Is your website ready for Christmas seasonal demand?

It still may be a little early to think about Christmas (perhaps,) but for many online retailers or those who have seasonal trade, we are now approaching the biggest and busiest time of year. You may think this is still early, but preparation has been in planning for months –since the height of the summer and before. Is your website ready for all the holiday traffic? Our latest blog post looks at this thanks to a recent report, and suggests some things to look for over the coming few weeks.

Microsoft has recently issued a customer insights report which can provide some helpful detail when thinking about the upcoming trading period. One of the key takes from this report and research is that practices seem to be taking a shift this year compared to previous years. This gives online retailers a chance to ‘get ahead of the curve’ allowing for capitalisation to the greatest effect. Those that ignore the changing trends are likely to get left behind and in what will be a crunch trading period post pandemic, it is vital that any opportunity is not missed.

The report indicates that 4 broad practices are likely to be in play this holiday trading season:

  • People will start their shopping early.
  • Competition will be high thanks to greater advertising.
  • Sustainability in purchases will be a factor of the buying process.
  • Different payment methods and delivery options will be in demand – much more so than the traditional ways.

Black Friday used to be the official starting gun for the Christmas period – especially in America, but increasingly here over recent years. Despite this, over 30% of people surveyed for this researched stated that they were going to start preparations even earlier than this. Research also showed that consumers are doing more and more research (via search) before making purchases, with on some occasions, the time process being greater than one month!

Christmas 2021 is due to be very competitive thanks to aggressive advertising strategies. It is still not too late to look at and refine your campaigns so you can make the most of the trading season. Focus on keyword and effective bidding strategies to outsmart your competitors and attract greater custom.

This holiday season, shopping with environmental and sustainable factors is high on the list of consumers priorities. Consumers want to shop with brands and do business with companies that are close to and align with their personal values. If you have invested in these as part of your business models, it should be a definite advantage. Be proud of this and make time to promote it while you have a larger audience base.

We have all recently heard in the news about the shortage of lorry drivers, fuel and stock issues. This stretches to Christmas preparations in the eyes of consumers. If you are a business, you need to ensure you have adequate supply to meet demand. An alternative idea? Gift cards. If you run out of stock, research has shown that 25% would consider gift cards if they couldn’t find anything else to buy. This could be a very valuable fail safe and safety net. Always be willing to think outside the box and have alternative options. Diversify in your products, methods of delivery and payment as much as possible. Ensure these are communicated to target all your audience.

Being successful in the holiday season is all about your customers being in the right place at the right time, so it is you they do business with. Gearing your site up through proper planning is one way you can give yourself the best possible chance of this.

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