8 ways UX can enhance online shopping in the festive season

With Christmas, New Year and Sankranti around the corner, online purchasing is bound to heat up and here is how UX can make the experience better

Some customers have a love-hate relationship with festivals. They love bonding with their cousins but hate hunting for gifts. Though, of course, this is a necessary activity. And more of it is happening online. The country’s burgeoning digital populace – projected to touch almost 700 million users in 2020 – creates a massive spike in online activity during the festive season. Many brands make around 40% of their annual sales during this period alone. So it’s important to use good UX to help customers find what they want and finish their shopping quickly and effectively. To figure out how that works, let’s take a look at some customer behaviours during the festive season:

Aligning UX To Consumer Behaviour During Festivals

  1. Appeal to the customer’s inner Sherlock

Customer’s behaviour: We Indians are canny pre-shopping researchers. Come the festive season and this ability goes into overdrive, magnifying glass and all. The customer is out there, looking for something new, comparing prices and scouting for the best deal.

UX implications: It’s important to break through the clutter at this time by creating a large number of useful starting points that pop up on your site and link back to your products such as “Trending looks this festive season”, “Lighting ideas for your home this festive season” or “Perfect for an Eco-friendly festival”. Chances are the customer is too swamped to think about all this on their own so this kind of help provided by your app or site will help them a great deal.

  1. What to do about relatives that a customer is unsure of?

Customer’s behaviour: Some family members are easy to shop for. Some are very hard. There’s always that aunt or uncle whose tastes we aren’t quite sure of.

UX implications: You can “re-present” some of your merchandise during the festive season in terms of gifting categories. Sections like “5 great gifts for fathers” or “Your aunt will love this” should be upfront on the site. They will not just catch the browser’s attention instantly but will also streamline and concentrate their efforts and help them save time. This contributes to a great overall experience, one they’re sure not to forget soon.

  1. Timely gift > perfect gift

Customer’s behaviour: Let’s face it. Some customers mostly get to their shopping list late. That means they’re going to be anxious about delivery. If they don’t get the right guarantee at the right time, they’re likely to renege on their purchase.

UX implications: To reassure customers who are obviously shopping for an occasion, communicating the delivery date clearly will be extremely important. Because the festive season is a time when timing takes precedence over everything else. Allow them the option of a faster delivery period so their loved one gets their gift on time. Give them updates so they know it’s on the way. And if someone absolutely needs it by a time that you cannot ship it by, consider redirecting them to a store of yours near them that they can walk into and pick it up. It’s better to redirect them to another channel than to lose a customer after all.

  1. Don’t forget to sync offline and online

Customer’s behaviour: Now there’s one thing some customers do during this time and they’re not afraid to indulge in it. They go online for the research and then look to shop for the same thing in retail stores. Somehow, they’re convinced they can get a better deal offline. This is a bugbear for online marketers. Many report millions lost when consumers browse but leave without buying, presumably to fulfill the need elsewhere.

UX implications: Once a customer has zeroed in on a gift, enrich their experience by plying them with the right offers at that point in the purchase. It could be discounts, cash back or just free gift-wrapping. Whatever it is, close the dissonance at this stage of their experience and seal the deal so you don’t lose them to an offline store. For brands with online and offline presence, ensure the Customer’s online experience is linked to the stores. If they start to spend too long oscillating over a product, tell them that they always have the option to check out the product at the nearest store. Supply them with the address and the store timings. Close the loop.

  1. Video killed the grapevine

Customer’s behaviour: A covert shopping behaviour among many people is that they look up videos on YouTube for suggestions instead of asking their friends about it. If, say, a customer wants to buy a camera, there’s a high chance they will look for a video to find out more about its performance and reviews.

UX implication: Enrich the Customer’s experience with links to relevant, contextually rich videos so they can be better informed right there. This sort of digital intertextuality can enhance shopping experiences greatly and lead to conversion.

  1. Show me the money!

Customer’s behaviour: Festival shopping is exciting but it can also burn a hole in one’s pocket. It’s natural for customers to look for the best deals.

UX implications: Craft a shopping experience that allows for easy financing options, if they apply, and which are visible and comprehensible easily to browsers. Many of these gifts are likely to be big-ticket items and so the right message about financing at the right time can go a long way in closing the deal. It’s also important to let customers know they can cash in on those coupons at this time of the year.

  1. Do you want to send a note?

Customer’s behaviour: The only thing more satisfying than finding the right gift for your best friend is customising it. But, too often, customers have no time, considering they started festival shopping late.

UX implications: Surprise the customer. Ask them if they would like to personalise the gift and make it more special. There are many ways you can make this come alive for the customer. You can offer a range of gift-wrap options, making sure to obscure the price label, of course. Or to add a note. Or even flowers. Little touches like these will delight both the customer and the person they’re gifting and create a memorable experience all round.

  1. Build the festive world

Customer’s behaviour: The festive season is a time when customers are happy and receptive to all sorts of new ideas. This creates opportunities for rich, diverse content. A customer might be in the market looking for a new outfit for a festive party. This means that they’re also in the mood to binge on a new haircut, try some new dessert recipes and maybe even check out the new neighborhood restaurant.

UX implications: Don’t make it all about the product or the service. Create the festive world. If you’re a food site, share tips on how to make the perfect healthy and tasty Diwali sweets. If you’re a décor site, explain how to elevate the lighting of the room in 3 simple steps. If you’re a fashion site, win them over with tips on how to pair certain clothes with simple, DIY accessories. Content like this has great influence during the festive season when people want to look their best and appear like they’re ahead of the Joneses!


Online purchasing is sure to heat up with Christmas, New Year and Sankranti around the corner. Make sure that in addition to great merchandise, you’re creating an easy, happy, thoughtful experience as well. This way, when your customers go online to shop during the celebrations, your brands can engage them at the right time with the right message to create the most alluring and complete experience. May the best experience win!

By Sharan Grandigae, founder and CEO, Redd Experience Design


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