How to make sure those Christmas shopping carts convert

Jeremy Crooks has some seasonal advice for retail marketers in their craziest period of the year.


It’s that time of year again already and, for some people, things are starting to wind down as we inch closer to the holidays. For marketers and their retail clients, however, things are starting to heat up. This month will be the most competitive time of year for brands looking to attract customers to their websites.

Online shopping is rapidly growing in Australia, with the IAB Australia ‘Online Advertising Expenditure Report’ revealing that online expenditure for the 2014 financial year was almost $4.5 billion, a 22% year-on-year growth. Most retail brands will deliver up to 70% of their annual turnover in the few weeks leading up to Christmas alone. So even if it’s the time for parties and Secret Santa, it’s also a critical time to drive significant conversion. There are a few tips to ensure users convert those Christmas carts into revenue, so that your brands’ products end up under the tree this year.


Connect with old friends 

While it’s important to reach new customers to build your brand, it’s also key to reconnect with existing customers who will be looking everywhere (and that means elsewhere) in the desperate hunt for holiday gifts. By delivering the right product to them at the right time, even after they have navigated away from your website, you’re able to get in front of customers and remind them why they love you (as well as about those concert tickets they looked at last week).

With personalised advertising, you can create a seamless shopping experience that isn’t just helpful, but which creates loyal customers who keep coming back even with all the offline and online distractions, and who will turn to you for last minute purchases. Given that the largest purchases are generally made early in the Christmas season or at the last minute, it’s essential for retailers to influence purchasing decisions at the most relevant times to increase their cost per click.


Pick the perfect present

As the holiday season gets closer and closer, shoppers will be heading online to find the perfect present for their loved ones. Whether the decision to browse online is driven by time constraints, a wider choice, or just a preference to avoid the crowds and jingles of CBD department stores, we all need a little help sometimes when it comes to finding the right gift. One of the major reasons users navigate away from websites before converting is because, quite simply, they haven’t found the right product, not because they haven’t found the right brand.

By employing technology that lets you recommend products and gifts across the web based on previous browsing and shopping behaviour, you’re offering options for the customer and giving them a personalised shopping experience. Those shoes aren’t quite right for your sister? What about these ones? Or these sunglasses?


Decorate your ads 

It’s not just any time of year, and your advertising should reflect that. Work on creating exciting and season specific messaging. Whether you’re offering 15% off until Christmas Eve, or promoting Boxing Day website-wide sales, it’s a simple but worthwhile move to remind your customers that shopping online and, in particular, on your site, is a great way to fill those stockings in a fuss-free experience from the comfort of their home. People love the holidays, and your brand should too.

If you’re using a product feed in any of your marketing for the holiday season, make sure that the feed contains all of your products, that product descriptions are comprehensive and that all pricing is correct. Use strike-through pricing to highlight price promotions & special offers, and promotional text as a strong call-to-action.


Don’t leave mobile off the list 

According to ACMA research, 3.4 million Aussies used mobile commerce services during December last year, up 448% from 2010. Given that around 12 million Australians owned a smartphone in May this year, a mobile strategy is something no marketer can afford to forget when it comes to ramping up their campaigns. Not only do you need to be thinking about delivering ads across all devices, you need to make sure that those ads are tailored to the screen-size, whether that’s a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Simply transferring desktop advertising to mobile won’t drive the conversion you want — you need to consider how someone’s shopping experiences vary across different devices, as well as when they use those devices, and adapt to that.

While December can be a crazy time for marketers, these peak shopping periods are a great opportunity to re-engage customers who may have lost touch with your brand, and to take that relationship into 2015.



Jeremy Crooks is managing director of Criteo, Australia & New Zealand.