September 9, 2021
6 Min Read
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And for eCommerce brands, Christmas is also the busiest. Estimates suggest that over $1.3k (£950) is spent per household over the Christmas period, with online retailers being the favourite destination for two-thirds of spenders.
But as an online store, you can’t just take increased revenues for granted. At Christmas, competition on social channels and Google Ads is fierce, and playing a smart digital marketing game will be crucial. Meanwhile, sloppy landing pages and poor UX can seriously harm conversions once potential customers come knocking.
With that in mind, we’re here to help you make the most of the holiday period. Here are 15 Christmas eCommerce ideas, to boost awareness and generate sales.
Note: Traktion matches businesses with the very best growth marketing talent in the world. If you’re looking to maximise your eCommerce revenue this Christmas, start hiring right now. Our platform is totally free to use, and all our marketers are vetted and proven specialists.
Before we dig into channel-specific tactics, let’s look at the basics of your strategy for the holiday season. Here are some Christmas eCommerce fundamentals.
Every marketing strategy starts with a plan – and every plan starts with data. Digital trends change, but your most reliable data for the season ahead is what happened last year.
What was the social post or email that performed best? What day did you have the highest engagement or conversions? How many returns did you receive in January? Learn from your past successes – and fix last year’s mistakes this time round.
In 2019, ecommerce sites pocketed a massive $28.5 billion (£20.5 billion) across the weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. But the savvy online store knows the Christmas period doesn’t start with Cyber Weekend, and it doesn’t end on Christmas Day.
Over half of shoppers say they start their Christmas shopping long before the Black Friday weekend. More importantly, 11% of British customers have finished their shopping by mid-November. By starting early, you take more cash out of the market sooner.
Thanks to sales, gift cards, and discounts, consumers still spend heavily right through the New Year and beyond. Including deals for January in your Christmas sales can help entice them back.
You cannot take mobile commerce for granted, and at Christmas, this is more important than ever. 68% of eCommerce traffic over the holiday season will originate from mobile, while Christmas Day might be the busiest day of the year for mobile sales.
Deactivate annoying onsite popups for mobile, and ensure the payment process is user-friendly on smaller screens. Meanwhile, look beyond your own site: mobile-friendly PPC and social ads will help build awareness in customers who are searching while in-store.
At Christmas, customer behaviour and intent changes. For example, British women are over 1.5x more likely to buy tech products before Christmas than at any other time of the year.
It’s not quite that your existing audience goes out the window, but during this period there is a broader range of people buying new products for a variety of reasons. And people aren’t necessarily buying for themselves, which is something that throws a spanner in the works.
It’s also important to remember, especially for gift-buyers, that their knowledge about your product might not be at the level of the gift recipient. And more of them will be insecure about the difference between model specifications, or the conditions of a warranty for example. So make all this information as clear as possible, as early as possible.
Note: Messenger bots and live site chat can really help get these insecure buyers over the line, because you can answer product or delivery-related questions in real time.
Let’s talk about your eCommerce store itself.
We’ll assume you’ve got the basics down. Your product content game’s up to scratch, your site can handle the increased Christmas traffic, and everything’s localised for your global audiences. These are must-do best practices, at any time of the year.
At Christmas though, there are some specifics to look out for:
Shoppers need little more than 10 seconds on a webpage to decide whether they’ll stick around. With so much competition at Christmas, first impressions count more than ever.
As such, your landing pages need to be impeccable. They should highlight nothing less than your best products and deals and they should lead customers to a clear CTA.
Creating a sense of urgency can help increase conversions, too. Using countdowns to Christmas, countdowns to delivery dates, or time-limited offers are solid and proven tactics.
Christmas consumers want to be absolutely sure that what they’ll buy will arrive on time. If they don’t have total confidence in this, they’ll go elsewhere. Simple.
That means it’s essential to communicate your delivery processes and options clearly. Delivery info needs to be front-of-mind before customers checkout, or they’ll only ditch their cart later. Include it in popups, product detail pages, or clear delivery info pages – and make speedy delivery and free returns part of your offer. Reduce obstacles and uncertainty.
Naturally, make your online store and landing pages look pretty and festive. But don’t forget what happens after shoppers have put products in their cart. At the best of times, cart abandonment rates can be as high as 75%, thanks to shoddy visuals, glitchy processes, hidden fees, or limited payment options. At Christmas, those rates escalate even higher.
