Increase Holiday Sales

Cash In on the Holiday Rush
A few years ago no one shopped online. Consumer Spending Maintains a Steady Pace, according to VeriSign, bringing in $2.2 Billion in online sales during the second prime holiday shopping week, of the four primary weeks. All online shopping sites can grab a piece of this market, if they follow a few rules.

Target The Market
Successful sales in the holiday season involves targeting the right consumers, offering the right offers, and at the right time. In fact, having a holiday bonus section open to the public is a prime example of hitting the right target audience at the right time.

The first step is to learn who buys online, what they buy, and from where. An e-tailer of housing goods needs to know that people in the UK love to renovate their homes over the holiday. Finding a local distributor willing to offer fulfilment for your shopping cart is a first step.  Finding a local home and garden magazine or trade show willing to offer discounts or ‘two for one tickets’ in exchange for free promotion is a better idea.
Most ecommerce businesses are connecting directly with the buyers and building a brand and a connection that will increase sales, as well as connecting e-tailers with the pulse of the industry.

An affective strategy to open new markets is listing your products on a shopping comparison site or search engine such as Digxa.com and Shopzilla. This can bring a large number of targeted traffic to your site looking to purchase.

Stand Out From the Competition
One way to stand out from the crowd is to build holiday landing pages and front-pages. These can include count downs that remind consumers they are running out of time
How many times have you hit a website only to be faced with a shopping cart page that screams ‘buy now?’ A better idea would be to have a banner linking the landing page to the shopping cart, but also offer links to forums, reviews, and education pages. 

Why people shop for the holidays? It is all about fun and entertainment. Including entertainment through streaming video, audio feeds, podcasts, and a holiday newsletter will increase the connection with the consumer, and in turn, increase the opportunity to sell. 
Nurturing this partnership through community involvement, and convenience, will ‘brand’ the website as user-friendly. 

Expand the Sales Channels
Most ecommerce businesses have a single sales channel with one or two landing pages. This limits the opportunities the e-tailer gives consumers to buy. There are several opportunities to sell in today’s market including a private website, or several websites, ebay, prostores, ubid, Overstock Auctions, Bid4 Assets, Amazon.com, liquidation sites,  and even niche selling through sites such as www.squidoo.com or myspace will work. 

Each one will target a different type of consumer. Some venues such as Paypal or Yahoo shopping are used to draw consumers in to your website while ‘surfing’ the net. 

It is important to make sure your inventory management software will track feeds from the various comparison shopping engines, as well as track which ones have the highest instances of abandoned shopping carts, or the highest ROI (Return On Investment).

Free sites such as Google Product Search may look like a good idea, but Google’s AdWords shouldn’t be over looked. The free sites may help a business learn which keywords and items attract consumers who are ready to buy, instead of those who are just ‘looking.’ The trick is to avoid the high-traffic keywords. Sometimes the keywords that receive a few hits a month can generate more sales than the high traffic keywords.

Automate your shopping cart
As customers trust you with an order, don’t drop the ball with poor service and fulfilment. The automation process can be home-made using a database such as Access, or it can be linked through a fulfilment company. The important thing is that it ensures there will always be product available for purchase, and that the product can be shipped out immediately, or at least within 24 hours. Most important, it should allow the business owner to track orders whether at the filling-order level or while in shipping. 

There are both short term and long term suggestions in this article. Start with the ones that can be instigated easily, and those with the biggest impact on the consumer, not the product. 

 

Shopping Cart Software by Ashop