Having a robust ecommerce strategy in place ahead of the Holiday season has never been more important than it is in 2020.
In a year where online Christmas shopping is set to reach record highs, and with competition more aggressive than ever, understanding how you can leverage online shopping to your advantage is vital to survival for many businesses as we head towards a “new normal”.
Ecommerce sales have been on the rise for years now, and with the continual improvements in technology, this is only set to increase in the years to come.
Thanks to AI, customers no longer need to enter a physical store in order to try on products as they did before, and with tools like Google at our fingertips providing the ability to directly compare prices, reviews etcetera, many people simply do not see the need to visit such locations and face the holiday crowds.
This has been further impacted by the current pandemic, and visiting shops is now seen not just an inconvenience, but a potential threat to our health.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a second lockdown, all non-essential shops will be required to close from November 5th until December 1st, meaning ecommerce will likely become the lifeblood of festive shopping season this year.
In this article, we share our tips for tightening your ecommerce strategy for Christmas 2020, through the use of SEO and CRO practices.
Christmas Ecommerce Strategy – SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Aside from ensuring your website is in good shape from a general and technical SEO perspective to maximise search visibility over the Christmas period, there are some additional strategies that we urge ecommerce stores to consider.
1) Create seasonal blog content
Conduct keyword research and highlight relevant search terms based on trends and competition. Whether these are high funnel keywords such people looking for gift ideas, or mid to lower funnel searches where users are looking to consider their options for a specific gift and make a purchase, having content there, optimised and ready to welcome them into your website is essential.
Creating useful, optimised blog content to support any seasonal keywords indicated in your research is a great place to start. These could include the likes of “gift ideas for mum”, “what to get my dad for Christmas”, “thoughtful gifts for best friends” etc… These blogs also offer an opportunity to improve your internal linking to product pages on the website.
2) Utilise festive landing pages
Consider creating dedicated festive landing pages, targeted around seasonal searches that are not already being catered for within your blog content.
These could include category pages by recipient e.g. gifts for him, or products e.g. Christmas candle sets, and have relevant content and CTAs optimised towards a festive shopper in a way you could not do on a standard, year-round page.
It is important that you are not repeating keywords you have opted to use within blogs for these category pages. We find creating a document to align keywords with particular pages and/or campaigns is a great way to ensure you are maximising your reach tactically.
3) Use SEO friendly URLs
Your page’s URL is often one of the first impressions your website makes on potential users considering clicking through from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Having a random, unclear or even misleading URL could have an impact on not only your click-through-rates, but also your rankings.
We have seen and continue to see ecommerce website owners duplicating products and/or pages in an attempt to reduce time when making uploads. There is no major issue in doing so, however, it is important that if you do this, you are updating the URL to reflect the content of the page as well as changing the meta data to do the same.
Whilst your URL is not a large ranking factor, it is considered, and you must bear in mind that search engines like Google are looking to provide the very best experience to their users and therefore having inaccurate or misleading URLs could have an indirect negative effect on rankings.
Christmas Ecommerce Strategy – CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation)
It is essential that as we head towards the holiday season, your website is fast and mobile/user friendly. This means making sure you have tested user journeys on a variety of devices time and time again, and that there are no obstacles in the way of potential customers making a purchase.
Having said that, there are a couple of tips we would like to share that might help to improve conversion rates for online Christmas shopping in 2020.
1) Allow users to create wishlists
Enabling wishlists on your website can offer some fantastic benefits over the Christmas period.
Firstly, in most cases, customers need to create a profile or submit their email address at the minimum to create a wishlist. By doing so, they give you the opportunity to send tailored marketing collateral based around their wishlist’s content, as well as sending reminders, encouraging them to convert should they not purchase initially.
Secondly, wishlists can be a great way for users to share gift ideas with loved ones or create gift shopping lists available from one central location. Whether a list of gift ideas for yourself or a shopping list for friends and family, wishlists streamline the gift buying process, and who doesn’t love a quick and easy purchase experience?
2) Use countdowns & scarcity
Installing countdowns on your website, for example, until free delivery or a sale ends, can create a sense of urgency within a consumer’s mind. Countdowns are a fantastic way to play on human psychology and ignite a fear of missing out or missed opportunity, whether it be for snagging an item at a lower price or placing an order in time for Christmas delivery.
It is, however, important that this countdown does not intrude on user experience and that it is optimised across all device types.
Another tactic we see used time and time again in Christmas ecommerce strategies is a creative sense of scarcity. Implying that some products could be selling very quickly is another sneaky way that ecommerce websites play on human behaviours over the festive period. We have all seen “Selling Fast”, “x purchased in the past hour” or “Low Stock” banners strewn across products, and you can bet that even the savviest online shopper has fallen for this trick.
3) Be transparent
Being transparent is perhaps now more important than ever before. In a time where customers feel they may not be able to rely on delivery infrastructure as we re-enter lockdown, having clear information regarding last dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery or information on returns is vital to converting your hard-earned festive traffic.
So as not to push your users towards huge ecommerce stores that offer guaranteed next day delivery over the festive period, you should be looking to cover all bases from delivery to returns and anything else you feel users may want to know about your products before making a purchase.
Clearly displaying your last Christmas delivery order dates both on the website (perhaps in the form of the previously mentioned countdown timer) and within the checkout process is a strong tactic here.
Another great idea is to display a summary of your returns policy at the checkout stage, reassuring customers that have the option to return their gift should they need.
We hope these Christmas ecommerce strategies have inspired you, if you require support in preparing your ecommerce website ahead of Christmas then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team who will be more than happy to support you.