01 Nov 11 tips for a successful Christmas time in e-commerce
The Christmas season is the strongest sales phase of the year for online shops: just under a quarter of the total online sales in 2017 was accounted for by the Christmas time. Again 10% more than last year.  All the more important, therefore, that your own shop is perfectly prepared for digital gift shopping. While one or the other customer quickly procures the last presents on Christmas Eve, shop owners should arm themselves for the Christmas storm as early as possible. In today’s blog post, we’ll give you 11 tips on how your online store will be fit for Christmas.
1. Ensure website performance
Selecting and handing over gifts is the fourth most beautiful activity for the Germans during the Christmas season  – so make sure that the virtual Christmas stroll is really fun and does not lead to frustration. Particularly important here is a well-running website. Check in good time whether your server capacity is sufficient for the benefit of site visitors and check with your web host if you should use more resources. Also check if your order and payment processes can be optimized. Especially at Christmas time, consumers are traveling in a variety of web shops and usability is the alpha and omega for a frustration-free Christmas shopping.
2. Plan Christmas campaign early enough
Plan ahead of time which advertising measures you would like to use at Christmas time. Content that makes it easier for customers to do their Christmas jackets is particularly well received. Therefore, assist your customers with gift search advice on your blog or in social media. Give inspirations for unusual gifts, personalized gift wrapping tips, or gift bags for the budget – adding value to your customers and making you want to shop for Christmas. Especially suitable for Christmas is the „online wish list“ Pinterest. If you present your products and discount promotions in an appealing way on the social network, potential customers can put together your digital wishlist and share it with friends. Virtual Advent calendars are becoming increasingly popular. With 24 small surprises, such as discounts, gift tips or sweepstakes, you encourage your customers to interact and attract more traffic. Do not wait too long for the launch of your Christmas campaigns: 30% percent of consumers are early and buy their gifts in November. Latest on 01.11. is it worthwhile to start with special Christmas content? The main shopping time is the first two weeks of December, where 39% of consumers do their Christmas shopping. But even last-minute promotions are still fetching a large number of customers – 23% are waiting for the last two weeks before Christmas Eve for their gift purchase .
3. Address regular customers early in the newsletter
Your e-mail newsletter is the perfect medium to remind your regular customers to buy gifts and to remind your shop. In the Christmas newsletter, mix product news with tips & tricks for choosing a gift, Christmas trends or even a small report about the Christmas party. Just before the end of the year, this is also the perfect time to take a brief look at the highlights of the fiscal year.
4. Convince Christmas new customers
At Christmas time you will find a lot of new visitors on the website of your online shop. Do not leave this potential for new customer acquisition unused. Convince with a well organized, clear website and set you with a new customer discount incentives for purchases and a newsletter subscription. You can also thank for the first purchase in your shop with a discount code for the new year. Ideally, the Christmas new customer becomes a regular customer. Nevertheless, make sure you make a non-binding purchase without registering – otherwise you will spoil customers who would certainly like to make a one-time purchase. Keep in mind especially older shoppers who are shopping for the first time on the Internet because of the wish list of children and grandchildren.
5. Extra service with gift boxes
Not every customer wants to pack gifts: 26.9% of women and a total of 51.9% of men find the packaging marathon of the Christmas season primarily annoying . It is therefore worth considering to ship the ordered products as a gift for the customers. The service plus will thank you many customers, not least because the double post will be spared if the gift should be forwarded anyway. And the recipient also gets a positive picture of your shop with a beautiful gift box.
6. Create trust and security with new customers
As already mentioned, especially at Christmas time, many customers visit online shops that they have not used before and whose seriousness they can not yet estimate. In the form of customer reviews, quality seals and a well-maintained FAQ page, you can give your customers the confidence that your shop is trustworthy. Collect early reviews and recommendations from satisfied customers in order to reduce potential skepticism of potential new customers and to facilitate the gift selection. Most shoppers double-check on someone else’s gift to make sure they’re buying the right one, so other customers‘ opinions are worth the price of gold.
7. Provide orientation and inspiration
The seemingly unlimited choice of products makes the Internet the perfect entry point for customers who do not yet have a solid gift idea. Do not leave your customers alone, but make it easier for you to seek inspiration and in advance, which of your products are particularly suitable as gifts and list your top gift ideas high on your start page. In addition to the perennial favorites such as cosmetics, books, concert and cultural tickets as well as jewelery and toys, it also makes sense to look for the latest trend articles in the Christmas business – for example on Google Trends. Give a better overview of extra riders such as „Our gift ideas“ or „Gifts for him / her / children, etc.“ – so make it easier for your customers browsing the shop. Another help are product bundles in which you can pre-select matching products – perhaps in combination with a small discount.
8. Create a Christmas web mood
In the Christmas season, an advantage of the stationary trade compared to e-commerce is particularly clear: The beautiful atmosphere of the festively decorated inner cities is for 56% of Germans reason to prefer the local retail the online store. So create a Christmas mood in your webshop. Optical stimuli are even more important at Christmas time than the rest of the year. With festive banners, Christmas themes or a countdown to Christmas Eve, your Christmas shop will also have a Christmas feeling. Pay attention to an original and not too overloaded web design that harmonizes with your regular shop layout. Less is definitely more!
9. Optimize your shipping and return conditions
The biggest concern when buying a gift: what if the recipient does not like it? For customers who are unsure about the gift selection, it therefore makes sense to make the return terms more accommodating at Christmas time. An extended return period will convince undecided customers. Especially important are the delivery times of the goods. Be sure to enter realistic times and include the increased order volume. A Christmas gift that arrives too late, the probability of a new purchase in the online store drops rapidly.
Tip: show prominently on your product pages when your customers would have to order at the latest, so that all presents arrive on time on 24.12. This relieves your customer service through fewer customer queries and prevents unpleasant surprises.
10. Last Minute Gift: The Coupon
The classic gift voucher was again the most popular gift for Christmas in 2017.  So, if you do not yet offer coupons for your shop, the holiday season is the perfect time to start. Despite the general popularity of the voucher, many customers feel that vouchers are an impersonal and unreal gift. Therefore invest a lot of creativity and effort into a festive and attractive design of your voucher so that your customers will gladly give it away. It is also best to make a voucher version available for printing and advertise it again explicitly in the last days before Christmas Eve. Incidentally, 61% of Germans do not redeem their vouchers until the new year.  So plan a higher order volume after the turn of the year, if you have sold many vouchers.
11. Say thank you!
Christmas time is the perfect time to say thank you. Whether long-term suppliers, regular customers or employees – thank you for loyalty and good cooperation with a small gift or Christmas greeting from your partners. It is not about a very expensive gift, but an individual and honest appreciation. An original, authentic Christmas thank you leaves a good feeling and strengthens the bond of customer and business relationships.
The shopping marathon for Christmas presents starts in November. So it’s about time to make all the arrangements to benefit from the booming online gift shop with your own webshop. We hope our tips will give you helpful suggestions for your Christmas marketing and help to equip your online store perfectly for the Christmas season. We wish you a successful Christmas business already!