The Christmas shopping frenzy is once again in full swing for another year. And while queues at our brick-and-mortar shops are noticeably shorter than they were two years ago, ecommerce stores are filling up with customers at an alarming rate.

With online sales for 2021 expected to show an increase of 45.8 percent on figures from just two years ago, it’s high time to start treating your website as you would your shopfront. That is, displaying your most attractive products front and centre, giving your store a festive makeover, and ensuring you pull out all the stops to get customers through the door in their droves.

The exact same principles apply when sprucing up your website ahead of the Christmas season. To attract customers and stand out from the crowd in what is currently an extremely competitive market, you must optimise your offering in a number of ways.

Update your content ahead of the Christmas rush

First and foremost, ensuring your website content is SEO-friendly will help you to get ranked in prime position – which is where you want to be.

When reviewing your content for SEO purposes, it is also good practice to amend product descriptions, where relevant, to suit the festive season. Highlighting certain products as gift ideas or perfect stocking fillers will give them an attractive edge during the busiest shopping period of the year.

On that note, it is also a wise move to categorise your products into various gift tabs: for him, for her, for the mums, for the beauty queens, and so on. You could take this one step further by creating a 2021 Christmas Gift Guide for your blog section and hosting a link to this on your homepage, filling your site with your top sellers or highly reviewed products.

These practices create a user-friendly experience for shoppers – particularly the last-minute variety – in search of the perfect gift for a loved one.

In terms of content placement, having your star items in clear view on your homepage will hold customers’ attention for longer. The same can be said for ‘buy one get one free’ offers and time-sensitive discount codes, which should also hold a place of prominence on your main landing page.

The lure of such deals and added value for money will encourage shoppers to keep clicking, and hopefully as a result, increase your conversion rate.

Another vital piece of information that should be easily accessible to the customer is your shipping, delivery and returns info. Whether you decide to be blatant about your terms and conditions by displaying cut-off dates or estimated shipping times on your website banner, or you include these important details within your product pages, you give your customers peace of mind by being transparent about this.

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Scan your inventory for alternative gift ideas

It’s important to understand that any product can now be classed as a potential gift; a theory that has been largely influenced by the pandemic. With meaningful gifts now a priority for 56 percent of people, the floor is wide open for a vast array of products and services to take centre stage.

Whether it’s a book that delves into mindfulness techniques for the frazzled working-from-home mum, a fishing rod for the brother who has become newly acquainted with the outdoors, or a personalised cocktail shaker for the socialite-turned-homebody, it’s important to realise that the global crisis has encouraged people to think outside the box and purchase more thoughtful gifts.

On the flip side, the pandemic has encouraged consumers to focus on the practical, with an intention to ensure the gift recipient gets something they really need, as opposed to want. This might explain why the search term “gift card online” has experienced a global, year over year growth of over 100 percent.

For those that have sourced the perfect gift on your website, only to find that it is well outside their budget, offering a ‘buy now pay later’ incentive – and being transparent about it from the outset – may convert these browsers into customers.

Optimise, optimise, optimise!

The festive season is a peak time of year for spending. From purchasing flights to visiting loved ones, to buying a new wardrobe to facilitate the many Christmas nights out, it is undoubtedly an expensive period.

And while splashing the cash on flights and socialising is off the cards for many people across the globe for the second year running, it seems this shortfall will be replaced by overspending in other areas.

With a survey highlighting that one-third of shoppers intend to spend more on Christmas gifts this year in comparison to 2020, ecommerce retailers need to ensure that their offering is in its best ever shape.

Optimisation is the key to achieving this. When it comes to website optimisation, it is integral to create a user-friendly experience for those navigating your online store on mobile. This platform is now a huge driver of ecommerce sales, responsible for the majority share of online shopping over the 2020 holiday period in the US alone.

Ensuring your marketing and communications efforts are optimised with festive flare is also an advisable approach when attempting to reel in the customers. Discount text codes for pre-Christmas sales, emails that highlight your trending Christmas gift offering, and Christmas-themed abandoned cart reminders can all be sent to give shoppers a friendly nudge towards your virtual checkout.

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Prepare for all eventualities

If optimisation is king, preparation is queen!

Avoid being caught out with surplus stock or running out of your best sellers by correctly estimating your inventory needs. Looking back on stock performance over previous years will help with this, as will keeping an eye on emerging trends for 2021, which will enable you to invest in this year’s most likely bestsellers.

One way to improve your performance in terms of stock control is by outsourcing your order fulfilment to ParcelPlanet. Aside from providing you with real-time access to your stock levels through their automated system, ParcelPlanet deliver an end-to-end order fulfilment solution, incorporating storage, picking and packing, shipping and delivery.

To find out how we can help you grow your online sales this Christmas by delivering an unbeatable service to you and your customers, get in touch today.