Is your website ready for Christmas?

Don’t worry, we haven’t lost our marbles. We know it’s August. But have you considered that Christmas is a mere 4 months away?

In December 2011, UK consumers spent a whopping £8bn online (Source: Capgemini) and if you want to ensure you get your slice of this sizable spending pie then now is the time to be thinking about Christmas 2012.

Here's our guide for getting the most out of your website this Christmas.

Search Engine Optimisation?

   

The most effective search engine optimisation (SEO) campaigns are those which have had the time to build up traction in the eyes of Google and the like. Maximise your SEO results by reviewing and streamlining your keywords now, to ensure you are ahead of your competitors.

 

Emails?

   

Any sensible marketer will up the ante on their email campaigns as the festive season approaches. Before mayhem ensues, review how last year’s emails performed. Ask yourself; which campaign generated the most sales?, which subject lines gave you the best open rates?, which offers attracted the most clicks? and so on. Then use your findings to plan and write 2012’s Christmas emails.

 

Stock Levels?

   

The last thing any retailer wants is to run out of stock just as Christmas sales start to pick up. Take the time now to review 2011’s stock reports and highlight any items that are ‘at risk’ of depleting in the next few months. Bear in mind that your stock room might be looking healthy now, but if you need to restock, how quickly can your suppliers turn an order round?

 

Products?

   

Saving up a Christmas themed product for a grand reveal in November isn’t going to do you as many favours at you might think. By populating your site with Christmas goodies now, each item can build up its own ranking and by the time your shoppers are browsing the web, you’ll be top of the pile.

 

Closed for Christmas?

   

Your office might be closed for business over the holidays, but your website and customers may not be. And in the haze and madness of Christmas, a reminder mid-December is likely to get forgotten so start thinking about communicating your opening and closing times now. It doesn’t have to be formal, drop it into conversation at your next meeting or add it to your email footer. Simple!

 

Snow?

   

Remember when the UK ground to a halt last year due to “unexpected snow”? Expect the unexpected as they say, because the same weather may rear its head this December. Start implementing systems and procedures for adverse weather conditions. Discuss contingency plans with your couriers, set up and test your colleagues capabilities to work from home, and implement a customer services plan to keep your customers informed should we encounter a snowfall.

 

Delivery?

   

Have you planned when your last order dates are? And what’s the latest you can guarantee Christmas delivery to your customers? If your customer is used to receiving their order within 1-2 days, then a 3-4 wait over Christmas will catch them by surprise. Make sure your delivery time frames are clearly communicated on product pages, order confirmation emails, and on your delivery information page.

 

Examples from Christmas 2011

   

Get it wrong? Mothercare were forced to stop accepting orders online long before their published last order date. They were struggling to fulfil existing orders, blaming the weather, creating a backlash from unhappy and snowed in customers.

Get it right? John Lewis were clearly prepared, as during December’s unexpected snowfall, online sales were up 42%, as shoppers chose to do their Christmas shopping from home.