As the cold weather and darker days begin to draw in, it’s time to start thinking about optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season! It’s one of the most lucrative selling periods for all eCommerce businesses, especially with Christmas 2016 being witness to a 25% spike in online sales.

With there being so much that goes into creating a killer Christmas campaign, from optimised content to seasonal landing pages, we’re here to help you capture and convert all that extra online footfall.

Get Site Traffic Spikes Under Control

As everyone migrates online to do their Christmas shopping, it’s inevitable that your site is going to incur some heavy traffic and it’s down to you to deal with it! Here are a few tips to get you through the seasonal mad-dash that’ll help when optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season:

optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season | iWeb

  • Avoid Site Updates: Make all of your updates before the holiday season! This is very important. With higher than average visitors and purchases on your site, don’t make changes in case they cause unexpected technical problems, it’ll only drive customers away.
  • Web Server Caching: Sounds scary right. It doesn’t need to be. All it does is save part of the website as static files rather than having to hit the database & run code. Caching tools such offer significant performance gains and can help high-traffic websites perform under heavy load, which are worth checking out!
  • Bandwidth: Sounds obvious. But do you know whether your hosting company has a bandwidth bottleneck? Can you see traffic flowing from your platform to your customer’s computer, tablet or smart-phone? Be in the know this season!
  • Consider ‘Queue-it: it’ll help you achieve checkout-success, because during busy periods as it works as a virtual waiting room, helping to ease the influx of users to your site.

Create Seasonal Landing Pages

optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season | iWeb

When it comes to customer convenience and creating opportunities for conversion, it’s important to filter the focus of your audience on to relevant, topical content. You can do this by creating specific seasonal landing pages and homepage banners, so here are a few features that’ll help when you’re optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season:

  • Use Seasonal Colors, Themes and Images: Spruce up your standard web pages with some stock seasonal favourites. Nothing says Christmas like some snuggly stockings, a snowy scene or a jolly Santa Clause. Get your customers in the mood for shopping, but be sure to create pages that are tone appropriate with your existing site design.

  • Enable Social Sharing: developing landing pages that incorporate some level of social media sharing option is a great way to get greater interaction out of your customers. Plus, it also gives your products greater exposure on all your social channels!
  • Prominently Display Promotions: seasonal discounts and offers are really central to your marketing strategy this festive period. Create on-page text ads that communicate specific promotions and be sure to make them visible on your landing pages.
  • CTAs and Creating A Sense of Urgency: This can be done by some on-page calls to action in the form of a countdown calendar/clock telling the customer how many days are left until Christmas day or how many shipping days are left for an on-time Christmas delivery. Nothing like a subtle bit of pressure to help carry through those online conversions!

Optimise Your Content

Well thought out, optimised content can make all the difference between prospect purchasing with you and real engagement with one of your competitors. It’s a really vital aspect of optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season, it’s what gets you noticed and helps get you ranking on Google for all the right reasons.


It’s good practice to start with your keywords so you can give your content a sense of direction. Do keyword research using tools like the Moz keyword explorer where it gives you keyword suggestions, SERP analysis and monthly search volume. While we’re telling you to pick ‘keywords’, really you’re looking at selecting phrases, phrases that don’t offer too much competition or too much work to achieve high rankings from.

Keywords and Copy

Once you’ve picked your key phrase then you need to insert it into your seasonal landing page copy. However, a rule of thumb is to use keywords between 2 and 5 times per page dependent upon copy length. Additionally, you should also stick to one ‘theme’ per page.  Don’t want to try and cheat the search engines because it won’t work! Google knows when you’re keyword stuffing and you’ll be penalised.  Content should be naturally written with a focus on quality.

TopTip: It’s best to write your copy first and then edit it after, inserting your keywords and phrases.

Duplicate content

Avoid copying and pasting large chunks of content from other parts of your website or other people’s websites, because it’s not good practice. Historically search engines penalise websites that feature duplicated content. The key is to keep each page unique and your customers will enjoy engaging with well-written content!

Meta Descriptions

New landing pages mean more metadata. However, Meta descriptions are often overlooked as insignificant. However, they should always be informative, descriptive and representative of what is on the page.

