Online shopping exploded in Christmas 2014. UK online shoppers went crazy for special offers around Black Friday, the fourth Friday in November when retailers hold flash sales for one day only, and continued until the big day itself. Since then online shopping has gone from strength to strength.

Ecommerce experts are now predicting that Black Friday 2015, which falls on 27th November this year, will bring us the first £1 billion UK online shopping day – big news for any ecommerce business. This prediction follows the trend of growth in online shopping in the UK throughout 2015, with both Q1 and Q2 figures showing growth.

However, the 2014 Christmas frenzy was not good news for all – small online businesses struggled with a number of factors including:

  • Increased website traffic causing downtime
  • Managing stock levels
  • Delivering orders on time
  • Distributing orders from warehouses quickly enough

Any of those sound familiar to you? If the thought of Christmas causes sleepless nights and a cold sweat to break out on your forehead then it’s time to step up and start considering what you can do to be among the ecommerce winners this year.

Plan ahead, starting now

Chances are if Christmas 2014 was a bit of a flop, there was a lack of planning on your part. Get ahead of your competition and build your plan now. Include key business dates, such as when you expect your Christmas products to be launched, and key calendar dates such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This’ll give you a much clearer picture of what you need to be doing, instead of you sticking your finger in the air and taking a guess.

Create offers around key dates

Now you have your plan in front of you it’s easy to see where you are able to maximise sales. Build offers and flash sales around those key dates, such as Black Friday – shoppers will be much more open to them this year following the huge spike in the trend in 2014, so grab their attention. And don’t forget about those last minute shoppers either – create an offer around the last post dates for Christmas and you’re bound to catch the attention of some panicked online shoppers.

Communicate with your logistics supplier

Grab a meeting with your logistics supplier and share your plans with them. It’s important they know what you have planned for the Christmas period so they can prepare for any increase in orders. Ensure they are aware of all of the offers you’re planning to run, particularly if your offers include free next day delivery – they’ll need to be on board for the quick turnaround.

Make sure you have the stock

Planning your offers and product pushes means you can plan ahead in terms of your stock levels. If you know you’re going to be pushing a particular product hard ensure you have the stock levels to cover demand, or have the ability to get hold of more easily enough if you need to. Whilst you’re at it check with your logistics or warehouse supplier that you have enough space for the additional storage.

Extend your returns policy

The increasing popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday means that our Christmas shopping habits are changing. Shoppers are starting their Christmas present buying earlier than ever before. Cater to this by extending your returns policy for the Christmas period. Most retailers normally offer a 14 or 28-day returns guarantee, which isn’t going to work for shoppers buying in November.

At RT Page we work closely with our clients to ensure Christmas is always a success. Speak to us now to find out how we can help you, call us on 01903 736300.

Tagged on: