Christmas is a key period for most retailers and each year more people are buying more gifts online.

Data just released by comScore confirms that UK online sales are significantly higher in November due to Christmas shopping. Using the 1st 4 weeks of October 07 as a base, online shopping was:-

* up 7% w/c Oct 29th
* up 24% w/c Nov 5th
* up 23% w/c Nov 12th

In 2006, UK consumers spent £7.7bn ($15.8) online in the 10 weeks leading up to Christmas which was a 54% increase on the previous year.

Which poses the question, which web marketing strategies do you have in place to capture more sales between now and Christmas?

Web marketing tips for companies big or small

Make it easier for people to buy – provide gift ideas

Most people (me included) struggle to think of suitable presents for friends and family. It’s a great opportunity to use the power of the web to make life easier. Provide inspirational gift ideas. Better still, group them into presents suitable for different consumers (boys, girls, mums, dads etc) and /or by department or product category and / or  by price band. So someone, wanting to buy a present for a 15 year old boy for £15 would immediately see a range of suitable gifts. Feature the gift ideas prominently on the website navigation and key selling spaces.

Create some festive theatre

Traditional retailers know that it pays to dress up the store in a Christmas theme. It gets people in the mood to think of Christmas earlier than they might and encourages extra purchases. UK department store John Lewis are also doing this online with Christmas themed illustrations appearing in a subtle way on most pages. They also include a whole range of gift ideas as outlined above.

Leading UK supermarket Tesco also have a strong Christmas theme with a link to their Christmas TV commercial featuring the Spice Girls.

Communicate your Christmas offers in your newsletters

Put together a list of relevant compelling offers and send them to your mailing / customer list. Ideally, try and tailor the offers based on previous purchase history.

Consider using sub domains with Christmas themes

Someone searching for Christmas gifts is more likely to click on than

Use Christmas terms in your PPC marketing

Please let me know which websites you find particularly good (or bad) for Christmas shopping.

n.b. comScore tracked the number of visits to secure web pages of UK online retail websites.

Remember web marketing is about solving customers’ problems profitably.