The Ghost of Christmas Past

Decorating your online shop for the holidays couldn’t be easier. No dragging out the ladder and boxes of upon boxes of this, that and the other. And no breakage!! If you decorate your shop home page with photos, special graphics or HTML messages, you can always copy/paste to remove the source code and store it in a tidy little file in your computer for next year. Then, open another file, copy/paste, add a new Gif or three and, “Tah-dah!” a brand new theme is in place.

At a physical location wrestling with a plastic reindeer on the rooftop may require a quick check of your medical policy to make sure you have adequate coverage should you or an employee slip and slide their way off the roof instead of taking the ladder down. But changing things around in a virtual way is definitely physically undemanding. There are no ropes of Christmas lights to wrap themselves around you boa-like, threatening to strangle what little holiday cheer you have left out of your body. No need to pack glittering mobs of fragile decorative things into large, sturdy boxes, followed by vain attempts to stash all those boxes back into a closet, where when you least expect it they tumble down, avalanche style, smacking you in the head. And, if in a rush to get things packed away after the last 4th of July holiday you neglected to label the boxes, you find yourself peering into the closet a few days before the next 4th of July, scratching your head and mumbling, “Humm, I wonder which one of these boxes contains the flag and the red, white and blue bunting”?

But when it comes to holiday decorating, the one thing online shops have in common with the outside world is the tendency for some people to leave holiday decorations in place long after the holiday is over.
Adding holiday decorations to your shop or holiday text to item descriptions can be useful sales tools. A 'theme' can give a more intimate, personal feel to your pages. It puts a human face on your shop by reminding customers that a real, live individual manages the online shop, one who marks the passage of time by celebrating special events throughout the year, just as they do.

Decorations can also evoke pleasant memories. They often help a customer to feel welcome, putting them at ease. And a tastefully decorated shop with interesting bits of information related to a particular holiday can create an inviting atmosphere, and evoke a warm, friendly feeling from the shopper. This in turn may encourage a shopper to linger longer and to make a purchase, or to at least feel comfortable enough to contact you to discuss an item that has caught there attention.

But allowing a holiday theme to remain in place for weeks or months past the holiday can create an altogether different impression such as implying you are lazy, careless or insincere. And, they may conclude your stock is stale which is not very enticing. Having such phrases as, “would make a great stocking stuffer,” or “just in time for Christmas” or even, “**Happy New Year!!~End of Year SALE~!!!” posted within an item description or on your home page when March is ‘roaring in like a lion’ does not do much to encourage a warm, fuzzy feeling for the visitor. Make a date to check your shop for holiday specific text and graphics the day after the holiday has ended, and remove them.

Although most e-commerce mall sites generally do not have a specific set of guidelines for holiday theme decorations for shops, we suggest moderation and keeping things within the bounds of good taste. Not all customers will find all themes to be relevant or necessarily enjoyable. You don't want to so overwhelm the visitor with fancy imagery that they overlook the items on your home page, either. You want to draw attention to your merchandise, not away from it. But, if you have trouble keeping things tasteful or have a tendency to leave Christmas decorations up until they finally just fall off the roof or can be spotted swaying listlessly in a hot August breeze, we think it would be best if you abandon the idea of decorating for the holidays, and keep your shop dressed up with an appealing style or brand specific theme.

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