With half of the average retailer’s sales occurring in November and December, a company has to be ready to accommodate this increase in interest, especially if they have an online component. If you can prepare your online store the right way, you can boost your sales and take advantage of the extra traffic to the fullest. And it’s never too early to start getting prepared–especially if you weren’t ready for the holidays last year.
- Offer holiday promotions
The holidays are the perfect time to experiment with new marketing strategies. For example, special promotions can be used to draw in customers, increase sales, increase customer loyalty and build up your mailing list. It all depends on how you choose to frame your special offer and who you want to target.
Promotions will also depend on what type of business you have. If you sell a product, free shipping is a great incentive for a purchase. However, if you offer a service, a discount might be better suited. Other promotions include: buy one, get one free, loss leader items, and coupons. The best way forward can be determined by split testing each promotion.
- Offer small gifts to incentivize purchases
Everybody loves free stuff, and since the holiday season is a time of giving, you can use free items to incentivize purchases. The freebie does not have to be expensive in order to be effective. You can offer an item that is virtually free anyway, but which has value for your customers. This can include items such as: tickets to a special event, blank Christmas cards, ornaments, holiday themed books, excess items leftover from your previous season, gift wrapping, holiday music CDs or downloads, and many others.
- Partner up
If you work with a non-competing company that offers a complementary service or product, you can enter a joint venture for promotional purposes. This can include selling goods alongside other companies, in a package, or taking advantage of capabilities which you might not have yet developed in exchange for a percentage of the revenue. It can take months to find a good partner and iron out an agreement, so this is something you can start working on long before the holiday season.
- Promote your holiday offers
It’s best to start developing your holiday promotional activities in advance. The best way to do this, and perhaps the most cost effective, is through email marketing. You can build up anticipation by sending out emails teasing the upcoming special offers well in advance. Adding time limits to your offers can also create a sense of urgency, and help you spread your sales throughout the season.
- Promote credit card purchases
For companies that are working with merchant accounts and credit cards, the holiday season is perfect for promoting credit card purchases. Customers are much more likely to spend more, and spend on impulse, when purchasing with a credit card, so a good promotional strategy revolves around offering loyalty bonuses, or even special discounts for any purchases made with cards. For online businesses especially, locking in the sale with a credit card before the customer leaves your site is far better than taking the risk that the customer will pay you later or through a third party website.
For more information on how to prepare your online store for the increased holiday traffic, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.