Mother’s Day is fast approaching for UK consumers and online sellers, Sunday the 14th of March to be exact, and with many people unable to see their families as the UK lockdown carries on, buying and sending gifts to their loved ones is the closest they’ll get to seeing them this year.
As a result, many businesses are now facing their first Christmas online, a rewarding but testing time even for the most experienced online sellers.
In this article we’ve looked at what you are likely to face during the hectic Christmas sales period, and ways to make your first ecommerce Christmas a resounding success.
Marketing with Christmas magicWith many businesses cutting back on their advertising spending this year, plenty of opportunity has arisen for new online sellers to market their business in a less competitive environment, and at a reduced cost.
While the key sales period has kicked off with Black Friday, we have some great tips on creating a successful Christmas marketing campaign, which you can implement immediately to capitalise.
Just remember that in a post-coronavirus world, setting the right tone with your Christmas marketing campaign is going to be difficult. While a sense of melancholy will be unavoidable this year, for many the festive season offers the opportunity for much needed escapism, and finding the right balance will be key for an effective marketing campaign for Christmas 2020.
Spreading a little international cheerInternational borders mean very little on the internet, and now your business is selling products online you are likely to find yourself inundated with enquiries from overseas customers.
While this is a great opportunity to tap into a whole new consumer base and expand your business, it also comes with a unique set of challenges, which you may not be fully ready for when just starting out as an online seller.
But it's not too late to prepare, with our last-minute tips for surviving Christmas as an international ecommerce business.
You should also consider how overseas sales can further complicate cash flow management over the chaotic Christmas period, and you will want to look at ways of protecting your businesses’ cash flow over the vital sales period so you are ready for growth in 2021.
Delivering a perfect Christmas this yearNo one wants to be left disappointed on Christmas day and this is why thorough logistical planning for the processing and delivery of orders should be your number one priority this holiday season.
This is also the area traditional brick and mortar stores are most likely to be playing catch up with more established ecommerce businesses, which have established delivery chains and infrastructure already in place.
This can be a lot of work for a new ecommerce business and so you may choose to rely upon a 3PF (third-party fulfilment) service, which store your stock and automatically deliver orders directly to the buyer, without your direct involvement.
Be aware, however, that Christmas 2020 is likely to see unprecedented demand for delivery services and as such expect to pay a premium, a cost you will need to carefully consider as to how much is passed on to your customers.
Preparing for a deluge of returnsEven if you do your best to reduce the risk of returns, it's almost inevitable that retailers will be kept busy for some time after Christmas with post-holiday returns.
While many brick and mortar stores will be used to dealing with the traditional deluge of returns that follow the holiday season, these are usually handled in-person.
Of course, this isn’t really any option when dealing with online returns, which can be a logistical nightmare to deal with if you are unprepared.
Check out our guide on managing the flood of post-Christmas returns if you need any tips on facing the challenges of the post-holiday season as a new online seller.
And if you are really worried about staying on top of your returns, you should again consider using a 3PF service, as not only will they manage deliveries but they can also take care of any returns.
Reviews are for life, not just for ChristmasAn excellent customer experience will not only encourage repeat visits to your online store, but it will help you score some positive reviews.
As we point out in our reviews guide, positive customer reviews are the gifts that keep on giving, and eliciting as much feedback as possible from customers over the Christmas period can help your ecommerce business maintain its momentum into 2021.
The spirit of working together looks to be a major theme this year, and going the extra mile for your customers will likely see them respond in kind.
Your first Christmas with an online store is likely to be daunting, particularly in 2020, but could provide your business with a large new avenue of growth in the future if you can get it right!
But don’t fret too much, you certainty aren’t alone in fearing how some shifts in shopping habits could impact your business prospects this Christmas. And even if your online store is struggling now, don’t lose hope, there is always the chance to score some last minute sales!
Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.