The countdown to Christmas has begun! If it feels like it’s still too soon to start singing Christmas songs and putting on the yule log, just remember that an estimated 40% of consumers start doing their shopping before Halloween (yes, some people are really that organized…)
So if you have an online store and want to take advantage of the Christmas shopping season, now’s the perfect time to get started. But instead of a typical Christmas countdown, with 8 Maids a Milkin’ and 7 Swans a Swimmin’, we’re recommending 12 tips that you can spread over the next twelve days to get your online store ready for all of Santa’s elves to come shopping.
Days 1-3: Lay the Holiday Groundwork
Day 1: Create individual product pages and add more information to them
If you have a store with Jimdo, you’re likely already familiar with the Store Item Element. We recommend taking that a step further by creating a new page of your website for each product you sell and then putting one Store Item Element on that page. With a product page, you get a lot of benefits. You can really boost the amount of information you share about each product, increase your visibility on search engines, get an individualized URL for each product to share and promote, and have more options to upsell and recommend additional products.
Once you put in the initial effort to create the pages, you’ll love the flexibility you get, and your customers will love all the added info. (Check out this blog post for more details on product pages and how to set them up.) Once you have your product pages, you can write more narrative descriptions about each product. Include more details about how they were made, the story behind them, and even more details like dimensions and materials.
Add customer testimonials, videos… the sky is really the limit, but all that additional info will help people decide that your product is right for them. For a good example, check out the product pages on Jimdo website Boooo.com. They include a story, video, technical specs, and a blurb about the inventor of every product, plus they use a Form Element to let customers write reviews right on the page.
Day 2: Spruce up your product photos
Sure, you can add photos to a Store Item Element (and likely already have), but why stop there? With the new product pages, you created on Day 1, you can now add additional photos and photo galleries to each product page. High-quality photos from different angles can answer a lot of questions people might have about your product. It also helps to show a picture of a person using the product or wearing it, so customers can get a sense of size and scale. If you need help taking better DIY product photos, check out this tutorial on creating your own inexpensive lightbox.
If you have time, it’s also worth taking some product photos that look more holiday-ish to put shoppers in the right frame of mind when looking at your goods. For example, you might use a flannel or burlap backdrop with a piece of evergreen, or position your product next to a steaming cup of cocoa or another winter scene.
You can also get more creative with how you display photos on your site. Add your Instagram feed so that people can see photos of your products in different settings. You can also think outside the product page—make sure you’re showing off your photos all over your website, for example with a photo gallery carousel on your homepage, like the Jimdo site Black Yeti has done below.
Day 3: Add recommended products and gift guides to encourage more purchases
In a real-life store, a good salesperson knows how to suggest other products a customer might like, based on what they are already interested in. Your website can do the exact same thing.
You can set up recommended products manually by adding a few Photo Elements to a Columns Element at the bottom of each product page, with each Photo Element linking to another product.
Or, you can use tags and a Store Catalog Element—give similar items similar tags, like “gold rings”, then add a Store Catalog Element to the bottom of each product page.
Since people often search for gifts by price point or audience, a fun approach for the holidays would be to create gift guides with different Store Catalogs. You could create a store catalog of “Gifts Under $25” or “Gifts for Dads” using a tag like giftunder25, then put those gift guides either on your product pages or directly on your homepage. (Remember that you have to tag each Store Item Element individually and that your tags shouldn’t have spaces in them).
Days 4-6: Focus on Customer Service
Day 4: Make it easy for customers to get in touch
The holidays are busy for us all, but the more you can make yourself available to answer questions, the more confident your customers will feel. One ideal tool to answer questions is through your social media channels. The best way to encourage people to post questions on social media is to provide a speedy, courteous response, ideally within a few hours. If you think you can quickly answer questions on-the-go with social media, you can tell people that on your product pages and contact page.
Another option is to install a Live Chat widget on your website—an increasingly popular option for customers looking for a quick answer without having to get on the phone. Setting up live chat doesn’t mean you’ll be chained to your desk. You can set certain hours that live chat is available or turn it off when you’re busy. A few we recommend are SnapEngage, Userlike, and Olark.
Day 5: Add an FAQ section
If a customer is on the fence about making a purchase, a good frequently-asked-questions section could be just the nudge they need. FAQs can reassure customers and provide answers to some common questions, so they don’t have to contact you directly and wait for an answer. FAQ pages also help your SEO by adding more content to your site and phrasing what you write in terms of some frequently searched phrases. It’s also a great way to explain your “fine print” policies in plain English so that people can easily understand your policies and have clear expectations.
For example, take a look at the FAQ from Jimdo site Bobsmade. Their answers come across as clear and 100% honest, making it much more likely that customers will be confident pressing that “Buy” button.
Day 6: Send a customer satisfaction survey
The people shopping on your site are more than just customers—they’re also a great resource to find out what you’re doing well and help you improve for next time.
There are a ton of survey tools and form builders you can use for this purpose, like SurveyMonkey, Polldaddy, and Wufoo. Many of them are free or very affordable to set up. And you have a few options for how to distribute the form. You can set up a pop-up on your site inviting people to take part, invite people to answer through email or social media, or even add the survey to your store confirmation pages and order confirmation emails.
