Christmas eCommerce: Keep it merry and stress-free!

Research has shown that almost 56% of British consumers will be spending nearly half of their Christmas shopping online this year. Others have also estimated that 8 out of 10 consumers will be considering online Christmas shopping. It is not surprising that British retailers have been investing a substantial amount of their efforts to embrace this once-in-a-year opportunity since several months before Christmas.

Despite the optimistic figures, some concerns remain amongst the retailers. It is one thing to browse on eCommerce website, but it is quite another thing to click the ‘purchase’ button for the consumers. Approximately 48% of the online shoppers are likely to quit shopping, leaving their shopping carts hanging there, abandoned and eventually forgotten.

So what is demoralising them?

Christmas time not only brings jolly and delightful feelings, but the time also makes people stressed and occupied with planning parties and finishing off their big projects before starting their holidays. And they are less likely to enjoy the complicated and time-consuming eCommerce procedures, forcing them to abandon their shopping baskets before completing the payments. It is the hard-to-follow structure, slow loading website or simply the unexpected delivery cost that make consumers switch to competitors or in-store shopping. Retailers cannot afford to lose these key shoppers whose expected average Christmas expenditure is 375 pounds per person.

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(Picture from Ag Report 365 http://agreport365.com/christmas-shopping-stress-fight/)

Christmas is just around the corner: What can we do at this stage?

Marketing strategy during Christmas encompasses an early preparation. Yet, there are still some actions that can be taken to avoid the ‘lost-consumer’ problem. The most straightforward solution, probably, is to send them the reminder emails. Big retailers such as John Lewis and QuickSilver use ‘Cart Abandonment Email’ to remind their consumers of the unfinished shopping activities. Their emails feature precise messages with images of items and the links that direct consumers back to their shopping carts.

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(Source from http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/63925-cart-abandonment-emails-how-five-retailers-retarget-lost-customers)

However we also need to look at the root cause. In other others, to tackle the tedious eCommerce shopping experience by adding more fun and creative elements of your company.  For example, use of videos and photos featuring your team dressed in Santa costumes might attract the consumers’ attentions, making the process less monotonous.

Christmas-themed deals or promotions should be renewed and updated every couple of days to encourage your online customers to visit your website regularly. By offering vouchers that can be used in January 2014, it will not only ensure returning customers but also less chance of losing shoppers to the competitors. Similarly offering promotion code on the spot will prevent your consumers from leaving to other websites, looking for better offers. Your online sales will be likely to increase if you improve the cost of delivery. Given that consumers abandon their carts due to unexpected total prices at the final process of online shopping, companies may need to reduce the delivery fees, if not free, on orders that exceed certain amounts. This can provide some incentive for the consumers to spend more and at the same time avoid disappointments.

The most basic way to enhance online conversion rate is to revise the technicality and accessibility of your website (yet, many tend to underestimate this). The speed of website download determines the conversion rate, and therefore the volume of your Christmas sales. Ensure that your eCommerce website operates effectively and speedily for every type of device.

In conclusion…

As mentioned earlier, Christmas marketing strategy requires a long-term planning. This may involve the development of a personalized online shopping website, or incorporation of a range of social media methods to make online shopping more fun an interactive. In a busy time like Christmas, consumer attitudes are even more volatile. Retailers must make sure their eCommerce sites are precise, easy-to-follow, and speedy to avoid the ‘missing payment’ or ‘lost consumer’ situations.

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