Isn’t it Time to Think About Your Omni-Channel Christmas?

2013 looks to be the Omni-Channel Xmas. With more than 24% of UK consumers shoppers using their Smartphone to Xmas shop in 2012 (source: Econsultancy) it’s crucial that e-commerce sites are ready for 2013. With the inevitable code-freeze just a couple of months away this post covers 10 Tips for ensuring a successful holiday period.

Xmas Top Tip 1: Support channel switching

Xmas Top Tip 2: Do the least you can for tablets

Xmas Top Tip 3: Returns policy

Xmas Top Tip 4: Boost your FAQs with last Xmas’ support data

Xmas Top Tip 5: Test gifting journeys

Xmas Top Tip 6: Test before your Xmas site is live

Xmas Top Tip 7: Weather

Xmas Top Tip 8: Test your Xmas email marketing campaigns

Xmas Top Tip 9: Test the user journey BEFORE your site

Xmas Top Tip 10: Make a New Year’s resolution

Xmas Top Tip 1: Support channel switching

 Google Research has revealed that 67% of consumers have started a shopping journey on Smartphone that they then go on to complete on their desktops. There are two primary reasons for this.

The first (obvious) reason is that users don’t like filling out forms on their phones. The second (less obvious) reason, that our research has revealed, is that users, even with the “whizziest” optimized mobile site, want to ensure they’re getting full product information and, in particular, imagery. Even on responsive sites with exactly the same content as the desktop site, we’ve noticed that users perceive they’re missing something.

To support Smartphone to Desktop channel switching:

- ensure your mobile URLs resolve to desktop ones

- allow a shared basket and favouriting between devices

- provide a footer link to the full desktop site on your mobile site.

 Xmas Top Tip 2: Do the least you can for Tablets

For many of e-commerce clients, 2013 was the year where tablets accounted for over a third of all website traffic – up from 10% at the beginning of 2012. You may not have time to do much between now and your Xmas code freeze, but make sure what you do will have the biggest impact for your users.

Run a five user tablet test on a find and buy shopping journey and identify those issues that you can fix for tablets in time for Xmas. It might just be the way that images are rendered on pop-ups or removing sliders from filtering, but simple UX improvements that have even a small conversion rate uplift can make a big difference during the fervent shopping period.

Xmas Top Tip 3: Returns Policy

Speak to a seasoned CRO (Conversion Rate Optimiser) and they’ll tell you that your Returns Policy is one of your “key conversion beacons” (translation: get it right and more people will trust you and thus buy). At Christmas your Returns Policy needs to work even harder – be very explicit for the 19 year old nephew who has bought his Aunty an online gift (that she might not like).

Naturally your legal team will want to review your policy, but it’s crucial that users do too. This can be done really simply, even with draft copy before you go live.

Of course, be careful not to over-do it. Simplicity is the key here.

Xmas Top Tip 4: Boost your FAQs with last Xmas’ support data

Spend a few hours trawling through last Xmas’s support queries to pre-empt this year’s enquiries. Update your FAQs appropriately and reduce support queries and abandonment (it’s easier to shop elsewhere than contact support).

Xmas Top Tip 5: Test Gifting Journeys

You’ve spent most of the year optimising your site for your key personas, but at Xmas your site, especially if you’re a well-known brand, will become a destination for people outside of your usual personas.

Understanding the nuances of a Gifting journey becomes as important as how you provide inspirational gift ideas to visitors outside of your target market.

A round of UX testing with users outside of your usual demographic can quickly reveal what to optimise and why.

Xmas Top Tip 6: Test before your Xmas site is live

You don’t need to have your Xmas site live to start gathering user feedback. In fact, it’s probably too late for everything but copy changes when it is live!

You can start gathering user insight from the moment you have mock-ups, as you progress to a clickable prototype and (even if restricted by IP address) on your staging servers. 

Xmas Top Tip 7: Weather

You’ve probably already thought of implementing a countdown timer for deliveries on your site like the one below:

Equally, being prepared for inclement weather is crucial – ensure you’ve the space on your Home Page and in the header of each page to display poor weather delivery notices.

This example from John Lewis promotes Click and Collect as an alternative:

Xmas Top Tip 8: Test your Xmas Email Marketing Campaigns

Before you finalise content for your Xmas email marketing campaigns, why not test them with real users to validate the content and the “smoothness” of the journey from glossy marketing statement to website reality?

Gaining qualitative insight from your target market can transform the success of your campaigns and also generate ideas for new ones. Watch the short clip below (for a travel site) to gauge the type of insight you can capture:

Xmas Top Tip 9: Test the User Journey BEFORE your site

It’s not just at Xmas that the shopping journey begins on Google, a social network or a price comparison site, but at Xmas maximising conversions from these sources can have an exponential affect on your bottom line.

Gathering user feedback before users arrive at your site, from social networks, SERPS or PPC can help you optimise your campaigns and landing pages.

Xmas Top Tip 10: Make a New Year’s Resolution

Make a resolution for 2014 to deliver the best possible User Experience you can by basing your design decisions on user insight, not internal hunches. Start by UX testing your live Xmas site and documenting, ready for next year, the top 5 issues that users encounter and their top 5 suggestions to make it easier.

Benchmark your site’s Xmas UX (by testing with real users) against your closest competitor and the industry leader. You’ll be armed for next year with all the evidence you need to deliver an optimised experience.

Xmas is all about giving

Leave a comment below with a Top Xmas tip from your site. We’d love to know what has and hasn’t worked in the past.

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