As an added benefit, sending a survey shows your customers that you really care what they think and take their concerns seriously.
Days 7-9: Time to promote!
Day 7: Fill out all your SEO settings
Today, take a few minutes to fill out the SEO settings for your website and for your store product pages. By now you probably know some of the keywords that apply to your store or your product. You can think of these as the words people would type into Google to search for products like yours, perhaps something like “cashmere sweaters” or “gifts for teenagers.” (If you don’t know which keywords are right for you, take a quick step back and learn more about keyword research).
For each product page, click on the SEO tab in your Site Admin to access the SEO settings. Then, fill out the Page Title and Page Description using clear descriptors. Your Page Title should contain the name of your product. If you have space, add a category it belongs to as well. Search engines will automatically add your business or website name (that you’ve set as your Site Title), so you’ll have something that looks like the example below:
In this example, I’ve filled in my Page Title with my product name – category. (Partridge in a Pear Tree – Gifts). I’ve also added a Page Description with more keywords in it to encourage people to click. In the Google Preview, this text shows up with my Site Title (Maggie’s Christmas Shop).
After you’ve filled out these settings, put a Large (H1) Heading Element at the top of each product page, and type in the product name.
For more SEO hints for your product pages, check out this blog post. We also have SEO tips to optimize your entire website.
Day 8: Create special content and images for the holidays
You decorate your house for the holidays…why not dress up your website as well? Instead of untangling Christmas lights and climbing on ladders, all you need to do here is update a few parts of your website and social media channels.
You can create a holiday-themed banner using free programs like Canva, Over, or Snappa, and then upload that image to your website as a background or as a Photo Element. You can also use this type of image to make your social media profiles more festive.
If you’d prefer more professional help, check out the services from 99designs. For example, you can get one of their designers to create a holiday-themed social media page for you, starting at $49!
It’s easy to make a holiday-themed graphic for your website. We made these examples using Snappa.
Day 9: Reach out to bloggers writing holiday gift guides
While your website is one of the best places to show off your products, remember to also get in touch with bloggers who might be putting together gift guides. Now that you’ve got your product pages all set and looking spiffy, start sending links to bloggers as soon as possible.
When it comes to pitching, it really pays to do some homework. Bloggers are usually busy and inundated with requests, especially as the holidays approach. The more you can customize your pitch to the blogger’s interest and show that your product is perfect for their website and audience (and not just yours), the better. Make your pitch personal, and talk about what makes your product special. This is also where having really good product photos will pay off. The blog Create & Thrive has some more helpful pitching tips here.
If it doesn’t work out for the holidays, never fear — starting a good relationship with bloggers now will pay off down the line if they feature you at some point next year.
Days 10-12: Increase your sales
Day 10: Offer free shipping
Free shipping is, hands down, one of the best ways to fill your customers with the Christmas spirit. Almost half of all online shopping carts are abandoned because customers feel like the shipping costs are just too high. So by offering free shipping, you eliminate one of the most common reasons that visitors might leave your store without making a purchase.
Studies also show that free shipping converts customers better than discounts, even in cases where the discount is worth more than the free shipping! There’s something about seeing that “free shipping” offer that people just find irresistible.
To adjust shipping costs in your online store, go to Settings > Store > Shipping Costs. Here you can set up free shipping and even set up a price threshold for free shipping (let’s say, orders over $50), which can, in turn, encourage people to spend a little extra money in order to qualify.
Day 11: Run a Black Friday or holiday sale
In the US, you’ll run into a lot of competition for shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but you can consider doing other types of holiday sales as well. Think about a quick Flash Sale or a “Beat the Crowds” sale before Black Friday.
It’s easy to set items for sale in your Jimdo store. Just go to each Store Item Element you want on sale and reset the Price and List Price. Set the list price at the item’s original price, and the price as the sale price. When you do this, Jimdo will cross out the original price in your store and display the sale price.
Day 12: Create a holiday discount code
If you’re a JimdoBusiness subscriber, you also have the option of creating discount codes especially for the holiday season. There are tons of different ways to use discount codes. You could incorporate them into a larger sale, or use them to reward your social media followers.
Another great use for discount codes is to encourage repeat business. Set up a “thank you” discount code and include it in your store’s Confirmation Page or in Order Confirmation Emails. That way, a customer will receive the discount code on their next purchase in your store, and might lead them to come back for a few more gifts.
To set up a discount code, click on Store in your Site Admin and then click on the Discount Code tab. To adjust your confirmation emails, go to Settings > Store > Emails and Text.
Phew! 12 days, 12 tips, and by now your online store is all spiffed up and ready for the holiday shoppers. Here’s the full list:
- Day 1: Create product pages
- Day 2: Add more product photos
- Day 3: Set up gift guides
- Day 4: Be available for customers
- Day 5: Make an FAQ section
- Day 6: Send a customer survey
- Day 7: Fill out your SEO settings
- Day 8: Decorate your website
- Day 9: Reach out to bloggers
- Day 10: Offer free shipping
- Day 11: Run a holiday sale
- Day 12: Create a holiday discount code
Are they any other tips you’ve used on your own e-commerce store? Let us know in the comments.