Win the race of Christmas!

It’s Christmas time! – One of the busiest periods for e-commerce. Are you ready..?

Last year, shopping related queries went up 29% (Google NZ data) compared to Christmas 2009, with a higher query growth for NZ brands than for international ones. Each year, more Kiwis make their Christmas purchases online as it’s more convenient and also easier to compare products and prices online.

Your conversion rate is more likely to increase during this favourable e-commerce period, especially if you follow our 10 tips below:

1. Adapt your offer to Christmas and to your targeted audience

This may sound relatively obvious but you have to keep in mind that Christmas is a very particular event in the year, with its own communication “code” and purchasing behaviour. For instance, people are more likely to buy for others for Christmas than during any other period of the year, i.e. they are not the final user of the product. Keep this in mind.

Also, Christmas is one of the most competitive periods in the year for many industries. You can’t expect people to buy your product if your offer is not appealing enough or if your communication is not quite right. Your offer must stand out: Be original, don’t offer the same discount as you usually would. There are many other ways to incentivise a purchase: free delivery, buy one get one free, sponsorships, offer a free gift with the order, etc.

2. Don’t forget your loyal clients

The fact that they are already your clients doesn’t mean you should neglect them. Make an extra effort for them because this will cost you less than to acquire new clients (their average cart value and re-purchase rates are higher), but also because they are your best brand promoters: word of mouth is still the most influencing media, it’s just that these days this sort of thing happens via Facebook chat.

3. Be visible on the relevant networks

There is no point of having great offers if no one can see them! If you consider the ratio audience reach/advertising cost, online advertising is one of the most affordable advertising channels compared to TV, radio, newspapers or billboards. You can reach a broader audience with Google Display Network which shows a 90% reach in NZ and 1.1 million unique users for the Shopping related websites. Thanks to a large set of targeting options (contextual, placements, interest based categories), Google Display campaigns enable you to target your audience cost-efficiently. In addition, you can use the Display Ad Builder to create effective banners at a very low cost.

4. Be findable in a short term

As shown below, “Christmas” searching seasonality starts as early as September and peaks mid-December.
Christmas query trend on Google NZ

Therefore, you need to make sure you don’t miss this window by being present on Google search results pages. Create tactical campaigns targeting specific “Christmas” related keywords (Christmas gifts, Xmas ideas, etc.) and use seasonal creatives.
In addition, make sure to stay competitive by increasing your daily budgets and maximum CPCs. Finally, have read of our 2010 recommendations: AdWords Christmas advertising tactics.

5. Be findable in a mid-long term period too

Think SEO. Create a specific page (or set of page) which will be optimised for Christmas (content, links, URLs, etc.). Given that competition for the “Christmas” query is very fierce, you may prefer optimising your content on more specific terms to gain organic rankings for your relevant search phrases. And once Christmas has come and gone – don’t delete your page!

6. Take advantage of your existing social networks

Of course don’t create a Facebook page just for the sake of Christmas: You need to have a consistent and long term communication with your customers and “fans”. If you don’t have a Facebook page yet, you are still on track to make it work for Christmas but hurry up! Once again, be original in your content: make your social network a special place for your fans or followers, offer different custom deals on Twitter compared to Facebook and don’t necessarily try to sell your products at all costs.

7. Be visible all along the purchasing process

As we have seen above, people start researching their Christmas gifts long time before December 25th. Retargeting campaigns are an excellent way to bring back these “early” browsers and reconnect them to your products. Google Remarketing allows retargeting 84% of your audience by placements across the Google Display Network. Make sure you read my pro article on Google remarketing.
During November you want to be visible on Display networks. You will also need to ensure that you are findable on digital marketing channels that are usually closed to purchasing, such as SEM campaigns and shopbots. In others words, make sure that your brand shows up when people are ready to buy.

8. Optimise your email campaigns

Make sure you reach your audience (watch your deliverability and opening rates) and adapt your email strategy to your database, that is to say segment your customers for better results. In addition, leverage your eDM campaigns by increasing the virality (“tell a friend” function for instance).
Consider also co-registration to broaden your audience.

9. Optimise your conversion process

It is not too late to start a conversion rate optimisation project. Within 2 weeks (depending on your traffic) you will be able to test and see which version of a particular page or, better, of a conversion funnel has a better conversion rate. Google Website Optimizer allow you to do so with very few changes on your source code. So start testing today for extra conversion points tomorrow! Here’s our take on conversion optimisation.

10. Track your traffic accurately and be ready to react

Are you sure about your Google Analytics data? Do you track all strategic actions on your website? Do you look at the relevant KPIs? These are some questions that you should consider before it’s too late. Watch your trends closely (% new visits, bounce rates, conversion rates) and make sure you and others have easy access to relevant data (via custom dashboards and reports for instance). In addition, involve the IT people so they can quickly react if needed (server availability issues, addition of new content, etc). We have a Google Analytics case study coming out very soon, make sure you check that out.

Pro Tip #1: Don’t forget to buy YOUR presents

This one is a bit more personal, but indeed if you don’t want any problems at home, don’t think about your Christmas pressies at the last moment…!

Pro Tip #2: Finding cheap pressies just got easier pulls together the best deals from all popular New Zealand daily deal sites. You can sort by “Greatest Discount”, “Cheapest”, “Most Popular”, “Finishing Soon” and even “Staff Picks”. Well worthwhile checking out.

First Rate is here to help you get ready for Christmas so don’t hesitate to contact us for a no-obligation chat.