Simple tips and tricks to boost your conversion rate this Christmas

Phoebe Dormand
Graduate Intern

Simple tips and tricks to boost your conversion rate this Christmas

Despite falling on the same day every single year, Christmas has a habit of sneaking up on us. The super-organised among us finish their Christmas shopping by the end of November. These forward-thinking individuals will browse the Black Friday sales for the best bargains. And more often than not, they will have everything gift wrapped to perfection by 21st December. Yet not everyone is quite so organised. Trawling the internet for the perfect gift right up until Christmas Eve is far more common than you might think.

Whichever category shoppers fall into, their motivation to buy at Christmastime will be different to the rest of the year. More often than not, retailers rely on the same sales and conversion tactics that they have used throughout the rest of the year. By doing so, their conversion rates will take a hit. Depending on the type of visitor (last minute vs. organised), certain tactics will appeal more. But by keeping an eye on these trends, you will be one step ahead of the game.

The Organised Shopper

These visitors are the first ones to be browsing your website, and are usually on the lookout for the cheapest price or biggest discount on offer. With plenty of time to spare, they will not be afraid to shop around or use price comparison websites. Here are some of the tactics that you can put in place to make sure that they shop with you:

  • Showcase your best offers: Display products with large discounts or gift sets at a reduced price front and centre on your homepage. If they are hidden away on your website somewhere then it is unlikely that they will get much attention. Another way of promoting these offers is to display them in marketing emails that are sent out to subscribers or previous customers.
  • Make discounts and deals limited: Scarcity can be a powerful motivator. Try using a discount that is only available for the next 24 hours. With this, a visitor is more likely to buy then and there rather than checking out a competitor's website. Limited time coupons or one-day free shipping promotions are also highly effective.
  • Make your return policies clear: At Christmas, shoppers will want to know how long they have to make a return. It is important to clearly state which items can be returned and to include any information about gift receipts. Don’t hide the return cutoff date somewhere in the depths of your website - show it on every item page.
  • Only show items that are in stock: Hide items that are out of stock, or at least move them to the bottom of the page. This way there is less potential for visitors to be disappointed when they try to add them to their cart. Adding an “email when back in stock” option is also a good idea, as it reminds them to return to your website in the future.
  • Virtual advent calendars can be fun: A virtual advent calendar is a great way of converting your visitors into paying customers. Simply choose a different item to discount every day in December up until Christmas Eve, and only run the discount for that day. This is also an ideal method for getting customers to return and buy more items on another day.

The Last-Minute Shopper

Last-minute visitors are often stressed and on a deadline. They will be on the lookout for quick delivery and an easy to navigate website. With Christmas approaching fast, they are less likely to be comparing your prices against other online shops. Discounts and sales are therefore less important the closer it gets to the "big day". Here are some of tactics that you can implement to make sure that they choose to shop with you:

  • Make sure gift cards are easy to access: Gift cards are a popular choice when it becomes too late to have items delivered in person. Don't have your gift card option hidden somewhere hard to access - it needs to be somewhere obvious to all visitors such as in a banner or popup. It is also smart to highlight this option in the few days leading up to Christmas day. Around this time is when the large majority of people will be choosing gift cards as an option.
  • Offer delivery estimates: Last-minute shoppers will want to make sure that their order arrives in time for Christmas Day. Displaying the last possible date to order for guaranteed Christmas delivery reassures buyers. It is also helpful to offer various delivery options that include the option to pay a little more for faster shipping. Customers are far more likely to choose a faster shipping option the nearer it gets to the big day.
  • Optimise your checkout process: The checkout process should be quick and easy. Limit any potential distractions and ask for minimal personal details. Having the option to check out as a guest is helpful as it saves visitors having to set up a whole account. We have a helpful blog post here on the eight things that customers want to see on your basket page.
  • Create a gift buying guide: Last-minute shoppers will find a guide particularly useful. Having gift categories visible on your home page is a simple way of doing this. Include guides such as “gifts for teenagers” or “gifts under £10”. Go one step further and create a blog post discussing the most popular or trending gifts of the season if you can.

Further Suggestions

In an “ordinary” year, at least 40% of Christmas shopping takes place online. As the impact of COVID-19 is still felt across the world, this figure is likely to be higher this year. Shopping habits over the Christmas period always tend to differ from the rest of the year. As the end of November to early December provide the highest revenue for retail it is certainly an important time for eCommerce. Here are a final few suggestions that you could add to your “Christmas to-do list” as a retailer:

  • Optimise your site for mobile use: On Christmas Day itself, 2 out of 3 online purchases are made on a smartphone. This is a pretty high figure when you consider that a lot of websites do not run as effectively conversion-wise on mobile devices. Make sure there are no pop-ups, and accept Apple Pay or PayPal as a form of payment to streamline the whole process.
  • Keep testing your website: Do not compare shopping behaviours over Christmas with the rest of the year as they will not translate well. Instead, keep testing over the festive season. Retailers often discover mistakes through this process, prompting learning opportunities for everyone involved. In the long run, discovering what works one year gives you an advantage the following year.

There's still time!