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How was Christmas for your business?

I can't think of one client that has so far reported a bad sales period in the run-up to Christmas 2006.

So how were your online Christmas sales? Were they better than expected? Were they not as good as you expected?

One of our client sites was so busy they had to deter visitors from buying online as early as 12th December, the demand was simply unbelievable.

So what was the reason behind such a move? Why had business increased this much in the space of a year. The site in question has seen sustained growth each Christmas since 2001. Christmas 2006 has seen unprecedented levels of business and it has led to sales figures for the Christmas run-in during 2007 being revised.

The question has to be 'What was behind the spike?' We knew there was going to be a seasonal increase, but the levels of sales were beyond belief. Here are my thoughts on why the site in question raised its online business levels to new heights.

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Internet safety & security
  3. Ease of shopping online
  4. Increased budget for ongoing Search Engine Optimisation
  5. Increased site conversion
  6. Prompt delivery
  7. Quality products
  8. Top search positions
  9. Customer service
  10. Ongoing commitment

Lets Look at each point separately.

Brand Awareness - I rate the brand in question as the #1 site within its sector. For one the site often appears in the National Press and as such the name is known and trusted. Secondly brand awareness has increased through their trust in the online marketing skills of Fresh Egg. The worrying factor for their competitors is the fact that Fresh Egg can still push the site further and harder.

Internet Safety & Security - Are we as concerned with online shopping as we once were? If you are shopping from a known and trusted site there should be no problem, this is evident with sites that have been in existence for a longer timeline.

Ease of Online Shopping - Why on earth anyone goes shopping is beyond me - Traffic, crowds & cold to name but three reasons. Wth most shipments I receive I know the day and usually the approximate time of delivery.

Search Engine Optimisation - By increasing the time our Search Engine Optimisation team are allowed on the site, we have been able to increase raw traffic by some 28% compared to December 2005.

Increased site conversion - We have been studying and reacting to site data which has enabled us to add features to the site to increase conversion. Call to action is what matters.

Prompt delivery - Tesco offers next day delivery upon most items, where possible so should your business. The one factor that going shopping physically has in its favour over online shopping is the fact the item can be in the hand that day. By offering 24 hour (next day) delivery you can subdue this negative aspect of online shopping. The site in question was indeed offering next day delivery.

Quality Products - Having a commodity that is sought after is also a factor. The site in question sells top branded products at the mid to high end of the market. They are competitive on price, but there is competition within the vertical market.

Top Search Positions - The site in question has top positions for many generic keywords and keyphrases within its genre, without these prominent search positions the site would not have turned over the level of business that it did.

Customer Service - IMO crucial, telephones should be manned during working hours, contact points on the site should be clear and defined. If there is a problem, it should be as easy as possible for your customers to get in contact with you

Ongoing Committment - A site should evolve, it needs to react to data in order to refine its strengths,Once the main structure is in place refinement should occur in order to increase onsite conversion. Top ecommerce sites can run as high as 6% conversion. What is your conversion ratio, what are you doing to improve it?

So I ask the question again, how was Christmas for your business?

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