Do you ever find it hard to explain to family and friends why you’ve already been thinking about Christmas for weeks (or even months), even though it’s only September?
Since the unexpected rise of last year’s Black Friday, as well as Cyber Monday and January Sales taking place in November, this peak ecommerce trading period now spreads over months, not weeks.
By now you’ve probably got your Christmas plans well underway – but here’s a last minute check to make sure you’re not missing any tricks – even at this late stage.
Getting those festive sales figures up isn’t just about the products, the price and the offers. At your peak sales period more than any other, the brand experience is vital. To get the most cash slipping out of your visitors’ wallets and into your coffers, it’s essential that your ecommerce website is usable, persuasive and trustworthy.
So what can you do even with Christmas trading nearly upon us?
Conversion Rate Optimisation is the answer, a proven process that gets guaranteed results. Follow our plan below and you’ll have your customers happily spending their hard earned cash. Read on for a month-by-month view of actions you can take to guarantee you have a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons.
Like a dark and rich Christmas cake, the earlier you start preparing the better. The sooner you get these tools on your site, the longer they have to gather high-quality data that you can use to make your site more appealing to paying customers.
If you’ve already looked at your analytics, you’ll know what your visitors do on your site, but you won’t know why or how. These tools give you the answers and are a vital part of every successful optimiser’s toolkit
There are also two tools you should have that don’t need to be added to your website
Once you have installed and set up these new tools, you have the power to access a wealth of information which wasn’t previously available to you.
But don’t underestimate the other sources of data and insight that you probably have access to already. During the course of a CRO project we might use over 30 tools and techniques, to get extra data, much of which already exists within a business.
Here are just a few invaluable data sources which you may be overlooking:
After analysing all these data sources, you will have a long list of optimisation opportunities. The trick now is to identify which ones you should focus on straight away to ensure you have a Merry Christmas.
Most marketers who use CRO use a process similar to the one we describe here, and at this point most will prioritise. It’s important because you need to know where to put your resources – and even more importantly what you can safely ignore. However, everyone uses a different system to pick out the areas to focus effort on.
Our system uses two criteria to evaluate each issue/opportunity – strength of evidence, and potential impact.
We refer to this as ‘Triage’ because it’s all about deciding which ones are worth investing time and money in and which one’s aren’t worth bothering with. Only those with strong evidence (and by that, we mean from a number of different data sources, not one person’s opinion) and a potentially high impact make the grade. With these ones, you can be assured they will make a positive impact on your sales and revenue in time for your peak period.
Once you’ve prioritised your opportunities, write them down so you have a plan to work through. This isn’t set in stone. But it does help you to focus only on the changes most likely to have an impact on your business and prevents you from getting distracted by last minute ideas and opinions.
You’ve identified your biggest conversion killers and created a plan about which ones to tackle first. The next step is to make sure your changes have the best chance of delivering significant sales uplifts. Our Creative Execution process is designed to do just that.
Before making any changes to the website, follow these steps:
Repeat the creative execution process for each of the changes in your optimisation plan throughout these months. This peak period is a great time to split test as traffic levels are high and statistical significance can be reached quicker than low-traffic months. But there is a caveat to be aware of.
Christmas shoppers can be highly motivated to buy which can skew split test results.
What that means is that you can test a new web design over the festive period, but come February, all metrics drop back down. Possibly the ‘winning’ variant no longer performs the best. Was the change in visitor motivation giving you a false positive? Or was it a real win that only applies to your Christmas traffic?
To be sure the uplift will hold, we also recommend running these peak period tests again in an off-peak period, if traffic levels permit. This allows you to confirm that the changes you saw weren’t overly influenced by change in visitor motivation, but can apply year-round.
Interestingly, it’s arguably more difficult to get a good lift pre-Christmas precisely because the motivation is so high so people will checkout anyway. Consequently, we’ve often seen follow on tests perform better in an off-peak period compared to the peak Christmas period.
This monthly plan is guaranteed to help you find the key conversion killers on your ecommerce website and fix them in time for Christmas. We’d love to hear how you got on implementing this process so do leave a comment below if you are planning to use it to boost your festive sales and revenue.
If you want to make this a Christmas to remember, but need a helping hand to get you on track with implementing CRO quickly and effectively, let us sharpen your skills.
The first step to success is to understand the CRO process as a whole. To help with that, we’ve created this infographic which gives an overview of all the key elements involved in successful CRO, designed like the well-known periodic table for chemical elements.
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimisation
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