TopTip: keep Meta description inside 150 characters and make sure that these are filled in for every page of your website

Create A Seasonal Campaign On Google

We all want to create some killer Christmas campaigns to help increase traffic to our site, however, it can seem like a daunting prospect, especially if you’re new to the whole thing. Here’s a little step-by-step cheatsheet to help you generate some great ads.

1. Create Specific Ad Groups

Each ad group within your campaign should focus on a single product or service so that your ads appear more relevant to customers. Your festive-loving customer is more likely to click an ad about Christmas gifts than a generic ad about gifts.  Being specific is one way to become more relevant!

2. Choose Keywords Carefully

Include specific keywords that directly relate to the specific theme of your ad group and landing page. It’s often more effective to use keywords that are two or three words long instead of just single words.

3. Include keywords In Your Ad Text

Include your keywords in your ad text (especially in your ad’s headline) to show people that your ad is directly relevant to their search. When people see their search terms in your ad text, it shows them that your ad is probably relevant to what they’re searching for.

4. Create Simple, Enticing Ads

What makes your product or service stand out from the competition? Highlight these important differences in your ad. Do you offer free shipping? Do you have certain items on sale? Be sure to describe any unique features or promotions that you offer.

5. Use A Strong Call-To-Action

Your ad text should have a strong call-to-action. A call-to-action encourages users to click on your ad and helps them understand what they can do once they reach your landing page. Here are some sample call-to-action words: Buy, Sell, Order, Browse, Find, Sign up, Try, Get a Quote.

6. Test Out Multiple PPC/Shopping Ads

Experiment with different offers and call-to-action phrases to see what’s most effective for your advertising goals. The Google Adwords system automatically rotates ads within an ad group and shows the better-performing ad more often. Over time, you might see that certain ads will perform better than others, showing you which ad text is more effective.

7. Regularly Review Your Campaign Performance

Test and tweak your campaigns to get the results you want. Review your ad performance to help figure out the best ways to achieve your goals. As you watch your ads over time, you might notice changes to your clickthrough rate or conversion rate. For example, if you find that customers aren’t responding to a particular call-to-action in your ad text, remove that ad and try something else. It’s all about experimenting!

Create Video Advertising

If you’re thinking more high-budget, you could even consider creating a Christmas advert for TV, your social channels or even for on your website. Judging by the sales conversion rates from views, it definitely seems like a good investment for a retailer to produce a Christmas marketing campaign to spread a little joy and positivity. Get your buyers inspired!

Here’s a little taster of the competition from John Lewis…

Killer Customer Service

This Christmas, make sure your customer service is cutting it! There’s nothing worse than having a question or query and feeling like no one is listening, so, here’s a checklist of what you’re going to need when it comes to optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season:

optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season | iWeb

  1. Plan ahead: ensure you have sufficient staffing levels to deal with complaints and questions during the festive period. Be prepared to deal with queries coming from a variety of sources, including email, phone and over social media.
  2. Divide and Conquer: organise with your staff who is going to deal with which type of customer query. Pick and play to the strengths of your staff when it comes to customer service allocation!
  3. Focus On Fast Resolution Times: gone are the days of call-centre style responses, much of the customer service dealings are done over social media. Make sure someone is on hand to manage all your channels effectively can be done by utilising online customer service software tools such as
  4. Consider a Holiday FAQ: A Holiday FAQ is an incredible resource for customers and has the potential to dramatically deflect calls or emails – meaning, holiday shoppers don’t need to contact your support team as they’ve solved their own problems using your FAQ page. Consider some of the following questions:
  • What are your work hours during the holidays?
  • What are the shipping policies?
  • What are your return/exchange/cancellation policies
  • Do you have any rush order options?

Shout About Shipping

63% of suburban shoppers said that shipping costs are their least favourite part of online shopping, that’s a lot! So this festive season it’s time to make shipping the best thing about online shopping for your eCommerce store. Give them the gift they really want!

