5 ways e-commerce sites can avoid missing out on $7 billion Christmas windfall
Christmas truly can be the most wonderful time of the year for online retailers with Australians expected to splash out $7 billion on gifts.
Research by Adobe predicted that the run-up to Christmas would account for up to 18 per cent of total e-commerce spending for 2015.
The biggest single day is expected to be December 15th when Aussies will spend $136 million in a single day. That’s a spike of 135 per cent on a typical 24 hours of virtual shopping cart action.
Australia Post said it expects online shopping to generate 1.3 million parcels per day as almost 90 per cent of Aussies do at least some of their Christmas shopping online.
But not all online retailers will be able to take advantage of this festive splurge. Some sites won’t be properly prepared for the biggest game of the year and will miss out on their share of the potential windfall.
If you’re in the e-commerce business, here are five ways you can make sure that your site isn’t one of them:
1) Make mobile, mobile and mobile your top three priorities
The Adobe survey revealed that mobile devices will play a bigger role in Christmas shopping this year than ever before. Almost half (43 per cent) of all browsing activity – the crucial research phase before making a purchase – will take place on a smartphone or tablet. Furthermore, purchases on mobile devices will account for $1 in every $5 spent.
If your site isn’t optimised for mobile then it won’t be in the mix either when people are deciding what to buy or when they’re ready to part with their hard-earned dollars. In fact, following Google’s mobile friendly algorithm update earlier this year, they probably won’t even find your site in the first place.
2) Your customers are in a rush, so don’t slow them down
One of the biggest drags on conversion rates not just for e-commerce but for any site is the hassle factor. If your check-out process, lead gen form or newsletter sign-up is slow, complex or hard to find on your site then it will hit your conversion hard.
Ahead of the Christmas shopping period you should give your site a ‘difficulty audit’ and look for ways to make your conversions quicker, smoother and easier for increasingly demanding consumers. Respondents to the Adobe survey said speed was super important to them. A quarter (25 per cent) expect to spend less time doing their online shopping this year, so if your site slows them down you might lose them to a competitor.
3) Resist the urge to make up positive reviews about yourself
Reviews are becoming more and more important for building your online reputation, convincing people to buy and getting your site found in search. Adobe’s research revealed that customer reviews were among the top two drivers for making a purchase for over one third (36 per cent) of respondents.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that some website owners and even some marketers are tempted to try to manipulate feedback on their products and brands. But under-hand tactics such as creating fake reviews are best avoided because if you get caught the consequences could be fatal. You might have broken the law and even if you didn’t the damage to your reputation might be irrecoverable.
Furthermore, your chances of getting caught might be about to increase. Researchers at Deakin University in Geelong are currently working on new software designed to better detect bogus online reviews.
4) Invest in some really strong secondary conversions
Ideally every visitor to your e-commerce site would buy something, but unfortunately life just isn’t that easy. And while a purchase would always be your primary conversion goal, it’s really important not to neglect secondary conversion opportunities.
If a visitor isn’t quite ready to buy they can still have a really valuable interaction with your business if they download a product guide, sign up to one of your email campaigns or even start following you on social media. These secondary conversions dramatically increase your chances of getting a sale in the future.
A recent study commissioned by SheShops, an online marketplace for fashion brands, found that Australian consumers will research Christmas gifts and return to their chosen site on average 4.2 days later to make a purchase. Strong secondary conversions are absolutely essential if you want that site to be yours.
5) Build and implement a really great content strategy
Creating quality content, in line with a clever content strategy that fits for your budget and your business objectives is one of the best ways to ensure your e-commerce site is well-positioned for the Christmas stampede.
Content marketing is not just about winning more traffic or having an interesting blog – it’s about making sales. If you get your content creation and promotion right, you can not only attract more people, but more of the right people, through your virtual front door.
The Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing In Australia 2016 revealed that improving lead quality was one of the top drivers for brands investing in content marketing. That’s one of the reasons why up to 30 per cent of total marketing spend is going to content marketing next year.