Black Friday and Christmas is nearly here, meaning your online store is about to become very busy! Ensure that your website and marketing efforts are up to scratch this festive season with our Christmas E-commerce Checklist:
Web Hosting Checklist
A secure SSL Certificate shows visitors that you’re trustworthy and encrypts data to keep it safe. If you don’t have one, you can obtain one via your web host.
Your bandwidth dictates how much data can be transferred between the hosting server and any site visitors, so it’s vital that you have enough bandwidth available for the increased amount of site traffic at this busy time of year (unlimited bandwidth is best).
The memory (RAM) on your hosting server runs your website’s scripts and processes every time someone accesses the website. It’s vital that you have plenty of memory left to prevent your website loading slowly or not at all. More memory allows more people to browse the website simultaneously without affecting performance.
Your web hosting plan will come with a set amount of available storage (eg. 10GB) for all of your website’s files, scripts and databases. If you’re nearing your storage limits, it might be a good idea to upgrade your plan before the Christmas season.
Most websites will experience downtime (where the website won’t load due to an error or server maintenance) at some point, it’s inevitable. But it’s not something you want to experience regularly. Many web hosting providers have a 99.9% uptime guarantee for reassurance, so if your website experiences problems regularly, it’s a good idea to move to a more reliable host.
When you enable caching, your website loads at lightning speed. This provides a better experience for the customer, making them more likely to make a purchase. Many web hosts have caching (such as LiteSpeed Cache) included in their plans.
Nobody likes a slow website. Not only is it off-putting to customers, but a slow website is also penalised by Google for not being user-friendly. You can speed your website up by enabling caching and optimising your images and scripts.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
In order for new customers to find your website, it needs to be well optimised so that search engines such as Google and Bing can index it. Search for words and phrases related to your business (eg. cornish gifts) and see if your website comes up. If it doesn’t, your SEO needs to be improved. We offer extensive SEO services if you need help with this.
Christmas Delivery Deadlines
Make sure customers are aware of the cut-off points for delivery in time for Christmas so they can shop with the reassurance that their purchases will arrive in time.
Returns & Refunds
As many of the online orders made at this time of year will be bought as gifts, your customers will be keen to see that you have a returns and refunds policy in case the item doesn’t fit or isn’t to the recipient’s taste.
To show customers that they’re in the right place when looking for a Christmas gift, update your content with festive imagery and Christmas-themed text. Here’s how Firebox have updated their website ready for the season:
Make it easy for customers to find the gift they’re looking for with handy gift guides. Section your products into relevant categories, for example: Gifts Under £10, Gifts under £30, Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, Secret Santa Gifts. You could even create a quiz which finds the ideal gift based on the recipient’s age and tastes, like this one by Firebox.
Enabling customer reviews on your products is invaluable. It shows customers that you are honest, trustworthy, and reliable, giving them peace of mind when they shop with you.
Gift Cards & Vouchers
Gift cards/vouchers make the ideal gift when you just aren’t sure what to get. Take the hassle out of buying gifts and allow your customers to purchase gift cards or vouchers for use on your website. Need gift vouchers designed? We can design stunning gift vouchers from just £35!
A sale is a great way to entice customers to shop with you, and people tend to wait for Christmas or Black Friday sales before making a purchase. Launch sales and discounts in the run up to Christmas to encourage potential customers to make a purchase.
A mailing list (email newsletter) is one of the best ways to market your business, encourage repeat sales, and transform potential customers into paying ones. Free services such as Mailchimp allow you to gather newsletter subscribers via your website, so that you can send targeted marketing emails to them. Find out more about Mailchimp here.
If you use Google Ads to advertise your online shop, consider updating your keywords and phrases for the festive season. As potential customers change their searches to include Christmas-themed phrases such as ‘christmas’ and ‘gifts’, you should change your Google Ads campaigns to reflect this. Need help with Google Ads? We can manage it for you from just £15/month.
Now is the time to really focus on your social media channels and start telling the world about what you have to offer. Promote your products and sales, interact with customers, and spread some christmas cheer. Focus on creating engaging, festive posts that will appeal to your target audience and drive sales. Need help managing your social media? Our social media management plans start at just £30/month.
What will you be doing this festive season to drive sales? Let us know in the comments!