Coronavirus Christmas

A Corona Christmas: How Prepared Is Your Website?

Very little about 2020 has been ordinary and as the festive season approaches, Christmas seems set to be no exception. While rules on family gatherings have not yet been announced, it would appear that the usual office parties are unlikely to proceed.

In terms of shopping, physical stores will probably stay open once lockdown has ended, barring any last-minute changes in the rules. However, the now-familiar conditions of face coverings (including on public transport) and hand-sanitising stations seem almost certain to remain fixtures. Christmas markets could have crowd-control measures in place, while some seasonal events have already been cancelled.

So shoppers after that elusive gift may well opt to browse virtual stores rather than market stalls. And online shopping is poised to become more important than ever this December, as people seek to avoid festive crowds. Equally, those who don’t like wearing face masks, or who want gifts delivered to friends and family they can’t be with, could well plump for logging on rather than heading out. That could extend to fresh food, wine and similar items as well as gifts. At the same time, with it having been a tough year for many, retailers are likely to have to fight harder for every customer pound.

Recent research for John Lewis found that nearly half (47%) of those planning to shop early reported that spreading out the expense of the season really mattered to them. The study also revealed that many consumers would be spending less this Christmas, despite a general underlying determination to cheer up the end of a tough year. Nearly half (44%) planned to order gifts for direct delivery, with one in five planning on sending gift cards or vouchers. All of which points to a need to be sensitive to a very different climate and mood this year.

Not only do you and your website need to be ready, you need to start preparing now, even if that feels earlier than usual. Here’s how to make the most of the season and thrive into a potentially still uncertain 2021. The good news is that while advertising spend is likely to be down in 2020, there are a number of cost-effective things you can do:

  1. Stay competitive

    With personalised, precise seasonal offers, offered in real time and updated as necessary. Make best use of blogs and social media to advertise offers.

  2. Speedy does it

    The slow tortoise may have won the race in the story, but you won’t win much business if your website isn’t fast out of the starting blocks to load. Be sure yours can handle the potential spike in demand, and clear away unneeded digital content if necessary. See if you can reduce some image sizes. Test your website yourself to make sure everything works as it should, and assess what it can handle at maximum load capacity. A delay of just seconds can be enough to send a potential customer elsewhere, so consider changing your hosting package if necessary.

  3. Stay in touch

    Make sure your enquiry forms, phone numbers and so on are all up to date, and that your customers get a swift response to their enquiries.

  4. Cache you later

    Caching saves relevant data, meaning it won’t have to be reloaded each time someone returns to your website. This lessens processing times, makes sales speedier and creates more space on your website for new visitors and, in turn, fresh sales.

  5. Think visually

    It’s a great time to spruce up your product imagery, decorate your website for the Christmas period, advertise offers with banners and create gift guides to help shoppers choose the perfect present. Give social media pages a festive feel, too.

  6. Make sure your deliver

    With demand set to be high, make sure your systems can cope with high numbers of orders and deliveries. Set clear last order dates, but give customers confidence their gift will indeed arrive in time for December 25.

At Front Page, we’ve been steering our varied customers through digital marketing for Christmas for years. This year, a different mindset is needed for your seasonal campaignget in touch to learn more.