Advice from Andy Houstoun, Head of professional services at ecommerce provider Venda
1 Last-minute preparations
Perfect the emails you send to shoppers who have abandoned carts – incentivise them to return and complete the purchase with strong Christmas messages and incentives. Focus on search engine optimisation, pay per click (PPC) and on-site search now. Refine your checkout process – allow shoppers to checkout without registration or reduce the process to the bare bones, allowing you to capitalise on new shoppers or quick buys. Re-segment, re-target and re-focus. Remember that past purchases were probably personal and bear little resemblance to what shoppers will buy in the next five weeks.
2 During the peak
Expect the peak periods for Christmas-related searches to be December 4 and 5. Make sure your PPC campaign is geared and budgeted for those dates. The peak in sales should hit between December 12-19. This is your last chance to maximise revenues in 2011 before the Sales start, so use every opportunity and tool to cross-sell. Feature your promotions and collections using landing page carousels so shoppers can see them all at a glance. Keep your delivery information and shipping dates clear and prominent.
3 After the peak
Post-Christmas, some of those abandoned baskets might get picked up again in your January Sales. Remember, January Sales start on Boxing Day – get those promos ready to go and scheduled in your web control panel now. Have fresh product offers for the period up to New Year’s Day.