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We hate to mention the Ch word, but….

We hate to mention the Ch word, but….

Posted 30th July, 2019 by Sarah

Hooray, it’s summer. So, it’s time to buy your team ice creams, turn up the aircon and…

Schedule a meeting to prepare for Christmas.

We know, we know, no one likes to hear the Ch word in July, but doing a few Christmas orientated tasks now can give you the upper hand when the festive season kicks off in earnest in a few months’ time.

Plus, for many small businesses – give or take those in the holiday rentals or sunglasses sector etc – summer brings a slight slowdown with it – making it the perfect time to do a few jobs you’d not necessarily be able to get to at busier times of year.

So, here’s our list of tasks to carry out before September to ensure you’re ho, ho ho-ing your way to the bank come January.

There are tips in this list for everyone from gift shop owners to beauticians and plumbers.

Showcase more products online

Stats released by Google suggest that 42 per cent of holiday shoppers wish that businesses did a better job of showcasing their products and services online.

This summer, spend a little time adding to your online inventory. Even if your website doesn’t offer an online sales facility or shopping cart, ensure there are photos, descriptions and videos on there at the very least.

Beef up your brand information

Google’s Holiday Playbook 2019 report suggests that 81 per cent of holiday shoppers use Google to research brands online as part of their shopping efforts.

This summer, make sure you have enough brand information on your site. You can beef this up everywhere from your About Us section to your blog.

Ensure your history, company culture and values are on your website for all to see and back up the details with plenty of images and video if you can.

It can also help to activate reviews on your social media pages, if you haven’t done so already.

Add product availability functionality to your site

Google’s research also reveals that 75 per cent of shoppers like to be able to check product availability information online before they visit a shop to buy.

This applies to services, too. If you’re a manicurist, for example, you might want to make it clear on your website that same-day or next-day appointments are often available, for example.

Ensure your mobile site speed is up to scratch

For the first time in 2019, 56 per cent of total holiday shopping time in the USA was spent online. According to Forrester, this figure is expected to grow to 58 per cent by 2023.

Site speed is crucial to getting customers to stick on your site and buy your products or services. A one second delay in mobile load time can impact conversions by up to 20 per cent.

If you haven’t done so for a while, you should test your site speed using Test My Site. It takes less than 60 seconds.

Schedule key dates into the diary

According to research by Google, the 27th November is one of the busiest days as far as online shopping is concerned. Getting closer to Christmas Day, December 11 and 21st December are also busy. You might want to think about developing special promos for these dates or investing a little more in online advertising to cut through the noise of the competition.

Brush up on trends

Every Christmas comes with its own micro trends in everything from gifts and decorations to dinner table designs.

Some trend predictions are already out and you can use them to inspire the design of your festive marketing materials – from homepage banners to in-store decorations.

If you sell products, meanwhile, you can see the sort of things big name competitors are planning on touting this festive season by looking at Christmas in July catalogues.

Christmas in July events are held at various locations around the country in order to allow big brands to brief the media about their festive product ranges early. You can take a look at the portal pages of their websites and their blogs to get a feel for what’s trending.

Make a video gift guide

Okay, so this is where you might feel like you’re getting a little too ahead of yourself. However, video is going to play a major role in holiday shopping this year, so you need to make sure you put some thought and effort into producing content.

90 per cent of shoppers say they have discovered new products and brands via YouTube and 40 per cent of global shoppers say they have purchased products they discovered on YouTube.

Any video gift guide you create can be repurposed on social media, on your landing pages, and can even be used as Google ads, with strong call to actions embedded through TrueView for Action ad campaigns.

Up your game with local customers

Mobile searches for ‘where to buy’ grew by 85 per cent in 2018. One of the most effective ways to increase your chances of reaching local customers through the internet is to set up a Google My Business Page.

You can add your business opening hours and address on here, but you can also post about seasonal events or promotions you’re offering.

This can be anything from letting people know about free gift wrapping to telling local customers about a deal on boiler services to ensure they keep cosy throughout Christmas.

Categories: eCommerce, Marketing, Small Businesses

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