The key to making it a more streamlined experience for your customer is through personalisation and so many sites offer different types of delivery method. Offering different ways to pick up parcels, whether it’s free or a discounted home delivery, in-store click and collect or a collect+ business premise, offering more ways for your customer to checkout reduces basket abandonment rates!

optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season | iWeb

Using reliable couriers services is vitally important to creating a good customer relationship. A staggering 53% of consumers now expect the estimated delivery time of eCommerce goods to be precise within three hours or less. Some parcel distributors offer an excellent delivery service where you can accurately track your parcel and rearrange delivery to a neighbour or delivery at another time if you’re not going to be in. Today it’s all about bespoke service.

However, It’s all well and good offering every delivery method under the sun, but if your customers don’t know about it, then it’s useless. Shout from the rooftops about your shipping USP’s, have them all over your site, as well as in the footer space of all your newsletter and email correspondences.

Email Automation

You need time to plan, execute and automate an email campaign strategy because it’s another way to start optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season. If you wait too late, you’ll miss your chance to really move buyers with your words, after all, 75% of those cart deserters do actually plan to buy; they may just need a little nudge.

Learn From Last Years Email

To give you an idea of where you should start with this year’s campaigns, go back to emails you sent last year and see how they performed. What tactics yielded the best open and click-through rates? Which products or services were most popular with your subscribers?

Christmas Cart Abandonment Emails

We all need a little reminder in the online world and none more so than that at Christmas. This can be the difference between a consumer checking out or completely forgetting they went shopping in the first place. Creating a unique cart recovery remarketing strategy is crucial, so here’s how you can be optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season:

  • Snappy, standout subject line: for example ‘’Tis the season to shop shop shop!” / ”Quick, Christmas is coming”, something along those lines usually works a treat!
  • Optimise subject lines for mobile: keep them short, between 30 characters and 4-7 words. Check out the really great MailChimp article on this for more info.
  • Send a series of reminder emails: a series of 3 emails be sent at predetermined time intervals. The first email, triggered within an hour, could be a gentle nudge reminding customers they’ve left something in their cart or that there are only 12 days left to buy before Chrismas day.

Festive Templates

So you’ve got your subscribers’ attention with your subject line, now what? Make sure that when they open your email it looks all festive and fantastic. There are loads of ways to create festive email templates with email automation provers MailChimp and Dotmailer, get looking and get creating.

Social Networking

If your business does not have a Facebook page or a Twitter account then it is missing out on some serious public exposure. Utilising social networking is becoming more and more vital in this age of digital marketing and you don’t want to miss out! Through the system, your campaign can be tweeted automatically alongside your email campaign send and the ability to also share it on Facebook is coming soon.

Make It Mobile-Ready

This is an all-year-round eCommerce essential but during the festive season, it’s even more important. In today’s world and during the festive chaos, it’s commonplace for consumers to be waiting in line at the supermarket or at the bank and checking out Christmas gifts on their phones.

optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season | iWeb

It’s all about being able to multi-task during the mad-rush. If you’re not offering a seamless shopping experience online, then you can bet your competitors. Here’s how you can keep up:

  • Fast Site Speed:  a scary static tells us that if your site takes more than three seconds to load on mobile, you could lose up to 40% of your buyers. During the mad Christmas rush, people want quick and they want convenience.
  • Responsive Web Design: Responsively-designed sites use CSS3 media queries to serve the same content to mobile and desktop users using a fluid grid and a flexible design to automatically adapt to the size of a user’s screen. The last thing you want is for images and text to be inaccessible to consumers on mobile.
  • Optimised Images: It’s often the images that help sell a product especially when it comes to retail. Ensure that your site images are compressed as much as possible while still looking sharp on high-resolution or Retina displays.
  • Design For The Fat Finger: touch screen navigation can lead to accidental clicks if your buttons are too big, too small, or in the path of a finger that’s trying to get the page to scroll.
  • Put The Popups On Hold: People hate these pesky things at the best of times. It can be difficult and frustrating to try and close these on a mobile device and might lead to a high bounce rate.

Remember: when Christmas comes, brand loyalty is often forfeit for convenience!

With all these killer tips at your fingertips, it’ll be no time before you’re optimising your eCommerce site for the festive season. Being organised and ahead of the competition when it comes to Christmas is an essential.

While many suggest the 23 December as the busiest shopping day of the season, in reality, people start planning their gifts weeks and months in advance.


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