I was just listening to the late night news, and they reported that the upcoming Holloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons may not be merry holiday seasons for retailers. As the financial markets crisis deepen, there are fears that people will not spend as much this year for gifts, holiday preparations and other items (worse, they may not have anything to spend at all).
So how do you position your online retail store to ride out this tide of bad news and emerge with strong sales during the holiday season? It’s a tough ordeal but here are some suggestions:
- Emphasize the convenience and savings in gas, time and money for shopping in your online store instead of driving to the mall. There are no lines, no parking hassles, no parking fees, and no crowd. Plus, no waiting for the store to open because your ecommerce store is open 24/7. Use this pitch in your email campaigns and in the copy of your website
- Depending on what you sell, present yourself as a one stop shop where customers can get most (if not all) of the gifts for their list. If you have not done so, invest in technology that will allow your online store to include gift recommendations and guides as well as gift finders.
- Consider free shipping — with conditions. You may choose to give free shipping only to those who spend a certain amount (e.g. $75 worth of items) or to your email subscribers or to your best customers (assuming of course you are tracking who your best customers are)
- Give free gift cards or discounted offers on the next purchase. In lieu of free shipping, you can offer a discount for repeat purchases within a certain timeframe. Since the customer has bought gifts for the people in their list, why not entice them with discounts so they can buy gifts for themselves instead?
- Promote gift cards. Gift cards have become the gift of choice of many gift givers. It is so convenient, and ensures that the recipients will actually love their gifts.
- Review your sales copy. Make sure you clarify your store’s value proposition. The last thing you’d want is for the customer to check out your product — and then buy it from another store. Put yourself in the shoes of the customers and ask, “Why should I buy from you?”
And if you haven’t done so already, start marketing your holiday sales now.