I am almost embarrassed to be talking about Christmas so early, but if the products you sell online make good Christmas gifts, it is time to start planning your strategy!

So this month I have selected 10 of the best articles I have found to help you make the most of the next two months, and the January sales.

Many of these articles are very US focused, but all the ideas will work just as well in the UK, so don’t be put off by the use of the dreaded word ‘holidays’ when they really mean ‘Christmas’!

What can we learn from last year?

According to The Daily Mail, shoppers spent around £440,000 a minute throughout Christmas Day in 2014, so don’t assume that your efforts should stop at Christmas Eve.

This Econsultancy article isn’t new: Top five Christmas 2014 digital marketing statistics, but it’s a good report of what happened last year. The main points I took away from this are: the continuing and increasing importance of mobile; basket abandonment is still a big issue; the use of click and collect is growing.

Gift Guides and recommendations

Choosing the perfect gift takes time. Some of your customers may not know what to buy for their partner, let alone for the office Christmas gift exchange! If you sell to a specific market, then this Shopify blog explains How to Use Gift Guides to Boost Your Christmas Sales.

For more general retailers, look at providing recommendations. Common categories could include:

Ladies / Men / Mother / Father / Boy / Girl / Husband / Wife / Under 5s / Toddler / Under £25 / Under £100 / Stocking Fillers / ….

Site security

This is always an issue, so before your traffic starts to increase for Christmas, read these tips from Practical Ecommerce on improving Ecommerce security for Christmas

Delivery and collection

Your customers are increasingly using multiple channels to complete their purchases, whether that be mobile to search and desktop to place their order, or buying online and collecting locally. As we learned from last year, the use of click & collect is increasing – Royal Mail is opening more than 1000 local collection points around the country.

If you are relying on couriers to get your orders out on time, then learn from what happened last year – Yodel had to stop accepting new parcels for two days after Black Friday as it couldn’t cope and City Link went into administration on Christmas Day. Magento outlines two Christmas shipping strategies to minimise problems.

Google AdWords

Pay Per Click is always a good tool for volume Ecommerce retailers, and even more so in the run up to Christmas. Make sure you take advantage of AdWords advanced features to help you sell more at Christmas. If you are familiar with Facebook advertising to a look-alike audience, you might like to try Google’s new Customer Match audience targeting.

One way to reduce the impact of basket abandonment is using AdWords remarketing to target previous website visitors.
Now Google has expanded this to cover Shopping campaigns.

So you’ve read all these tips and you’re ready to have a really successful Ecommerce Christmas. But what should you be measuring to determine how well you are doing? Practical Ecommerce can help you with that!

And finally…

Here are a couple of articles containing useful general tips. These articles repeat some of the points I’ve already covered as well as providing a few extra ideas for you. I confess, one of these is an article I wrote myself!