You have probably just got over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but with Boxing Day and January Sales just around the corner, there is no time to put your feet up just yet.
Boxing Day 2013 set a record of 129 million visits to online stores, a 15% increase on the previous year, equating to 1 in every 6 online visits being to a retail website. Despite flailing offline sales figures in January, the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index  calculated an 18% growth in online sales during this period compared to the previous year. With sales expected to be even higher this year, here’s Lengow’s advice on how you can capitalise on this profitable period.
Communication is key
Etailers have a duty to keep consumers informed of upcoming sales, promotional codes, time restricted offers, etc. So hit the social networks and create appealing newsletters to push your messages out. Keep your communication constant throughout the period to revive traffic on your site if it starts dipping.
Review stock inventory
Don’t get blacklisted by marketplaces during this crucial period because you’re advertising out of stock products!
The right choice of products to promote
Analyse the data and performance from the last festive period to determine the products that trigger more buying and which will increase the average basket. The products that produced a lot of customer reviews (positive) are also a purchase trigger.
Planning and configuring your product catalogue
Programming your product feeds in advance for promotions (free shipping, sale price and crossed out original price), means you’re less likely to be caught short on D-Day. At 8am online shoppers are already hard at work and this is not the time to be making final adjustments. The editorial content of the product pages must also be optimised in advance for different price comparison engines and marketplaces; and prices updated to the promotional prices.
Facilitate site navigation
The visitor must be able to clearly identify the products on sale: graphical design, bright colours… the consumer should feel that they will find good deals on the site. Right from the home page you can display a selection of your best deals. It might be a good idea to add a “sales” tab to the menu and to create specific sales segments (eg “Kids sales”, “All items -50 %” …). Finally, make sure your product pages display the sale price as well as the original price, so customers are aware of the bargain they’re getting!
Be prepared for the increase in traffic on your site
In ecommerce, revenue is correlated with page loading time. For example, Amazon calculated that a page lag of one second could cause it to lose $1.6 billion per year. Optimising images is one way of reducing load time. The first day of sales tends to be the busiest and traffic tends to decrease thereafter.
Reassure buyers by maintaining the same quality of service as the rest of the year, even during the rush. Consider the revision of the displayed delivery times in order to avoid potential disappointment.
And finally… Don’t forget about the new VAT regulations coming into action as of 1st January 2015! Find out more, and about the Mini One-Stop-Shop Scheme here!