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December 4, 2017

6 time-saving tips to boost efficiency over the Xmas period

We’ve worked with numerous global retail brands on gearing up for Christmas. It can be a tough time of year for ecommerce businesses, as brands prepare their Xmas and New Year campaigns. We hope you find this blog to be a useful guide to being efficient during the Christmas trading period.

1. Planning is everything

If you want to save time and have a smooth (as possible!) seasonal trading period for ecommerce, a clear plan is essential.

Ultimately, you need answers for the following questions:

  •      Who is doing what and when? A Gantt chart is your friend here!
  •      What is the process?
  •      What happens if the overall business plan changes?
  •      What happens if someone is sick? Who takes over?
  •      What will you do if you’re way off target? Have a contingency plan
  •      What happens if the website gets an expected surge in traffic? Are you going to be         able to handle the demand?
  •      What happens if the website falls over?
  •      What support will be available from your ecommerce hosting and support partner?

2. Plan from your last delivery date and work backwards from there

When we said that planning is everything, we really meant it! There’s nothing more important than planning your campaigns and messaging around your last possible order date for a pre-Christmas delivery.

This enables you to work backwards and ensure that the stories you’ll be telling, in the lead up to Christmas, are all in sync with how your business trades and delivers.

For some companies, this date can change and at short notice, so leave some room for flexibility to cater for the potential of that happening.

3. Think about the data you ask for at checkout

This time of year is critical for evaluating what data you want to collect for future marketing. Is it time to ask for less? Or is it a real opportunity for you to find out a little more about your customer?

One common data question during the Xmas season, is to ask if the purchase is a gift. This enables you to segment that customer in future marketing campaigns as someone who has perhaps only ever bought a gift.

You might go on to encourage that customer to treat themselves in the near future. Or perhaps you’ll suppress them from some of your regular campaign emails and include them in a gifting campaign next Christmas instead.

4. Tweak automated emails and social retargeting

We recommend making some changes to your email automation and social retargeting during Christmas campaigns. It’s surprising just how many brands overlook this.

For cart abandonment emails welcome emails, and so on, add a festive touch to the logo or email template and any special banners or sections, such as last order dates for Christmas delivery. Consider changing the rules, so these emails are sent a little faster, to make the most of these campaigns.

As for social retargeting, be careful with your budget and keep a close eye on campaign performance. The dials can be volatile at this time of year, as browsers hit the two extreme ends of the scale:

  •      Window shoppers (casual browsers – low propensity to convert)
  •      Prime buyers (hot prospects – very high propensity to convert)

Most marketers fail to identify who fits into which category here, resulting in a lot of wasted spend on trying to convert window shoppers. Be efficient with ad spend on retargeting website visitors.

Read our blog on retargeting: 5 top remarketing tips to attract repeat purchases

5. Plan what happens in January and February now

Whilst it might be tempting to wait until mid-December to really cement your plans for the new year, the reality is that you’re really deep into seasonal trading at this point. This means that there’s little time to plan anything else!

Get ahead and scope what you’ll be doing, who is needed and when you’ll be doing it.

6. Run a pre-mortem workshop

The deepest learnings come from practice. When things don’t go as planned, this often happens live, when the campaign is in full swing. It can mean disaster! But it doesn’t have to be that way. Running a pre-mortem workshop will enable you to avoid potential pitfalls.

What is a pre-mortem workshop? Well, it’s pretty simple – you hold a mock workshop and you look at all of your plans, seeking to identify areas where your plans might fail.

Obviously, the plan is yet to be executed, but by looking at it with this perspective, you can see where things might go awry. It’s a great opportunity to bring customer services, logistics and other teams into your planning. They’ll be able to spot any potential issues that might cross into their department.

Need any further convincing? Pre-mortems are actually really fun to do and you always learn something that you wouldn’t have found out without running one.


We hope these time-saving tips will help you to improve your efficiency during the holiday season, to increase your performance levels – and stay sane at the same time!

Space 48 is a leading UK ecommerce consultancy, based in Manchester. Specialising in Magento ecommerce website development, we help brands to create award-winning omnichannel strategies. Need help with your seasonal campaigns? Contact our ecommerce consultants and see how we can help improve your performance.