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Shopping online for Christmas: Tips for brands to excel in the holidays

By Guest Contributor


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Photo: Gustavo Fring /Pexels

As we all know, the time leading up to Christmas tends to fly by. To get the most out of this high-turnover period, fashion companies should definitely start their preparations early. The first step is to take a thorough inventory: Is one’s technology up to date? Can one guarantee performance even with high access rates? And: Does the store achieve a good ranking on search engines?

Technical optimisation of the e-commerce system often requires adjustments to the code. In the case of older software versions, this often involves longer lead times, and may even only be possible after updating to a newer version. Optimisations with regard to SEO also usually need more time before they have an impact on search results at Google & Co. One should therefore plan them well and implement them promptly.

Christmas with a difference

Marketing campaigns, on the other hand, tend to go live shortly before the festivities. Brands can therefore start a little later. When preparing creatives, texts and ads, this has the advantage that they can even integrate product releases that are not published until around Christmas without any problems. However, since the competition also opens the big advertising fireworks more or less at the same time, it is important to clearly differentiate oneself from them.

But how to best go about it? One option is to choose a different time for your own campaign. Instead of beating the drum before Christmas, it can be a smart decision to focus on the period after the holidays. Especially with regard to the big discount battle that rages around Black Friday at the end of November, this offers high-quality brands a much more suitable environment.

A charming example of this is the email campaign of footwear brand Mahabis. Instead of running the risk of getting lost in the busy Christmas season, it addresses its customers by newsletter during the quieter festive days. The offer: Those who didn't find the loafers they wanted under the Christmas tree can now treat themselves to them. There is a “gift” of a 25 percent discount on selected products.

Mahabis email campaign. Photo: Screenshot via Interlutions

Gifts instead of discounts

Another slightly “different” approach is to turn away from discounts altogether and instead use gifts as an incentive to place orders. The high-priced cosmetics brand Niche Beauty shows how it is done: In stark contrast to the motto “a lot for little,” it offers its customers “The Festive Bag”. This is an exclusive product set worth 395 euros, which is free with orders of 250 euros or more.

What is special about it is that with this campaign, Niche Beauty is not only encouraging customers to fill their shopping carts well, the company is also playing on the desire to get something that is reserved for only a few. On the one hand, “The Festive Bag” comes in a strictly limited edition, and on the other, it is not available for purchase in any other form. Fans of luxury items in particular feel perfectly catered for in this way.

“The Festive Bag” by Niche Beauty. Photo: Niche Beauty website screenshot via Interlutions

A box full of possibilities

In general, so-called “curated” gift sets are basically a great solution for creating customer experiences for Christmas. The label Ivory Ella, for example, combines the exciting feeling that comes with unwrapping a gift with the typical Christmas wish of doing something for others in the form of its Holiday Surprise Boxes. Their contents are not exactly known beforehand, but are worth twice the respective purchase price.

At the same time, 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the Surprise Boxes go toward the “Save the Elephants” project, which protects elephants and their habitats in Kenya. With gift boxes, however, companies can also help solve typical Christmas problems. The classic: shopping at the last minute. Fittingly, skin care brand Fleur & Bee offers “last minute gifts” that don't seem like them and also sends them on priority basis.

In this context, it is highly recommended for companies to clearly communicate to their customers by when they can still guarantee deliveries from the online store to reach before Christmas. For this purpose, online retailer Mytheresa has set up its own subpage on its online presence, on which it announces the last day until which “festive season deliveries” can take place via express shipping.

Finding gifts instead of searching for them

Christmas tips and inspiration also contribute to increasing e-commerce sales. Online retailer Net-a-Porter has found a particularly creative way to do this: Instead of just listing products, it developed individual theme worlds for its gift guide. Suitable articles are compiled here for types such as “the adventurous” or “conscious consumers”, ranging from body care and cosmetics to accessories and clothing.

A little less extensive, but no less affectionate, is the range of gifts from Soft Goat. The sustainable fashion brand has launched its own Christmas collection especially for the festive season, including a knitted dress, turtleneck shirt and skirt in festive Christmas red, as well as an elegant Christmas stocking and several toiletry bags in muted colours.

At Max Mara, a mascot teddy comes to the users' aid when searching for gifts. The women's fashion label focuses on the cuddly factor for the cold season and brings together cool dresses and real statement coats made of teddy fabric as well as super-cuddly accessories such as hats, scarves and gloves and some Christmas novelties in its Christmas category “Teddy Holidays”.

Merchandising under the Christmas tree

And speaking of a “different” kind of Christmas: Branding Christmas articles offers brands a wide range of options for cleverly positioning themselves in the Christmas setting. The well-known champagne brand Moët & Chandon, for example, relies on simple elegance and decorates white Christmas tree baubles with its logo. Software giant Microsoft, on the other hand, is using the “ugly sweater” trend to create a truly special Christmas story. And even the design experts at Tesla are not above putting on their own extra ugly Christmas sweaters. In short: to stand out, it's okay to be a little less contemplative - even at Christmas.

Christian Schmidt is managing partner of the Open Digital Group as well as chief creative officer and co-founder of the digital agency Interlutions. In this position, he has been developing brand presences and campaigns for national and international clients since 1999. Interlutions operates in the fashion sector for clients including Young Poets (formerly Tigha), Preach, IC! Berlin, Ulla Popken, Unique, Laona and MyTheresa.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.de. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.

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