December 17th, 2007 | 3 MIN READ

Tips For Converting Last Minute Shoppers

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation. (not the .com version) has a little poll on the home page asking "How Have You Done Your Holiday Shopping?" With over 5,000 responses it's not a bad sample size. I, of course, fall into the "Bought Everything Online" group, but I'm not surprised that 34% have yet to start their Christmas hunt for gifts.

Best Buy Poll Results

Almost 29% have researched online and bought in-store. It's a reality that some of your hard earned traffic isn't interested in buying online but they are looking for ideas. This is fine if you are a multi-channel retailer who can offer in-store pickup convenience. But what if you're selling purely online? Are you servicing "researchers" only to lose them to a local store? Now is your opportunity to present a compelling case for buying from YOU right NOW.

Tips for Converting Last Minute Shoppers:

1. Communicate the convenience of buying from you rather than a local store by reminding them of the pain of line-ups, parking and crowded stores. How you do this is up to you, get creative.

2. Now that most retailers' free ground shipping offers have expired,offer a break on overnight shipping, or free overnight shipping (like if possible.

3. Include free gift wrap so the item can be shipped directly to the recipient (or just save the shopper time).

4. Include a link to a gift finder section (if you have one) or other popular categories to encourage the customer to buy something for everyone on their list. "We've got something for everyone on your list" is good site-wide messaging (if this makes sense for your product offering).

5. Upsell with gift cards - especially electronic gift cards that can be delivered instantly.

Things to keep in mind for next year (design/strategic):

1. Many people don't want to purchase items sight-unseen. Showing multiple product views (zoom in, front/back, "search inside" (books), listen to sample (mp3), multiple colors) gives customers a better idea of what they're getting. For clothing, detailed size charts are essential. If your ecommerce platform can't handle this, you may need to upgrade.

2. Some shoppers are reluctant to buy online because they don't want to share credit card information. Offering multiple payment options like Bill Me Later, PayPal and Google Checkout may increase your conversions.

3. Plan your shipping offers in advance, make sure your website communicates shipping deadlines clearly on every page of your site. If you can, plan to offer a better shipping offer for the last week before Christmas.

4. If you don't already offer gift cards and electronic gift cards, make sure you do next year. These are no-brainer upsells and research shows most people love giving and getting them.

5. Plan to design a "gift finder" to help one-off shoppers find suggestions for others on their list (gifts for men, women, daughters, sons, boss, in-laws etc and by personality type).

6. If your ecommerce platform cannot support cross-sell / up-sell, consider moving on to one that does. Suggesting related items can help the shopping experience and average order value by suggesting alternatives, complementary and impulse items.

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