Planning Ahead — And Going Global — for Holiday 2015
Even though schools are just out for the summer, it’s already time to start planning for the 2015 holiday season. And this year, international sales should be a big part of your selling strategy, especially since people who shop internationally spend nearly twice as much as those who only shop domestically. The holidays give merchants the opportunity to establish new relationships and bring in new shoppers, while strengthening ties with existing customers. Thinking globally during the holidays will put you ahead of competitors and expose your business to a larger audience.
Here are four tips for reaching new global shoppers this holiday season:
1. Become familiar with country-specific holidays and buying trends for each. Online shoppers are busy over the holidays. A recent global survey conducted by PayPal and Ipsos found that 72 percent of Italian customers have shopped online, with 63 percent of them shopping on international sites. As an overwhelmingly Catholic nation, Christmas shopping will be big business. Chinese consumers also have a strong online presence, with 80 percent shopping online. While Christmas might not be a major holiday for the Chinese, keep in mind that Singles Day (November 11) sales in 2014 almost hit $10 billion.
2. Understand what motivates shoppers in certain countries during the holidays, and what they buy most. Once you’ve determined what markets you want to hit, you need to learn how to reach those consumers. What do they buy, how do they buy it and what motivates their shopping behavior? The same global survey noted that Brazilian customers, who are motivated by convenience and savings when they shop online, are most likely to purchase clothing and apparel, consumer electronics, or cosmetics and beauty products online. By contrast, customers in Norway are most likely to purchase travel and transportation items, as well as toys and hobby-related products.
3. Time holiday “early bird” specials just right. The NPD group found that 27 percent of customers plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving. This is good news for international merchants who have to factor shipping time into their sales. Encourage these consumers to purchase from you early with early-bird specials or rewards.
4. Amp up your mobile strategy. During one of the busiest times of the year, people will be on the go, at all hours of the day, relying on their mobile devices to research and purchase their holiday goods. In today’s mobile-first world, it’s not enough to just have a website. PayPal and Ipsos research found that shoppers prefer apps to browsers when purchasing via smartphone and tablet. If you’re considering optimizing for mobile, make that a top priority for your business so you’re fully ready for the holiday rush.
Melissa O'Malley is director of global merchant and cross-border trade initiatives for PayPal, a worldwide online payments system.