With Christmas in our sights (already here in marketing terms) minds are focused on seeing through festive marketing strategies. The Feed caught up with Zoe O’Connell, Marketing Manager of award-winning jewellery line Chupi to discuss e-commerce at Christmas, user-generated content and the importance of providing a seamless shopping experience online to the customer.

In your experience, what are the key challenges e-commerce brands face during the Christmas period?

Christmas is a noisy, crowded environment for most brands to compete in. Our Christmas strategy will focus on quality and delivering the best possible experience to our customer.

Everything you purchase with Chupi.com is automatically gift wrapped with the option to include a complimentary hand-written note and free shipping.

At a busy, stressful time of year we aim to provide a seamless shopping experience online and in-store and the perfect gifting options for our customers.

What role do you see content play in bringing to life digital campaigns that are targeted and memorable?

Content is king and will be a huge focus for Chupi in 2018.

We are currently planning our content strategy for the next few months – it will include a focus on video, UGC integration (user-generated content) and a refresh of our blog with more educational content for our customers.

What opportunities does e-commerce offer marketers over bricks and mortar stores?

We don’t go online anymore, we live online. E-commerce allows you to engage with your customers where they are spending the majority of their time.

It also allows you connect your other digital channels to the online store (for example: UGC integration on product pages) and give your customers the opportunity to shop from the comfort of home.

We offer 100 days free returns, free shipping and warranty so it’s a risk-free purchase for our consumer.

How can a brand with a small marketing budget make noise and stand out against its major competitors at Christmas? Where should they focus their efforts?

Build an authentic relationship with your customers, it sounds cliché but authenticity is key. Chupi Sweetman has done such an incredible job of maintaining a consistently authentic voice for the brand.

When did your Christmas planning get underway? When will it roll out? (Is there anything you can tell us about your Christmas marketing strategy at this point?)

Christmas planning starts for us in March. It’s a key trading time for our brand as it’s the perfect opportunity to treat a loved one to something sparkly they will treasure forever.

Our Christmas strategy will focus on what we do best – surprise and delight, amazing customer service and an incredible product offering. We have a very exciting limited edition product launching pre-Christmas but I can’t say anymore!

How important is the role of data in providing a better customer experience during the Christmas period?

Data is key for any online business in making better decisions about where you’re focusing your efforts and spending your marketing budget.

The aim is to get the right message, to the right customer at the right time.

How do you drive new customers to your online store?

Having a strong brand presence in market through a mixture of a consistent digital, marketing and PR strategy. Social media is a key tool for us to engage with our customer base and drive traffic to our online store.

We use it as a platform to share the story behind our brand, the meaning behind our pieces and the wonderful stories we receive from our customers of what happens the piece after it’s purchased.

How do you hope to make new customers come back to you after Christmas has been and gone?

Christmas is a key time for our business, but we focus on having a strong product offering throughout the year – we release two collections a year, designed by Chupi and made in Ireland.

We are fast becoming the to-go-to brand for the magic moments in people’s lives: birthdays, new babies, marriages, graduations and promotions.

Our customer’s are incredibly loyal and engaged with our brand so we create events and campaigns throughout the year to give back to them. Our launch parties are always an incredible night filled with drinks, decadence and sparkles. We like to think that Chupi is for life and not just for Christmas!

Chupi’s AW17 collection is available online and in-store now.