With Christmas around the corner and Black Friday just gone past, the sale season is very much upon us. If you’ve not been preparing for this already, such as back in September as we’ve previously mentioned in our How to get the most out of Christmas Sales blog, then you’re probably playing a bit of catch-up at the moment, thanks to the fact that this time of year has become the sale season of the retail calendar. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become the biggest event in the retail calendar of late, and Christmas isn’t too far behind it either, thanks to Christmas Day sales, Boxing Day sales and more in the winter months making up the sale season.
Last year’s winners included Tesco, which found their like-for-like sales growth up 1.9% during the Christmas period, AO who saw revenue growth of 11.4% around Christmas, and fashion brand Boohoo, with revenue doubling to £228.2m overall. A lot of this came from a mixture of factors, from brand strength to unique product propositions and correct customer engagement, which is something that can be taken on board when developing a future Christmas strategy.
Whilst there’s not too much you can do at this point in time in terms of major campaigns to build yourself up against your competition if you’ve not been preparing for the Christmas period already, there are still some pointers that you can take advantage of to try and get some more interest in your products. As well, we’ve collated some points about what you can do to generally improve during this sales season. We’ve put together a checklist for Christmas success, so read on below for what you can do to improve sales and hopefully succeed at Christmas.
Christmas Checklist for Success
Set delivery time expectations
To start with a fairly easy point, make sure that you set delivery time expectations with your customers so that they’re realistic. If you use an external courier, ensure that you know their shipping schedules and can update your website to match what they say for delivery dates. If you’ve got an in-house team, make sure that you’re able to react accordingly when it comes to any particular crunch-times, as this can often make or break a sale from an unsure customer looking to buy at this time of year.
Outline your returns policy
Likewise with the delivery time expectations, it’s important to let your customers know about your returns policy to help them decide about whether to purchase from you for Christmas. You might be offering an extended returns policy to help cope with Christmas gifts being bought, so it’s also important to make sure that this is incredibly clear on all of your relevant pages, such as your product pages and FAQ pages.
Keep an eye on postage dates
Relating to the delivery time expectations, if you use an external courier service, it’s worth making a note of when the last postage days to turn up before Christmas are, as often customers will panic-buy last-minute Christmas gifts from you then to get them delivered before the big day arrives. It’s worth making sure that you can cope with the sudden influx that can often occur at this point, and if you’re unable to cope with it, make sure to let your customers know. Even if you don’t make a sale due to not being able to fulfil the order, customers appreciate the honesty and candour and will consider you in the future as you’ll have built up some loyalty there.
Be clear in your communications
If you’ve got an email marketing list, then you’ll need to make sure that all of your emails are clear on what deals you’re offering as well as anything else that might be occurring. Keep it simple with a site-wide percentage discount if possible, which then should translate to a simple email offer. Clear communication is key at this time of year, as everyone else is going to be sending your customers emails and other ways of communicating, so you’ll need to stand out from the crowd with your proposition. Same with your other communications, such as social media or paid advertising copy, it all needs to be clear so that your customers get exactly what your offers are and aren’t confused.
Extend the offers
If they work well, why not consider extending your offers a bit longer? With Black Friday and Cyber Monday now usually extending to the end of the week where Cyber Monday falls, if you’re on a roll with sales on Cyber Monday or the Tuesday afterwards, it’s worth extending the deals that you’re offering whilst people are still caught up in the moment of getting a bargain. You can notify everyone that you’re extending errors via all of your social media channels and email, which should bring in extra customers.
Utilise PPC ads to their fullest
If you’re not using it, PPC can often be one of the best ways to quickly drive traffic over a short period time. If you are using it, then you’ll already know this, but what you may not know is that you can create a campaign that is tailored to your exact needs for your existing Christmas or Black Friday sales overall marketing campaign.
Are you planning on running specific offers on an hourly basis? Or are you going for a week-long campaign instead? Utilising a specific PPC campaign can help improve your traffic as you can create specific ads to match your offers and have them display at the correct times that you’re running those offers. So if you’re really needing a quick traffic boost at this time of year, you should really be using PPC if you’re not already doing so!
Carry out outreach campaigns with SEO
At this point with Christmas so close, SEO is not the ideal channel to be focusing on, but you can still get some results here. If you can afford it, carrying out a very quick outreach campaign can generate some sales both due to the links that you’ll build in it, as well as potential traffic from those links as well. Plus, it’s good as a starting point for next Christmas. Just make sure to not turn off your Christmas pages and de-index them, as this will destroy all of your hard work.
Don’t forget your seasonality keywords as well
Related to both SEO and PPC, it’s key that you’ve got the appropriate keywords in place. Ideally you should start putting these in place 6 months before Christmas, but if that is not possible, start as soon as possible. Even if you don’t see any quick results now, it’s worth keeping this for next year as this will only help your future performances. For more information on seasonality keywords, check out our blog on seasonality keywords and Christmas SEO.
We’d love to help you make this Christmas your best yet. Get in touch with us today and take us up on a free consultation: 01793 238 697