Making holiday online sales work for you

Making holiday online sales work for you

17 Jan 2019

Christmas is done & dusted for another year, but did you pick up any tips over the silly season on how better to run your business online?  We found about 95% of the shops we visited over the Christmas period to be wanting. 

Most retailers of any size have a Christmas sale - because they work. The Christmas season is the biggest shopping event of the year, and holiday sales can account for up to 48% of their annual revenue. Therefore, you need to plan ahead and take steps to prepare for the upcoming season.

But it’s important not to be so generic, you want your sale to be unique so people will come to it.

Increase your Christmas sales

  • Discount or a Gift? - Discounts are always a better alternative, because some people may not want the gift, or already have enough of the gift .. whereas everyone loves to get something cheaper.
  • Don’t be cheap on your Discount! - The model Linda Evangelista once said “I don't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.” The same goes for discounts. Unless it’s a worthwhile discount of 25% or more, people just won’t waste their time.
  • Brand Discounts - Many people are brand fanbois & would love a big discount on their favourite brand.
  • Make your sale an event - Are you just having a sale, or, are your having a ‘Countdown to Xmas sale’, ‘We overstocked for Xmas Sale’, ‘The 12 days of Xmas Sales’? Offer things like free gift wrapping, personalized gifts, or some other kind of Christmas cheer added to their purchase.
  • Email or Social Media Marketing? - In spite of social media's viral potential, email still wins as the most effective means of targeting your Christmas promotions. Email marketing can be up to three times more effective than social media. But don’t just limit it to one email marketing campaign. Spread the campaign out over November and December. If your clients purchase the same types of products on a regular basis, you can try spreading the variety of products over daily emails. Alternatively you could try once per month on a series of products. The important thing is to court them personally & inject the warmth of Christmas.
  • Window Displays - Bricks and mortar stores often attract customers in with beautiful window displays and music. Just because your store is online, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make your online storefront more festive with a nice Christmas theme, or some festive animations like falling snow or other Christmas themed motion. It’s important not to just decorate your page, but to grab buyers attention and entice people to buy the products your are promoting. You can also look at gift bundling as Christmas promotions, gift baskets are very popular.
  • Brick & Click - If you have an brick & mortar stores as well as an online store, you can use Christmas as a perfect opportunity to get customers that normally only buy from you online, into your offline store. Offer online codes that they can bring into your store for discounts or free offers. If they live locally, you might find you have a recurring customer.
  • Gift Wrapping  -  A simple & inexpensive way to attract customers.  Sending a gift in a brown box with an invoice isn't exactly how you want your gift delivered is it?  A couple of check boxes on your order form fixes that.  The invoice will only be emailed to the customer, the gift can be gift wrapped & a car attached.  Many do this service for free, other will charge a small fee for it.  Either way it is adding an extra service to your customer.

Usable Websites 

Not just a requirement, but an expectation.  The web was designed to be usable by everyone, and that is what is expected when someone visits your website.  Give a bad first impression, and see how the next website for them is only a click away. Issues like navigation, speed, contrast, privacy, etc.  This sale season is your chance to attract & keep customers.  All kinds of people with all kinds of physical and mental abilities will be visiting your website. From teenagers to the more senior, from one culture to another, and many using different currencies with different tax laws.  There are also many very bad people who people are suspicious of now, so why should they trust you?  Make sure that your website is usable by everyone.  If you need an upgrade, come talk to us!

Delivery Expectations

Don’t offer things like Next Day Delivery, unless you can. Many online retailers fail in this area. It doesn’t matter how cheap or how great the product is that your customer has bought from you, if delivery is too late. So it’s important to check with local delivery companies and your postal service, on what are the expected delivery cutoff times & how long it will take to deliver during rush times. Then on your website notify customers of these cutoff times & expected delays.

Closing Down Over Christmas/New Year

Many online shops close for holidays over the Christmas period, and you might be considering this too. It’s important to let your customers know this with a warning on shop product pages. A lot of people will try buying post Christmas because they either get paid late, or won’t get the time prior to Christmas to buy, so they bookmark products to buy at a later time. The fastest way to lose a future customers is to not make them aware that you are going to be closed for holidays when they are wanting to buy.

Don’t just expect the holiday sales to rush to happen & make heaps of money. Take time out to plan, put preparations in place.  I was surprised to see the mechanics behind one of the most popular shopping precincts in the World, Oxford Street.  Nothing is left to chance & they are continually thinking outside the box. No matter how big or small you are, the same principals apply.

These tips can also be used over other universal holidays, such as Mothers Day, Fathers Day, easter, etc.

Cindy Arlott

By Cindy Arlott

Web Producer, Creative Director, Content Creator & Distributor at clearFusion Digital, & specializes in helping businesses plan & grow their website.

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