The end of the year is soon upon us. Retailers everywhere are ramping up for the holidays, which for some translates to a third of their annual sales total, and the online retail space is no exception. Indeed, last years’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated $7.9 billion in sales to become the biggest online shopping experience in US history. This coupled with the multiple holidays during October through December make Q4 a prime time to realize some serious profits.
With expected sales increases of up to 4.4%, and with mobile commerce predicted to account for half of all holiday sales, now is the time to pull out all the stops to boost your online sales and gain an edge over your competition. Thankfully, this is not all that hard to do. With some simple steps, you can bolster your e-commerce business to make this years closing a memorable and impactful one. So, here are just a few ways to keep your sales hot holiday season.
Holiday Specific Deals
The four seasons are, generally, distinct times of the year. Fall and winter don’t have the same feeling as spring and summer. Your needs change in each season; what you buy in the spring may not be the same as what you buy in the fall. So, do not offer the same promotions, sales, or even products year-round. Selling bikinis in October might not be the best idea as it would not fit the season; a sale on gloves would be more appropriate. That is not to say you need to change your entire inventory or store every season, but adding some time based changes is a good idea.
If you are feeling bold, debut a new product during the end of year season. Introduce a new print of an existing item or a new flavor of a food item specifically for the holidays. By releasing a limited time item it creates further appeal. A special seasonal offering is an effective marketing tactic that creates a sense of urgency in customers. No one wants to miss out on the new hot thing so more customers will want to see the new offering.
Consider the average American supermarket- it is commonplace to see new displays and deals as the time of year changes, especially during the holiday season. You will generally not see a sale on ice scrapers in August, but you will see that sale in November. This principle applies to online stores as well. Stay current on trending products, highlight your holiday-oriented products, maybe even put a few of them on sale, and you are sure to see results.
Easy Checkout System
When customers do decide to add items to their cart and proceed to checkout, do not throw up extra roadblocks. The checkout process should be easy, simple, and as quick as possible. The key to the checkout process is to get what you need as a company without driving the customer away.
For example, too many companies require a customer to make an account to buy anything. This is a massive barrier to sales. As a business, it makes perfect sense that you would want a customer to make an account. A customer account contains valuable data your company wants, but that data collection comes at the detriment to the customer experience. Adding the ability to checkout as a guest without registering for an account will increase your sales numbers and improve the customer experience.
The checkout process should be easy, simple, and as quick as possible.
The core element of checkout is the payment, the financial transaction from customer to business. You want to keep this step as pain free as possible. Accept as many payment methods as possible, including new methods such as cryptocurrencies. Customers are trying to give you their money, so take it in whatever form that money comes in.
When customers are entering their payment information mistakes can happen, whether it is entering the wrong zip code or card number. Customers need to be alerted when they made a mistake and that means implementing an error system. A good error system highlights the incorrect information without resetting the entire page. Keep the correct information while pointing out what needs to be fixed. Not having to re enter correct information goes a long way in keeping a customer happy.
Branded Tracking Page
Once the transaction has been completed, it is time to deliver the goods. The customer has parted with their money and are now expecting to receive their product in a reasonable amount of time. There is no way to magically make items ship faster-shipping takes time- but that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to make the wait better.
How many times have you bought something from an online store and gone to track your package only to be taken to a third party site like FedEx? Sending a customer to a separate website means you lose the ability to brand the page and you have given the control over the customer experience to a different company. What if there was another way?
Sending a customer to a separate website means you lose the ability to brand the page.
Branded tracking pages are a new alternative. These pages allow your customers to track their order easily without any extra steps to navigate. Not only is this a more streamlined experience, but you also get to keep your branding on these pages. Link to other deals on your store, keep your brand image in your customers’ minds for longer, and extend the amount of time a customer has a positive experience with your company. These pages are easy to set up and customize to flow seamlessly with the rest of your website. Not only do branded tracking pages help your company, but they also help your customers.
The end of year season is a time of gift giving, entertaining and spending. With a few simple tactics and changes, the end of year can also be a great time for boosting your business. By following the suggestions in this guide you can make Q4 one to remember.