devices. It is important that online retailers adapt to this type of shopping by designing websites with pictures and texts that can also be adjusted on smartphone displays, tablets, etc., making them available in mobile view.
The website’s loading time influences the CX
The website’s loading times have a major influence on customer satisfaction. Loading time has a significant impact on the CX and can drive the customers to continue their shopping on a more optimized and fast competition website, especially during the stressful holidays. With tools like Google PageSpeed you can easily check how well-equipped your online shop is for the festive season.
6. Address all four types of shoppers during the holiday shopping
Advertising campaigns need to be aimed at all types of buyers over a longer period of time. It is therefore important to include all four shopper types in a Christmas advertising campaign, from early buyers to last-minute shoppers.
7. Attract customers after the holidays with discounts and vouchers
Christmas does not end on the 26th of December. The time between Christmas to New Year’s Eve, and even the weeks after, have great sales potential.
Vouchers and money are given as gifts, the people are more relaxed, happier, and more satisfied and share their received gifts with their loved ones.
It is highly recommended to advertise special discounts and offers on these days to make a good business in the last days of the year.
8. Service and Information
As some customers start looking for Christmas gifts at an early stage, it is sensible to inform them about various offers well in advance. Via personalized newsletters, your own website, social media, and advertisements, you can inform customers about gift ideas, discount promotions, and new products. In the form of express delivery, an extended exchange period, gift wrapping of products, or vouchers, you can convince even the last customers to buy.
Should customers still have questions in spite of personalized product descriptions and an optimized website, easily accessible customer service is essential. Customers should be able to contact the company via various channels and, ideally, receive an answer or reach a contact person in the shortest possible time. Here, the simplest option is an automated contact person such as a chatbot, as customers can contact the bot directly via the homepage with their questions and receive an answer immediately, without the expense directly involving personnel costs.
For online retailers, the time around Christmas has a great potential that can be exploited with the right preparation and applying our tips. With precise planning, the challenge of the festive season can be successfully overcome, and a foundation can also be established for the months that follow.