Just like you would decorate your store, once the Holiday Season starts you should add a holiday theme to your website.
Above all other marketing campaigns, this theme change will signify to your visitors that the holiday season has arrived. The theme change should take place whenever you start your holiday marketing. If your first holiday email or print ad is November 15, 2011 then that's when the website theme should change. Otherwise we don't suggest changing the theme until the evening before Thanksgiving.
Here are some good suggestions from what we saw during the Holiday 2010 Season and previous years from a few retail jewelers.
Let's start with some suggestions to modify the header of all your pages. You could add a specific link to your header navigation menu. Last year Land's End added the word "GIFTS" with a stylized background to make it look like a gift box. It was cute and attention getting.
In November 2010, Sephora took it a step further and added a complete holiday sub-menu in their header with links for "weekly specials," "$25 & under," "value sets," and "gifts that ship free." We really like this idea because it also lends itself to orientation in the left menu navigation or a footer navigation.
Another reason we like this Sephora method was because it provides a much faster user interface for your customers. New visitors that don't know how to navigate your site will quickly click the link for the exact holiday shopping reason they are there. This method also allows you to set up these pages ahead of time and then just turn on the links when the season starts. In other words, you can set up those pages now with a special collection of jewelry then link them from your Sitemap page so Google has time to index them.
Other changes to your design could include adding snow or snowflakes to your header or background. Over the years, we've works with a few jewelers that had snowflake backgrounds appear for the holiday season and then automatically turn off after a designated date.
Every year BlueNile.com changes their background from the blue color with hand writing to a blue color with snowflakes. We expect they will continue that tradition.
Other ideas include images of wrapped presents in the header, or even a snowman. Try to stay away from anything that can be interpreted as a religious symbol, such as a Christmas tree, and stick to more wintry motifs.
In our experience, jewelers who focus more on their brick and mortar store tend to have photographs of the storefront, the inside of the store, or their employees on the home page all year round. This helps to immediately portray that they are a real store and not an e-tailer. During the holiday season you can swap out these normal photos with photos showing the holiday decorations inside and out. Group photos of the staff dressed in holiday colors could also be added to the home page or used on the Meet our Staff page.
Holiday countdowns to Christmas vary in popularity for jewelry stores. Over the years we've seen retail stores include "Shopping Days Left" countdowns in their header for Christmas. As a side note, these countdowns have also been popular for the run-up to Valentine's Day and other special buying events that are not specifically religious in origin.
Let's move now to possibilities for decorating the footer of your website.
Your page footer could provide a lot more room for holiday messages without upsetting the normal design of your pages. You can add links to extra pages, holiday graphics and even large image banners that include holiday imagery and messages.
With the freedom of design space you can again present a faster user interface with individual options for "Gifts under $500," "Gifts under $200," "Gifts for Mom," "Engraved gifts for Dad," and "Gift Cards." Don't forget the gift card option because some people will simply want them.
Another important choice would be a large footer link to a gift registry or wish lists. In fact, you should say something like "Find someone's wish list," as well as "Start your own wish list."
What other special service offerings do you have during the Holiday Season?
Free prong inspection?
Free ultrasonic cleaning?
Each of these could also be highlighted in your holiday footer.
Since you never really know where your websites visitors will come from, brick and mortar stores without e-commerce capability might also want to provide a larger clue of their local area. As part of your holiday header or footer you could include the words "Smallville, KS Local Jeweler" or perhaps "Serving the Smallville, KS Region." This message will help Google determine your geo-targeting for your site, and it will help local customers recognize you right away when they arrive on your site.