The exponential rise in online sales since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has been well documented. With such a substantial increase in online shoppers and Christmas just around the corner, eCommerce retailers are desperately looking for ways to stand out from the bustling crowd.

Updating your offering to represent the festive season is a great place to start. In this article, we take a look at some of the key steps you can take to ensure your brand is top of the wish list this Christmas.

Conduct a Christmas-inspired inventory check

While your inventory may largely consist of products or services that you sell all year round, many of these items could constitute the perfect Christmas gift. Here are some tips on how to scour your inventory for stock that will seamlessly transition to your online gift guide:

  • Examine your inventory and select what can be classed as a stereotypical ‘gift buy’. A gift tends to be something that you wouldn’t necessarily buy for yourself, such as a piece of jewellery, a luxury bath set, an expensive candle or a favourite fragrance
  • Then, looking at your inventory with fresh eyes, create separate categories that veer away from what a traditional gift might look like
  • A product that can be personalised is set to be a big hit for Christmas 2021, with the personalised gift item market currently valued at $31.63 billion. Customisation is important to shoppers who may have spent lengthy spells away from family and friends over the course of the pandemic so far. Find your products with the potential for personalisation and place them front and centre
  • Hobby gifts can be anything to do with a particular hobby or passion enjoyed by a loved one. It could be a book about fashion designers that changed the industry or a set of paints for the avid artist in your life. If you have a range of products that can be associated with a hobby, use this to your advantage
  • Popular gifts are the items that have performed well among your customer base, such as best-sellers and top-reviewed products. This category may suit the shopper in search of inspiration, as they might feel more secure opting for a gift that other shoppers have already rated highly
  • Your ‘alternative gifts’ category gives you an opportunity to upsell items that may not typically be associated with Christmas, such as a particular experience or a trending product. Look closely at your stock or services and cherry-pick those you believe would make a successful alternative or unique buy. Many people are scrambling for ideas at this time of year, especially for the person who has everything, so your outside-the-box suggestions may be just what they are looking for.

Give your online store a festive makeover

Once you have your inventory in check, it’s time to give your eCommerce site and social media platforms a Christmassy makeover. Although this undoubtedly takes a little work, it is an integral strategy that reassures your customers they are in the right place for all their festive needs.

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There are a number of effective steps you can take to achieve this:

  • Firstly, it’s important to ‘decorate’ your website in the same way you would a physical store. This process instils a sense of holiday cheer in shoppers and entices them to stick around. The easiest way to do this is by adding a Christmas-themed background image to your homepage. You could also amend your logo to create a festive feel. Remember that whatever stylistic changes you make to your website should also be applied to your social media channels to ensure consistency across platforms. Updating product photography to include festive background and styling will also give your brand an added Christmassy boost.
  • Grabbing a potential customer’s attention from the get-go is crucial to promoting increased conversions. This can be achieved by showcasing your most popular items and Christmas offers on your homepage. You could also save space here for discount codes that may entice bargain hunters. Similarly, the 68% of consumers that expect free shipping on every purchase will undoubtedly be interested to learn straight off the bat that you offer this, so if this applies to you, be sure to highlight it on your eCommerce shop front.
  • Offering product bundles over the festive period is a great way to upsell, cross-sell, and highlight products that may otherwise not get a lot of traction. Product bundling can generally be showcased in two ways: Pure bundles, which involves a specific item and the various accessories that are designed to accompany it; and mixed bundles, which can include a range of different products that have something in common, for example, an eyeshadow palette with relevant make-up brushes. These bundles may be available at a discounted price, or you could also opt for ‘price bundling’, which is the process of selling multiple products with an exclusive offer, such as ‘buy one get one free’ or 3 for 2.
  • Packing all your orders over the holidays in festive wrapping and packaging enables you to make an impact with your brand. A shrewd move, considering this is the only element of your offering to reach 100% of your customers. Furthermore, businesses that place emphasis on their packaging have reported seeing a 30% increase in consumer interest, meaning the fruits of your Christmas labour could extend well into the new year.

Up your festive digital marketing game

After putting so much work into customising your output for the Christmas season, it is essential to fully reap the benefits of this extra effort through results-driven digital marketing. The festive period is a crucial time to up your game in this area, with consumers highly active across all touchpoints as they trawl the virtual shelves in search of the perfect gift.

Activating an engaging social media campaign that is relevant to your brand is a great way to stay in the psyche of the customer in the lead up to Christmas. Ideas for this could include product advent calendars (with one product a day being revealed across your platforms until Christmas), ’12 Looks of Christmas’ campaigns for fashion and beauty stores, ‘Christmas Crackers’ that showcase your most popular or bestselling items, and perhaps a festive-themed customer competition.

Staying in touch with shoppers via email is also hugely important at this time of year, with 68% of shoppers admitting to paying more attention to email marketing over the festive season.

Deliver a high-quality end-to-end service this Christmas

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Creating an unforgettable Christmas shopping experience for your customers takes time and effort, and it would be a shame to let your brand down at the final hurdle. Ensuring prompt delivery times and excellent service from screen to doorstep will make your brand memorable and encourage repeat custom well after the festive period.

Outsourcing your order fulfilment to ParcelPlanet will help you to achieve just this. Providing customers with outsourced warehousing facilities; product fulfilment; stock management; quality control; pick, pack and kitting facilities; global delivery services and returns management; ParcelPlanet offers an end-to-end service that will support you in boosting your sales and blasting the competition.

Get in touch today to find out how ParcelPlanet can help you to achieve excellent results this Christmas and beyond.