The fourth quarter of a business year always promises lots of sales. And in 2020, due to the coronavirus, sales have increased particularly strongly for B2B online trade. To leverage this momentum for Christmas sales in 2021 too, companies should put measures in place early on. Here are some suitable proposals.
Significance of Christmas sales for retail
A total of 83.3 billion euros – this is how high sales in online retail in Germany were in 2020. Compared to the previous year, this is a plus of nearly 15 per cent (72.6 billion euros). Growth in October and November was even higher. According to a consumer survey by the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel (bevh) (German), the online sales in this period increased by some 17.5 per cent compared to 2019. This underscores the ongoing significance of Christmas sales.
Of course, the good result was largely due to the restrictive measures to dampen the spread of the corona pandemic. Most brick-and-mortar shops had to close their doors for a longer period of time. And it is not clear if the sales-generating effect will be repeated to this extent in 2021 too, considering vaccinations and the goal to ease restrictions.
But for many Germans, online orders are today a standard part of their purchasing behaviour – and this won’t change. Profiting from this is e-commerce for B2B Christmas sales in 2021, granted you prepare for it in advance.
Advertising measures: make your online shop more well known
The online boom has toughened the competitive situation, and online retailers have to reckon with more competitors when it comes to Christmas sales. They should consider this when planning budgets and the strategy for B2B marketing. For instance, today there are events in the run-up to Christmas such as Singles Day (11 November), Black Friday (26 November) and Cyber Monday (29 November), for which campaigns need to be planned. The dates mentioned cater mainly to private consumers, but they are also important for B2B customers as a way to satisfy demand.
The goal of online shops should be to grab attention and stand out from the competition. The following measures are suitable for preparing for individual event days, as well as for the entire Christmas-time business:
- The foundation is a solid forecast. And not only in terms of the business. Based on the expected increase in order volumes, additional seasonal workers and warehouse capacity will be required. The numbers from the past help to put together a forecast.
- The ordering process should possibly be tested and slimmed down. After all, the easier the process is, the easier it is for a B2B customer to place an order. Aim for as few clicks as possible.
- Plan the online advertising in advance and realise it in line with the target group. As channels you have social media, landing pages, emailings or ads placed early on with Google Ads.
- Apropos Google: B2B customers also use the search engine for researching offers and products. Which is why companies should focus on SEO and SEA for their Christmas sales and adapt these to the expected search behaviour.
- Depending on the product, it can be worthwhile to take additional marketing measures. These can include exclusive articles for blogs and vlogs, podcasts and special interest media.
Christmas design and special Christmas promotions
B2B customers also react to emotions. And you can conjure these up with the right decorations in your online shop, for instance. This includes the standard graphical elements like baubles and Santa Clause, angels, candy canes or snowflakes, bells, fireplace, candles and reindeer-drawn sleighs. Important is that the motifs fit the content and design of the website or the products.
This also goes for Christmas promotions in the online shop. Here, special rebates make sense – eventually in combination with a digital Advents calendar – or vouchers. What’s also recommended: free express shipping with delivery guarantee.
Put your server to the test
The increase in demand at Christmas time puts the performance of your IT infrastructure to the test. If and where bottlenecks may occur can be determined via a stress test of the server and other contributing aspects. This should take place early on in order to identify the digital bottlenecks and expand capacity if needed.
If this is not possible, affected companies can rely on special cloud solutions. These can be booked for a certain period of time and to the desired extent.