As I peer out over a rather bleak Newcastle, it’s perfectly clear that winter has arrived. Pathetic fallacy dictates that I too should be feeling down, gloomy and dismayed but, quite frankly, I’m not. Why? Because the cold snap indicates we’re one step closer to my favourite time of year: Christmas.
Mentioning the festive season makes most of my colleagues break out in a light sweat. Admittedly, my festive cheer has arrived a little early this year — we humble shoppers still have plenty of time to prepare for December 25th. But for retailers, it’s a different case entirely…
Mo’ money, mo’ customers
Christmas can be a goldmine for retailers, both on- and offline. As reported by the Financial Times (paywall), Christmas shoppers spent an average of £8.8 billion each week in December 2013, with online sales up by 11.8% since 2012.
With such strong digital growth, there’s plenty of opportunity for ecommerce sites to capitalise on the sudden influx to the market. But many rivals bombard customers with seemingly unbeatable offers and irresistible deals; competition is rife. To give your brand a fighting chance, it’s important that your business stands out.
Shopping goes social
One brand that has mastered setting itself apart is Amazon, which recently ventured into a whole new realm of social media shopping. After syncing their Amazon and Twitter accounts, users can add products to their basket without leaving the social media site. All they need to do is reply to a product link with #AmazonBasket, and the item will be instantly added to their cart to be paid for later. In much the same way, #AmazonWishList makes writing a letter to Santa a whole new experience.
Integrating such features into social media is an excellent tactic. With 284 million active monthly users on Twitter alone, posting product images and links is a great way of gaining exposure and tempting customers to purchase.
Worldwide brand Amazon obviously has a wealth of cash to invest in these social media practices, but there are options for smaller brands too. Posting high-quality product images alongside an engaging message will help to catch the eyes of social media users. Including a link to the product will make shopping more convenient and tempt impulse buyers.
Weve found that in 2013, almost 90% of consumers used their mobiles for Christmas shopping, spending an average of £245 each.
By its very nature, mobile shopping should be quick and simple. If your website is not properly optimised or takes too long to load, potential customers will leave as quickly as they arrived.
Testing your website across mobile platforms will help ensure both its performance and usability. In addition, keeping your copy short and succinct yet still informative will support on-the-go shopping.
The power of the email
According to statistics from Convince and Convert, 44% of email recipients make at least one purchase from a promotional email per year. As such, emails can be a powerful tool for increasing sales.
Sharing discounts, offers and details of special events entices subscribers to spend money with your brand. Remember to keep the subject relevant — using phrases like ‘discount code inside!’ is a great way of piquing your customers’ interest. Just make sure you don’t overwhelm your customers: sending emails too frequently is a sure-fire way of making your way onto their spam lists. See this post for more advice on preventing unsubscription requests.
Have you made your preparations for Christmas 2014? Let us know in the comments below.