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Is your shop ready for Christmas?

22nd September 2013

Every year, roughly around the last week of July, Harrods, open up their Seasonal department selling hampers and goods ready for Christmas.  The unveiling of the Christmas shopfront gets a mention as well if it’s a particularly good one.

It does seem peculiar that while we are basking in the soaring temperatures, and looking forward to the Summer holidays, the Marketing Department at Harrods are deciding on the best champagne to offer the super-rich in their £20,000 Christmas hamper (yes you did read that figure correctly!).

On writing this article, we are just approaching the end of September and just like every other year: daytime TV commercials are mainly for toys and most of the supermarkets and stores have a small seasonal department that will only get larger from now until December.  The websites of the popular High Street stores haven’t got their Christmas decorations up on or offline yet.  But give it another month and each one will have a prominent Christmas section in place.

As with every year, DVH Design, is currently working on a couple of ecommerce websites that have a deadline to be up and running to take Christmas orders, but they should already be online taking orders by then.

Let me give you an example:  Tracey, one of my Facebook friends, boldly announced on 11 September that she has already got her presents wrapped up and ready for Christmas and was just about to start writing her Christmas cards.

I don’t even consider any preparations for Christmas until after my birthday (which is exactly 5 weeks before Christmas).   But I guarantee almost everyone knows one person who leaves their Christmas shopping until the last minute.   My recent Facebook Research

So judging from general feedback, the average shopper does their Christmas shopping around mid-November.  But your online shop needs to be ready before September.  This way you not only get the Deb’s, Vicky’s and Andy’s, but also the Tracey’s and Michelle’s.

But  it doesn’t stop there:  Just like Christmas itself, you need to prepare at least a month or so before anyone arrives at your shop.  After all, how do they find your store in the first place?

Seasonal Keyphrases:  Just like with any other time of the year, you should compile a list of keyphrases that your target market audience is likely to be searching for.  For example, a dressmaker may rely on a phrase such as christmas party dresses whereas a store specialising in onesies would adopt a more problem/solution apparoach eg christmas gifts for teenage boys.  A good tool for this, is Google Trends or if you have a Google Account, try the Adwords Keyword Planner tool  (you don’t have to sign up for a CPC account).

Google trends show a steady seasonal line for Christmas party dressesGoogle Trends show a steady seasonal line for Christmas party dresses

Content:  Having a good idea of which keyphrases to use is a good start. but you really need to include Christmas categories in your shop, indicate that you’re now taking orders for Christmas.  Maybe later on around October/November, take this up a notch and emphasise Christmas more on your home page and include information such as the latest day/time for orders to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve.  This not only gives the search engines time to crawl your site and list your seasonal changes but also indicates to your visitors that they have come to the right place and their search hasn’t been in vain.

Amazon Delivery DatesAmazon have a Christmas delivery page set up

And Harrods are now taking orders (circled)And even Harrods are now taking orders for Christmas hampers (circled)

Advertising campaigns:   Cost-per-click or paid advertising campaigns should also reflect  the holiday season early on.  You should also set up a separate seasonal advertising campaign to run simultaneously with your everyday one.

In my humble opinion, it is bizarre to begin thinking about Christmas during a heatwave (even a bit depressing), but then again Harrods are a very successful brand and a source of inspiration amongst retailers.  Where they set the initial benchmark, other stores follow.  So what are you waiting for?


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