Christmas time is shopping time and a lot of customers want to avoid the annual stress in the malls and stores by purchasing presents online. According to the E-Commerce Center Cologne, 90 percent of online shoppers will buy their Christmas presents online in 2013.
Saving time, a comfortable home delivery and lower prices – these are major factors which make online shops more attractive comparing to brick and mortars. However, for e-commerce merchants it is vital to provide a seamless customer experience in order to convert as many Christmas shoppers as possible to customers.
If you take the following 5 tips, you will increase your conversion rate significantly during Christmas season – and also beyond it.
1. Enhance your shop usability.
Remember, that your visitors find the presents they are searching for quickly and easily only with a high shop usability. It means not only a clearly structured shop design, but also helpful shop functionalities such as an error-tolerant onsite search and a navigation which displays only buying relevant filters. By means of both you allow your customers to find the right presents without any detours. In addition, an auto-complete suggest functionality gives useful guidance – especially if specific business rules can be determined: Then trendy and high-margin products should be displayed as first in the suggest box.
After the search is performed, visitors buy significantly more if the result ranking is customized by the user data including former clicks, purchases, shopping volumes etc. With dynamic filtering options in the result lists – e.g. based on brand, color and size – you simplify and accelerate the customer’s buying decision even more.
2. Optimize your product data.
The importance of a high quality of your product data cannot be overestimated. On one hand, detailed product descriptions, high class pictures and useful customer reviews help selling, because online shoppers want to get to know as much as possible about the items they are interested in.
On the other hand, on-site search, faceted navigation and the suggest functionality can be customized by the product data. Useful filtering possibilities in the navigation and After Search Navigation can especially accelerate the buying process. Because they rank the relevant products quickly on the highest position. In order to reach even higher profits, you can create better filters from your product data using a helpful tool like Attribute Generator: It automatically creates filters from the manufacturers’ product descriptions and from the product text.
Structured product data also leads to a higher ranking in Google Shopping – a further lever for more conversion.
3. Adapt your merchandising to Christmas.
Giving your visitors positive emotions whilst shopping is essential in the Christmas time and leads to a proven higher conversion. Actually, this is a field where brick and mortar stores score especially well with customers. But also online shops are able to inspire visitors and get them in the Christmas mood – for example by establishing product landing pages, sliders or banners which are adapted to Christmas topics.
Usually, those presents which are trendy or almost sold out, are most attractive. So, highlight them in the search results. And in order to convert visitors who get into a zero-result page, start sale-campaigns also for these sites.
And what about those who just want to browse in your shop – not knowing yet what is the right present. Here, advisory campaigns, which simulate a real sales conversation, lead reliably to higher conversions and a smooth shopping experience.
4. Offer a first-class customer service.
Payment options, conditions upon return, delivery times and more – customers want to be comprehensively informed about all formalities. So make sure they are eye-catching in your shop.
If you only offer prepayment, various customers will not buy in your shop. Because for many of them purchasing on the account is much more comfortable due to more flexibility. The same applies for your conditions upon return: extend the deadline for returns to 30 days. A tighter time frame will hardly allow customers a stress-free return of unsuitable presents. In addition, your customers want to be sure that the purchased present will come in time. So display this information at a prominent position and offer also an express delivery service.
There are always Christmas shoppers who don’t find the right present. For that case offer coupons – and make them valid for at least one year.
Many customers have questions concerning a range of different topics. A sound customer service includes both: A FAQ section as well as a hotline. Concerning the latter, you should train your personnel particularly for the higher demands of the Christmas season.
5. Detect hidden shop potential.
For retailers, the Christmas season is the most sales-boosting time of the year. Thus, shop optimizations in this time will have a very positive impact on your conversion rate. Is there any bug on your website? Are there any wrong links? Do your onsite search and navigation run seamlessly? Make sure that everything works fine – because: Nothing is more annoying than a high drop-out rate due to avoidable mistakes.
A further hidden shop potential lies in long tail requests. Instead of starting a search with a general term like shoes, some visitors type more specific terms such as red Nike running shoes for men into the search box – having a concrete imagination what the right product is. Mostly, those visitors are more likely to buy. In order to use this sales leverage, make sure that your search is able to interpret long tail requests correctly – even if they are misspelled, differ from the actual product names or contain special names.
It is advisable to check if your online shop is already optimized according to the 5 points mentioned above. However, sometimes more in-depth expertise is required for the technical implementation of advanced shop criteria. In this case you should make demands on a proven e-commerce expert.