Each consumer has their own motivation for shopping online but during the Christmas and New Year period you may notice a distinct shift in the shopping habits and behaviours of your digital customers.

Seasonal shoppers tend to fall into three motivational groups: those who are passively browsing for gift ideas for themselves or others, those actively making an immediate purchase and those who hope to capitalise on discounts in the January sales.

To make the most of these seasonal shopping trends, engage your audience, increase click-through rates and optimise conversions, make sure you are doing some of the following things.

1. Make the most of mobile

IMRG reports that mobile now makes up 45% of all online purchases made in Q4 of 2015. This trend is only set to continue as the ubiquity of smartphones, coupled with better user experience on mobile and more effective ways of reaching customers via ad retargeting, is driving the increase in mobile sales.

Despite almost half of online purchases taking place on mobile, however, checkout abandonment is still stubbornly high at 35% on smartphones, that’s 52% higher than on PCs. It is essential, therefore, that you offer your customers a fully mobile optimised checkout experience, minimising payment friction and providing an effortless payment process to lower your checkout abandonment rates.

2. Offer Discounts

Christmas purchasing may well prove to be a peak in your annual revenues but the end of December doesn’t mean the end of seasonal transactions, consumers expect discounts in January and are keen to snap them up.

In comparison with traditional January sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a new concept yet our own data analysis reveals that shoppers looking for a good deal are now buying more discounted items online than on the high street.

Transaction volumes increased by 32% on Black Friday and 8.5% on Cyber Monday and it’s possible that these sales spikes could be enjoyed by online retailers again in the New Year sales.

3. A Shareable Wish List Facility

According to BigCommerce, wish lists like those used by retail giant, Amazon, really help increase engagement and conversions. They discourage consumers from using a shopping cart as storage for items they want to remember but don’t intend to buy, and encourage account creation.

Once registered, you can use wish list data to send customers timely reminders about their selected items and updates on the price and availability of them, make additional product recommendations and enable them to share their wish lists via social networks or email for others to purchase from.

4. Get Festive!

Help your customers to view your products as the perfect Christmas gifts by updating your images and product descriptions with seasonal imagery and content, offering a gift-wrapping service and being clear on cut-off purchasing dates for shipping.

5. Social Media

Audience engagement has become increasingly important for any retailer selling online and social media is now a vital tool for communicating and building relationships with your audience.

A social media strategy has become standard in any coherent marketing campaign but the effectiveness of it relies on utilising the latest technologies and services available. In 2015, some of the most effective social media marketing tools were new Carousel and Native advertising.

Research by Kinetic Social found that Carousel ads embedded into Facebook and Instagram generated a tenfold increase in click-through rates, while the Digital Marketing Institute report that Native ads including “rich media (like video) boost conversions by up to 60%.”

Shopify offer some great tips on how to set up Carousel ads for your own eCommerce store in time for Christmas.

6. Payment Methods

Throughout the year, shoppers from anywhere in the world could find themselves in your store and over the Christmas period this could mean a significant increase in international visitors.

Consumers in different parts of the world prefer different payment methods. While credit and debit cards, digital wallets and PayPal are popular in many countries, 55% of Dutch consumers prefer iDeal while the majority (38%) of German shoppers use ELV, a direct debit payment service.

The choice to offer alternative payment methods requires weighing up the potential revenues vs. the costs but we can help you decide which payment types are right for your business. Simply contact the team here at Realex for further advice and information.