Christmas and Black Friday 2020: The checklist for your online shop

by Kristof Maletzke, 23.09.20

Every year, online retailers look forward to the Christmas business, as these last months of the year are the most successful ones for many merchants. Our checklist will help you to prepare your shop for the coming weeks in the best possible way to maximise your sales.

The right planning

Your activities in the pre-Christmas period should be well planned. Stock levels are especially important. Nothing is more annoying than losing sales because products are sold out and you cannot obtain supplies. You should also make sure that there are no staff shortages in the run-up to Christmas and, in the worst case, that you are no longer able to keep up with sending packages.

When planning your schedule, do not forget Black Friday (27 November 2020) and Cyber Monday (30 November 2020). Many customers wait for these days to score great deals when buying Christmas presents online.

Find suitable products

A basic question to ask yourself is: What kind of products would you like to focus on during the Christmas season? Traditionally, the main kind of items for this are gifts. Think about which of your products are particularly suitable as gifts. In addition, seasonal goods such as Christmas tree decorations, wrapping paper and gingerbread are also popular during Christmas time. But even if you do not sell typical gifts or seasonal products, the weeks leading up to Christmas can be particularly successful for you. After all, the buying mood generally increases, and many customers treat themselves to something nice during this time.

Look back at the last few years. Which products did well during the Christmas season and brought you the most sales? What did not work out as well as expected? You can learn from these experiences and offer your customers exactly what they want.

Sell remaining stock

Online retailers often have products that they would particularly like to sell. These include, for example, remaining stock or products that are less popular with customers. During the Christmas season, it is often possible to sell such goods – especially if there is a price reduction.

An own category for Christmas

Consider adding a new category to your shop, such as “Gift ideas”, in which you list all matching products. This makes it easier for your customers to find gifts. You can also use this category page for your advertising campaigns and link directly to it. Depending on the shop, it may make sense to create several of such categories – for example “Gifts for men” and “Gifts for women”.

With the image slider you can show your customers at first glance where they can find gift ideas

Design of the shop

In the editor of your shop, you will find a wide range of design options. Especially the image slider is helpful in pointing your visitors toward your Christmas promotions on the start page or other subpages of your shop. You can also display texts and buttons on the images and thus guide users to your Christmas category.

It is also possible to display your unique selling points (USPs) in the header of your shop, such as “Free shipping”. Think about which aspects could be particularly important for customers in the pre-Christmas period and then present these in the header. Examples could be “60 days right of withdrawal”, “Guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve” or “10% Christmas discount on all products”.

Changing prices

Of course, you can leave the prices of your shop’s products unchanged during the Christmas season. But customers are used to finding bargains during this time. Especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is typical for many online shops to present the most spectacular special offers.

If you reduce prices, be sure to enter the previous price as “original price” in the administration area. Then your customers will see at first glance that they are saving money when buying the product.

By choosing the right delivery methods you offer your customers convenience

Delivery methods and options

Find out until which date you can guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve. Then you should prominently advertise this information in your shop, for example in the USPs in the header or in the image slider on the start page. You can offer your customers more detailed information on the page about delivery that is linked in the footer.

Free shipping is also very popular among customers – either for all orders or when a certain exemption limit is reached. In the latter case, you can define, for example, that no shipping costs incur for any orders with a basket value of more than 50 euros.

Extended right of withdrawal

The option of withdrawal is of concern to many potential buyers. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that a gift is not as well received as initially hoped for. To put your customers at ease, you can grant extended return periods that go beyond the legally stipulated limits. A simple solution is, for example, that all products bought in December can be returned until 31 January.

Increase confidence in the shop

If a customer has never bought something in your shop before, he may be worried that he will not receive the ordered products on time and will end up empty-handed on Christmas Eve. Therefore, your shop should give a trustworthy impression. Trust seals such as the one from Trusted Shops can help with this. You can also use your “About us” page to grant a look behind the scenes of your shop to show that you are not a fraudster. You can also offer simple ways for consumers to contact you by, for example, providing your telephone number for customer enquiries.

The virtual Advent calendar

A virtual Advent calendar is particularly attractive for customers. This involves a lot of work for you, but it can quickly pay off. Present one or more reduced products on the homepage of your shop every day. This creates excitement among your customers and, in the best-case scenario, they will come to your shop every day before Christmas to see the latest offers. Remember to make the Advent calendar known on your social media pages as well.

Countdown to Christmas

With the app Countdown Timer you can add a countdown to your shop, which counts the days until Christmas. Alternatively, you can also use the timer to show how much time customers have left to place their orders in time.

You can also create leaflets to promote your Christmas campaigns

Distribute coupon codes

With the ePages shop software, you can easily create coupon codes which you can then distribute to your customers. The customers then either save a pre-determined amount (e.g. 5 Euros), receive a percentage discount or do not have to pay any delivery costs. Promote coupon codes on Facebook, for example, or via the image slider on the homepage of your shop.

You can define 23 December as the end date for the validity of the coupons to make sure that they can only be used before Christmas. A little trick: Create separate coupon codes for each of your advertising channels – e.g. “Facebook2020” or “Instagram2020”. This way you can then see exactly which codes were used the most and which of your campaigns were the most successful ones. In the ePages shop software, coupons can also be limited to certain products.

Send out newsletters

Do you already have a list of customers to whom you can make exciting Christmas offers? If not, you should start collecting newsletter subscribers as soon as possible. With apps like Sendinblue, you can regularly send out mails to inform your customers about your Christmas activities.

Adapt search engine marketing

Many online merchants miss the opportunity to customise their Google ads for the holiday season. Therefore, you can gain a great competitive advantage with this. With Google Ads you can define exactly for which search terms customers should see your ads. Consider including keywords like “gift” or “Black Friday” in addition to your usual keywords. You can also mention in your ads, for example, that orders are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve.

To find the right keywords, try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What does someone enter on Google search who wants to buy one of your shop’s products as a gift?

Also, optimise your shop for organic Google searches by using the appropriate keywords in the texts and category names of your shop.

Cross-selling for more sales

The cross-selling function of your shop can help you to persuade your customers to buy more products. For example, if you are selling tennis rackets, you can offer the matching balls, which are then displayed on the product page of the racket.

Using the App Store

In the App Store of your shop you will find many practical apps for a wide range of use cases. For example, you can optimise your shipping with Sendcloud, integrate a chat function in your shop with Smartsupp or send push messages to your customers with CleverPush. So it might be worthwhile for you to visit the App Store again and see if there are any useful apps for your Christmas business.

What you should not forget after Christmas

On 27 December you will hopefully look back on a successful Christmas season and high sales. Before you can relax and enjoy the days between the years, you should remove all the Christmas elements from your shop. This includes for example content in the image slider or Christmas categories. Also remember to edit the prices that you have changed before.

About the author

was Communications Manager at ePages.

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