Three Last Minute Christmas Tips For Online Stores: SaleCycle Chief Revenue Officer

Three Last Minute Christmas Tips For Online Stores: SaleCycle Chief Revenue Officer

With just a few weeks until Christmas, savvy Australian online shoppers are avoiding the crowded stores and shopping malls and in a race against time ordering their gifts online, hoping to have them delivered on time. In this opinion piece, Chris Brinkworth, Chief Revenue Officer, APAC for SaleCycle, has some last minute tips to capture your audience.

Karen Terranova
Posted by Karen Terranova

With Australians set to blow their Christmas budgets by more than $600 million this year, astute shoppers are hoping to save hundreds of dollars by shopping online before the mad rush.  And online retailers are holding their breath.

The big problem is that while Australian retailers are happy to invest heavily on online ads and search to attract Christmas shoppers, many haven’t yet realised they would be better off if some of that budget was spent on conversion optimisation to fix “revenue leaks” on their desktop and mobile sites to ensure the digital experience is a positive one.

On average, for every $90 spent by retailers on customer acquisition, just $1 is spent on conversion optimisation.  That often results in high bounce rates as frustrated customers leave sites that don’t work smoothly to try another of the plentiful  online shopping opportunities, particularly from overseas retailers.

According to SAP’s Digital Experience Report for 2016, Australian brands have narrowed the digital experience gap, but 40 per cent of Australian consumers still say they’re unsatisfied with the digital experiences they receive from major local brands.

Australian retailers need to be prepared to compete with the big international retailers like Amazon and Marks and Spencer, both of whom offer delightful digital experiences, very competitive pricing, fast (and free over a certain value) delivery, as well as easy returns and refunds.

According to Michaela Aguilar, founder of CRO PROS, a business group specialising in education about conversion rate optimisation: “Starting out with conversion rate optimisation and basic personalisation on desktop and mobile is not hard and relatively inexpensive if compared to revenue lost if nothing is done at all.”

The key problem areas Aguilar identified for Australian online retailers are:

Landing pages

  • Need to be realigned with search or ad
  • Should be personalised on return visit
  • Must lead with discounts over inspiration

Product pages

  • Important content is often below the fold
  • Add social proof or user ratings
  • Ensure product descriptions are sufficient

Purchase funnel                          

  • Move distractions like social sharing buttons
  • Remove easy to delete products
  • Overcome cart abandonment.

Once Australian retailers have these elements right and improved their customer’s digital experience and as a result their own conversion rates, there are three very simple tips to ensure that shoppers not only put Christmas gifts in their cart this year, but they purchase rather than abandoning their cart.

  1. Urgency

Successful pre-Christmas sales are all about the urgency of the one-off special prices and on time deliveries. Countdown timers are a great way to convince Christmas shoppers to snap up the items on offer before it is too late for Christmas delivery.

This can help prevent Christmas shoppers from leaving your online store and persuade them that they really do need that half-price TV.

For the 75 per cent or so that abandon their shopping, online stores should try adding a countdown timer to their cart abandonment emails to alert interested shoppers to how long they’ve got left to get their desired item at this great price.

  1. Fear

The fear of missing out is a powerful tactic retailers should be using to close the deal. It’ll work especially well in the lead up to Christmas when sale stock is pretty limited.

You should alert your website browsers to how many other shoppers are considering the same products or how quickly they will sell-out to convince them to grab your pre-Christmas bargains.

  1. Suggestions

No doubt you’ll have marketing campaigns, both digital and offline, showcasing your best Christmas gift offers. However, when someone’s browsing your site are you reminding them of the hottest deals and suggesting ideas for every member of the family?

Using intelligent on-site messages to showcase personalised bite-your-hand-off-bargains to your customers is a great way to convert those stressed out shoppers who don’t know what to buy Aunty Mary.

A great idea is to target your browsers by their product interests or item value to make sure you’re highlighting the best deals for each individual shopper.

Get yourself set

Think it’s too late for this year?  Think again. Saturday, 17 December will be the peak Christmas shopping day in 2016 according to a Commonwealth Bank survey, with a quarter of Australians crowding the stores doing most of their gift shopping on that day.

By then the clever online shoppers will be sitting back and waiting for all their online deliveries or getting on with all the wrapping (if that wasn’t offered by the online retailer it should be)!

Even if you do decide not to optimise for this Christmas, make sure you file these suggestions for your New Year reading and make a conscious effort to get your online retail experience humming in early 2017.

Just remember; whatever you do to create your own retail rush, you have to get the word out to your target market about what you’re doing. Send out emails, place online ads, invest in site optimisation and search and use social media.

Don’t let the Christmas season be a retail non-event for your business because you didn’t invite your customers to your store.