It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas...and no wonder, there’s only one week to go! No doubt that running an ecommerce business and trying to do personal Christmas preparations has got you into a festive frenzy, so it can be hard thinking about what you need to do now and what you can do to prepare your store for after the big day. The biggest issue for customers at this time of the year is communication - people want to know what to expect from your store and their orders over the holidays. Here are the key things you need to communicate, and how to do so effectively to make for happy customers.
Shipment and Delivery Times
The most important thing right now is to make sure that people know what your delivery cut-offs and expected delivery windows are for the next couple of weeks.
Add delivery times on all marketing emails, making them clear and obvious. Make sure you have both the cut-off dates for new orders, as well as the expected shipping dates for orders after the cut-off. And don’t just stick to email! Post these dates on social media as well, plus info on how you get in touch with your customer service team. For extra assurance for your customers, include a link to your preferred courier’s delivery info page as well if they have one. If your store’s theme allows it, add a banner to your website that links through to delivery and shipment info.
Whilst all customers will immediately get a post-transaction email about their order, consider scheduling in an extra email for the 26th or 27th of December for those who ordered after the Christmas cut-off date. Reiterate that their order is being processed, and what day you expect orders to be shipped by. Include details on how to get in touch with your customer service department in case they have any questions or concerns about their order. Be sure to again include any details about courier shipping times and dates, so they know if they should expect any potential delays to their order. They’ll appreciate the extra heads-up, and you’ll build more trust in your customer-brand relationship.
Customer service is key during the festive season, and between office closures and having reduced staff due to vacations, it’s important to communicate to your customers when they might see reduced service.
Here’s what you need to let them know:
Days when your office is completely closed.
e.g. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
Period during which customer service queries may take longer to get a response.
e.g. from the 23rd of December until 3rd of January.
Other resources they may be able to use to solve their query during this time.
e.g. FAQ pages, Christmas specific FAQ pages etc.
Send this information out to all your mailing list subscribers so they’re aware of when you’ll be closed, as well as posting to social media. Consider updating the content on your Contact Us page to call out your current service availability as well.
It might not be something you want to think about after all those orders coming in, but sadly not all Christmas gifts go down well! Making the returns process as clear and easy for people as possible is crucial - 72% of consumers say they’d buy more frequently with merchants that make the returns process easy.
Simple ways to communicate your returns process:
Include details of the process on product pages on your website.
Send an additional post-purchase email after Christmas that hopes your customer or the recipient enjoys their purchase, with a block that details the returns process with a link to the relevant FAQ section on your site.
- Post about it on social media after Christmas. You can bundle this in with information about shipping and delivery times if you don’t want to just post about how to return something!
People love a bargain, especially after Christmas when they’ve shelled out so much money on gifts. Between bargain-hunters, people getting money as a gift, and gift cards, there are plenty of opportunities for sales even when the big day is over.
Here are quick post-Christmas sales ideas you can steal for free:
You can run these across your entire store, specific product categories, or even just specific products
Discounts on limited shelf life products
We aren’t talking just perishable items; gift boxes, hampers, Christmas themed items etc. all have a shelf life! Discount these as a priority.
These would be based on basket spend, e.g. spend over $30 and get 5% off, spend over $50 and get 10% off.
Free or reduced shipping
Shipping costs can be off-putting to customers, so why not get rid of those as your main post-holiday offer?
Offer a small free item with orders - this could be store-wide, on specific items you want to move quicker, or on orders over a certain spend amount. Better yet, the free item could be one of your limited shelf life products so you can incentivize customers and clear stock that you won’t be able to shift after a certain amount of time.
The ways to communicate these sales to your customers are pretty straight-forward: email marketing, posting on social media, and visually communicating them on your website. But remember to be smart about how you communicate and market sales so your efforts aren’t wasted. Retargeting and segmentation are your best friends when it comes to post-Christmas sales! Retarget people who came to your store before Christmas but didn’t make a purchase, as well as people who abandoned their carts. With email subscriber segmentation, you can send tailored sales offers to different customers. For example, there may be a group of customers who purchased a specific item and you can send them what offers you now have on complementary items. Or if a customer usually buys a specific size of shirt, you can send them what deals you have on shirts in that size.