Don’t worry, we’ve not lost the plot. We know it’s only the 14th of September, but the fact of the matter is that if you’ve not already got your website ready for Christmas you’re going to be losing out on business.
With the growth of online retail, consumers are getting their Christmas shopping out of the way sooner and sooner each year, preferring to get it all done so they can concentrate on the finer details of Christmas preparations closer to the time.
Consumers are shopping earlier
It’s true to say that consumers are trying to spread the cost of Christmas more and more, and November and December is an expensive time for families buying decorations, travelling to see family, ordering the Christmas turkey and all of the other expenses that come with the festive season. With most people wanting to avoid the Great December Rush, you need to have your website ready for Christmas long before November has even reared its ugly head.
Stand apart from the competition
The competition during the run-up to Christmas is huge, so you need some way of standing apart from your competition. One of the best ways is to get in there earlier, perhaps by offering discounts for customers ordering their Christmas shopping online before the end of September or October.
Research shows that customers are likely to spend more on their Christmas shopping earlier in the year as they’ll be able to spread the cost. When it comes to December, most of the Christmas budget will have been spent on decorations, food and other miscellaneous festive items.
Make sure your website’s infrastructure is sound
The likelihood is that the hits to your website will increase over the Christmas period, so you should be sure that your server will be able to handle the load. If you’re on a shared hosting platform you’ll be sharing your server load with other retailers’ websites, too. The last thing you want is for users to be unable to access your website and to head to your competitor instead.
Likewise, if your website is not optimised for mobile viewing you’re going to be missing out on a lot of business. The majority of web browsing is now done on mobiles and a huge percentage of people buy products using their mobile phones.
If your website does not automatically adapt to the user’s device, they’re not going to waste time scrolling and zooming; they’ll go to your competitor’s more accessibly-designed website instead and give them the business. The number of people using mobile devices to buy online is growing each week and will very quickly eclipse the number of people using laptops or desktop computers, leaving you catering only for the diminishing minority.
Make it accessible
And we’re not just talking about mobile accessibility either. Accessibility in terms of payment options (credit/debit card, PayPal, Google Checkout, Bitcoin) will open up the likelihood of purchasing to more and more people. Flexibility is key online, and making the user’s purchasing journey shorter and easier is what’s going to get you their business.
The days of people being impressed by websites and the technology is, largely, over. The internet is now an everyday part of our lives and we want it to be as simple, convenient and comprehensive as we want everything else in our lives to be. Quicker, easier and more complete is the way forward and you should ensure that your website embodies those three key values.
Getting some help
If you know your website probably isn’t up to scratch for the Christmas rush, you don’t need to worry. We’re on hand to help get things ship-shape and get your website ready to ensure your business makes the most of this Christmas.