Last Christmas, it was reported that retailers’ online sales were up 21% from the previous year, and with consumers looking to spend even more online this year, it is important to make sure you have everything retail ready for Christmas 2016.

By now, it is likely that the strategies for early shoppers and cyber weekend deal hunters have been implemented and executed. However, there is still time to maximise on the late Christmas gifters and sale savvy customers who shop later in the peak period.

Below are a few extra considerations to make sure you are organised and maximising the digital opportunity at this time of year:

  1. Budgets, budgets, budgets – daily spend budgets should be in place ensuring there is enough spend budgeted for boxing day and January sales
  1. Promote clear last delivery messages – this is really important for last minute shoppers and is the key message many retailers will be highlighting
  1. Advertise click and collect – online sales through click and collect have grown from 8.8% in 2011 to 22.5% in 2015 for multichannel retailers, meaning it is crucial to highlight this service
  1. Optimise mobile – many people will be hitting the high-street to find the perfect presents for their family and friends, therefore we recommend having Local Inventory Ads live and optimising for ‘near me’ mobile searches to match your customers shopping habits
  1. Sync TV advertising to online activity – at this time of year TV Christmas advertising is the prominent marketing activity for many retailers. Maximise this activity by pushing PPC and Paid Social channels when TV adverts air to see an uplift of visitors to site while your brand is front of mind
  1. Help your customers – make the lives of Christmas gifters as easy as possible by ensuring there is a stress-free online experience to take away the pressure of the last minute rush. For example, create helpful gift guide content directing users to perfect presents
  1. Deal with customer complaints effectively – Christmas can be a frustrating time for shoppers as things can go wrong due to the large volume of purchasing over this period. Ensure you have a customer service social media team who is sufficiently equipped to deal with any problems in a timely and appropriate manner throughout this busy time
  1. Be organised – a festive calendar highlighting key promotional days should be created, with crucial promotions signed off and locked in
  1. Communication is key – ensure all team members are aware of the plan and their part in executing a successful peak period
  1. Learn from experience – use data and key learnings taken from Black Friday and previous Christmases to ensure your peak campaigns reach their full potential. You can find out more about how to use data to predict the shopping behaviour of your consumers with our peak planning guide.

When the tinsel has been taken down and the mince pies have run out we’ll be writing a roundup of Christmas 2016 in online retail, so watch this space to find out about the successes and challenges of this year’s festive period.