It's never too early for the C-word

Is your business and eCommerce website ready for the festive season?

We all know someone who won’t tolerate a mention of the c-word until late November. But business owners know better. It’s never too early to start talking about Christmas (there, we said it).

Way back in 2011, shoppers waited until the 1st December to start their Christmas spending; fast forward to the present and statistics show that more than half of all Christmas spending happens in November. This is boosted by November’s annual Black Friday event which was the biggest UK shopping day of 2018. This year it’s on the 29th November 2019, followed by Cyber Monday just three days later on the 2nd December. This means retailers and eCommerce businesses need to prepare for the sales surge long before November.

Maximising your potential festive sales can be a big deal for your business. According to statista.com, UK Christmas spending has grown over the years from 7 billion in 2011, to 25 billion in 2016, with online shopping now accounting for the largest proportion of spending. Having taken this into account, what can you do to prepare to reap the rewards for the festive season in 2019?

Do you have a strategy?

It is particularly vital to have a sales and marketing strategy in place for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The best way to start is to ask yourselves the relevant questions and investigate amongst your colleagues. How will you stand out? What are your competitors likely to do? What products do you need the most of? What are your projected sales figures? What marketing techniques have worked in the past? And is it worth trying something new, like pay per click ads or social media campaigns?

Do the research for your particular market, base your strategy on past evidence and plan campaigns well in advance. You might consider hiring a social media guru or a digital agency. Again, research and look for recommendations. 

Are you offering something special?

What could you offer at Christmas that you don’t normally offer? Hampers and gift sets containing collations of your best products, personalisation and gift wrapping are all popular at Christmas. Make sure you plan in plenty of time so you can produce these new conceptions, deliver what you have promised and have photographs displayed and dazzling on your e-shop. Bear in mind that gift wrapping without the use of a dedicated order fulfilment team can be incredibly time-consuming.

You will need to get technical

Customers expect your website to be transformed, much like a store window. Invest time in some new designs to make your website glitter (perhaps literally). It’s also worth thinking about adding widgets such as count down timers (to show the time left in a sale or the deadline to get deliveries out in time for the big day), sales banners or pop up messages to highlight special gift packages your customers won’t want to miss. 

Don’t forget website accessibility on phones. Orders from mobiles account for nearly 50% of all eCommerce spending. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and test out any new pages you create ahead of Christmas. 

Being in-demand is amazing, but make sure your website can handle extra orders; the last thing you want is your website to crash at a key time. If you’re unsure of how to prepare for this, consider hiring a technical web expert to ensure you’re ready for the worst-case scenario. 

Deliver on your promises and guarantees

One of the reasons some shoppers don’t go online for their Christmas shopping is that they fear their goods won’t arrive in time. It is vital that you get those all-important orders out and keep your promises regarding those guaranteed delivery times. It can be difficult to adjust for a big surge in sales, therefore you could consider getting extra staff in, but must account for potential sickness, the availability of good people and training time; walk in the park, hey?

Make sure you invest in your business

The best way to handle deliveries, big or small, is to use a third-party fulfilment house that you can rely on, just like JEM Marketing & Fulfilment Services. We are set up to store large amounts of products in our warehouse facility in Surrey and therefore handle the extra sales. We offer pick & pack services, customer care and much more. Order fulfilment is specifically what we’re here to do, so we can do it smoothly, leaving you to concentrate on your products and service. We can include handwritten notes with each order, gift wrap products and keep your customers happy with timely deliveries all year round. Whether it’s a Christmas surge, special offer flood or summer holiday rush, JEM have the skills and expertise.

If you’re considering using a new order fulfilment house this festive season, give us a call on the number below and speak to our team about how we can deliver a Merry Christmas to you and your customers.

Get in touch with JEM on 01483 204444.