Additional Christmas Ideas

It’s impossible to ignore Christmas this time of year. It’s the single most important time for many ecommerce sites. This is the reason there are already two excellent columns on this topic just written on this website, beating me to it! Whilst they’ve covered almost everything, there several aspects that I feel need somewhat more mention.

For the Christmas season price is no longer the overriding concern for most clients. Their concerns will be:

  • How do I find the ideal gift?
  • Will it arrive in time?
  • Can I return it after Christmas?

Further, your visitor demographics can change radically. For a professional site like mine, the Christmas buyer is going to function as grandparents, parents, and friends wanting to purchase the presents for my typical customers. So they won’t be specialists in what I sell. They’ll need different handling.

Your returns policy, and your delivery rates will need to be emphasized so that any visitor is completely aware you will deliver immediately and return any order for any reason until January. This thus covers the past two concerns. The first concern however is the secret.

As retailers, it’s our job to help clients, particularly people who don’t know about the genre you’re selling. This is where independent retailers can stick out and beat the box shifters. There are two chief methods of doing this handholding.

First, have some type of interactive chat support on your site, and offer help real time. Now as all retailers understand, some clients appreciate being approached and others hate it. Whilst in a store a fantastic helper can usually inform and approach carefully, on a site it’s more black and white. On a personally taste, if I provide a live chat support, I’d set it up to only appear on petition — i.e., not use a nag pop up. The use of a live service should only be considered if you’re ready to reply 24/7. Using a chat service that doesn’t answer, or is always shut, will often place prospective customers off. A useful option is to give a”personal shopper” by appointment. Again this service will have to be properly encouraged and any reservation request responded to within hours, not days. You could even think about offering a Skype personal shopper service, where the helper can walk the consumer around the store and show the goods in real time. This has the advantage of not needing to modify the website. Obviously if you do so you want to make certain that any prices displayed match those online site.

The second method (and, in my opinion, essential in any case) would be to have a process of present suggestion built into the site. This might be constructed in manually with pages of excellent copy and suggested products — maybe in a tree structure threading into great offerings with reasons why these are great gifts. This may be, for example,”just released” (so it is not likely to be already bought by the receiver ). Alternatively, by some type of product filtering (that Magento is extremely good at) which enables a visitor to trim down a long list of goods to a few good options. The challenge here is picking the filters.

Whilst this present suggestion may sound like website navigation, there’s an essential difference. Your current site navigation ought to be designed for your usual visitor, who knows about your product range and genre. They know what they’re seeking. Over time you should have monitored your visitor’s path through your website, noted and lower the bounce rates, and tailored your navigation to match. These Christmas visitors might be completely different. Thus the need for the various navigation. This alternate navigation, if done correctly, should place these gift-seeking traffic at ease, help them feel more confident, and facilitate their purchasing experiences.

As a last suggestion, offer a gift-wrapping support. For a few dollars more the gift can be wrapped up, saving the client plenty of time and hassle. 1 year one of my opponents offered two gift-wrapping alternatives. The first was that the professional, beautifully wrapped service. The second was gift wrapped with the warehouse man. The idea being that it would be wrapped fairly poorly like”daddy” would do it. They were amazed by the take up of the second choice. Additionally, it generated lots of news coverage. So it was a win win. Having said that, never underestimate the cost of a fantastic wrapping service. Whilst the materials may just be a couple of cents, the space and time required to do this will affect your normal order fulfillment. Further such a premium service shouldn’t delay the shipping of the order. Therefore, if successful, you might find you need extra staff to perform this service correctly. I’ve noticed among my opponents constantly switching this service off and on, no doubt to make certain that they don’t get overburdened.

But you do it, Christmas shouldn’t be ignored. If you don’t make your website stand out from the crowd, you can bet your competitors will. That is why I constantly monitor my opponents. To see what they’re doing, both right and wrong.

Finally this is a opportunity to retain new clients. If you deliver a terrific company, then follow it up and get them to sign up to your annual Christmas newsletter. They probably don’t need a monthly/regular newsletter, but they could welcome an offering next year.