6 Holiday Survival Tips for Online Merchants
Millions of shoppers are going online this holiday season, hitting e-commerce sites harder than ever before. Merchants who want to live through the onslaught — and make a profit — should check their "to do" list twice for these six tips for surviving the holiday shopping season:
1. Prepare your site. Remove any out-of-date seasonal messages or images and add relevant holiday content. It's likely that more people will be seeing your site in the next few weeks than have all year, so show your holiday spirit with up-to-date messaging, colors and graphics.
2. Try a retargeting campaign. Have you considered display advertising to increase your returning customer sales? Take advantage of increased holiday traffic to your site to grow your list size, your percentage of return customers and, ultimately, your revenues. You can test a display advertising campaign with a minimum list size of just 100 unique visitors, so the high numbers of holiday hits to your site could give you the bump you need to get retargeting going.
3. Send a holiday promotional email. Yes, everyone will be sending a seasonal sale email — and you should, too! Consider giving your subscribers a great deal on a popular item. It's a tried-and-true method of increasing sales. Remember that email subject lines have a huge impact on whether your subscribers open your email (and eventually clickthrough to your site), so make sure to include words like "Holiday" or "Christmas" to let them know you're offering a special deal just for this time and that they better act now.
4. Offer a shipping promotion. A free shipping offer is great idea for the holidays, however, it's important to limit your offer — e.g., "Free Shipping on all orders placed today!" or "Enjoy Free Shipping on any order of $100 or more!" This tactic not only makes your offer more effective, but can also help you target specific sales goals.
5. Create a special promotional bundle. Online shoppers during the holidays are looking for great Christmas gifts and super deals. Offering a discount on the purchase of products that go together is an excellent way to boost sales. For example, pair matching address labels with holiday cards, or add an instructional music book to any purchase of an instrument and carrying bag. Creating and pricing a bundled deal takes some effort, but they're popular with holiday shoppers. Don't forget to promote the deal all over your website (especially your homepage) with messaging and banners.
6. More customers mean more customer service. Prepare for an increased volume of emails, phone calls and live chats from stressed holiday shoppers. You might consider bringing in some temporary help, creating FAQs, and preparing some ready responses to emails, live chats and phone requests. Above all, make sure your contact information is correct and displayed prominently on your site (the upper right-hand corner of your site is generally the best spot). Ensuring that you still deliver the highest levels of customer service will go a long way towards making customers happy this holiday season.
If you want to make the most of this holiday selling season, don't let Santa find you napping! Get prepared with these six holiday shopping survival tips to ensure your online store is ready for business this Christmas.