There are simple ways to reduce this kind of drop-off. Make all the costs (in combination with benefits) as clear as possible as soon as possible. Further, offer all the payment options customers need and put security front-and-centre during your payment process.
Christmas is a golden opportunity for new eCommerce sales – but it’s also a moment to capture loyal customers for the future.
First and foremost, you need to deliver a faultless customer experience of course. Easy checkout, secure payment, quick purchase notifications, fast and accurate delivery.
At the same time, you can encourage customers to stay connected by offering on-the-spot discounts for newsletter signups. These can be supported by the promise of upcoming exclusive deals. You can then use this bolstered email list to boost sales in January and beyond. Think long-term, rather than just focusing on this year’s Christmas sales.
Over Christmas, the Google Ads scene changes dramatically. As competition explodes, so will the cost per click. Here are 3 tips to navigate ecommerce pay-per-click (PPC) at Christmas.
According to one study, over 80% of ad spend on Google is on Google Shopping ads – and those ads bring in 85% of retail clicks. If your Christmas eCommerce PPC game focuses on Google Search Ads but not Google Shopping, you won’t be maximising your opportunity.
Make sure all your product data fits Google’s formatting requirements for Shopping Campaigns, and optimise all of your listings with quality images. This way, your store will look completely professional and legit to scam-wary consumers. This is particularly important because many new buyers around Christmas won’t already know your brand.
Your competitors are probably the best guide for refining your PPC efforts. What they do well, and what they choose to scale, might reveal opportunities they’ve missed.
Competitor analysis, for example, can flag up cheaper, less competitive ad keywords. At Christmas time, that means both industry-specific keywords and generic seasonal search terms. Smart keyword campaigns can reduce pressure on your budget at an expensive time and sweep up customers that competitors have missed.
Cart abandonment drives low conversion rates. But consumers that ditch their online shopping carts aren’t necessarily lost forever. (Re)targeted PPC ads can help nurture these customers you already know are interested in a specific product.
An exclusive time-limited discount code can up the urgency and bring them back before Christmas – and stop them going to your competitor.
“Social is the new shop window” as the saying goes. If consumers don’t like what they see from the outside, they’re not going to come in and browse. At Christmas, when every brand is donning their festive best, you need to give your shop window the edge. But how?
People turn to influencers and bloggers to find Christmas gift recommendations they trust.
Working with the right ones who have the right audiences and channels, plus content that reflects your brand values – can turn your product into a holiday season must-have.
But don’t use influencers just because. Setting goals, understanding when you want content, and tracking influencer marketing KPIs will be crucial to ensuring campaign success.
The payoff? Your products reach audiences much more likely to respond positively.
User-generated content – i.e. authentic videos, photos, and posts from users that feature your product – boosts brand awareness while adding authenticity and trust.
But turning customers into advocates is no easy feat.
Incentives can help, such as encouraging users to post festive photos with your product for a prize or a discount. Compelling, memorable brand challenges that can go viral are even better, particularly on TikTok, which is the home of Gen Z.
Facebook Ads will be a key channel this Christmas for many eCommerce businesses. CPMs in the first quarter of the year increased 30% for most brands, which meant that performance of Facebook Ads (ROI) generally dropped. But we’ve seen a drop recently in CPM costs, which is encouraging as it means Facebook Ads are becoming more efficient.
However, at Christmas it’s likely the costs will increase again. Competition for eyeballs in the auction increases. Our advice is to have at least one other paid social channel being tested in September, so you have options to divert spend if the costs for Facebook become too high in the run up to Christmas. Start testing now. Snap, TikTok, or Pinterest will give you options.
Whatever campaigns you’ve got on the boil, consider keeping them running throughout Christmas Day. Customers are logging on to share their photos, engage with friends, and take some time out from the family board games. And they also want to buy stuff.
Stopping for Christmas Day is a missed opportunity – particularly when it may be the year’s biggest day for mobile commerce. With people receiving gift cards, pocket money, and gifts they don’t want, many won’t waste a moment to spend online. Make sure you’re in the mix.
Christmas is an incredible time for eCommerce brands. But you might not get it right the first time. That’s okay. Effective marketing is about trying things out, learning from your mistakes, and going back to the drawing board to double-down on what works.
An expert digital marketer, specialised in eCommerce, can help. At Traktion, we match businesses with the top digital marketing talent, vetted across 100+ different factors.
Whether it’s just for life or just for Christmas, get started here for free.