Just last year, US consumers spent a whopping $781 billion on Christmas gifts, and almost half of these purchases were made online (45% to be precise). The numbers weren’t different in other parts of the world, for instance in UK, where a record amount of online sales were made in Christmas Season, with 1 in 5 non-food items being purchased online.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again.
If you are selling online, and are not making the most of these occasions, you are most certainly missing a trick or two. At a time when consumers are flocking online stores and sales are reaching an all-time high, the surge should reflect in your sales? So, how prepared were you last year? How prepared are you this time around? And how prepared will you be when the next big occasion arrives?
Ideally, the planning and preparation should be on course a couple of months before the big day, but it’s never too late. Even when Christmas is just a couple of weeks away, you can still take note of the following tips, apply it to your online store, and make merry with whatever little time is left.
1. Get in the Groove
If you were visiting a mall to buy a Christmas gift for your loved ones, would you step towards the shop that is well lighted and decorated, or the one that hardly seems to bother? It’s an easy choice, when you are out for Christmas shopping; and you are in festive mood, you will obviously be more attracted towards a shop that depicts the festivity.
Website: It’s the same with online stores. If you are looking to take advantage of the occasions like Christmas, Valentine, or Halloween, your store needs to resonate with the feelings of your target audience.
So the first step is to decorate your online store. The options are endless, you can simply customize your logo, use a colorful banner, or use a custom-made script or plugin to give your website a nice little snow falling effect (wherever it doesn’t distract or annoy your shoppers).
Social Media: Social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest can be an ideal platform to kick-start your Christmas marketing campaign. Studies suggest that a majority of consumers will check the brand’s social media pages before making an order.
So, just like your website, your social media profile pictures, posts, tweets, and updates should depict the celebrations, starting from an occasional post every once in a while, and getting more focused as the day approaches. Use hashtags, get them talking about how they will celebrate, what they like the most about this particular occasion, and so on.
Special occasions like Christmas, Valentine, or Mothers Day are the perfect time to launch a special offer, competition, or sweepstakes at social media for maximum impact.
Newsletter: While I write this article, I have received a newsletter from a small business community, listing all the businesses in their directory who sell products that you can use as a Christmas gift. I hardly ever click on a link in promotional emails, but just out of curiosity, I did. My point being, that it’s another way of giving your target audience a timely reminder, so they know where to go for Christmas shopping.
2. Make it as easy as 1-2-3
Regardless of the festivity and celebration element, Christmas shopping can be quite stressful at times. From choosing the right gifts to passing through big crowds and long queues at checkouts can get on the customer’s nerves. If you want to get more sales on Christmas, you’ve got to make it as easy as possible for your customers.
As an online store, you already have an edge over shopping malls or brick and mortar stores, as customers can shop from the comfort of their home. But there’s a drawback as well. Unlike shopping malls, where shoppers can get advice from shop assistants, online shopping requires them to think of and search for the right products themselves. And there are so many different options to consider. Simply creating a separate category or offering discounts on a couple of products doesn’t cut it. You need to provide them with some form of user-friendly guidance.
Suppose you are having trouble finding a suitable Christmas gift for your spouse while staying in your budget. Now imagine an online store where you have to sift through hundreds of products and decide. Komplett uses Guided Selling in the form of a Christmas Gift advisor to help stressed out shoppers pick the right gift. All that shoppers need to do is to answer a few simple questions like …
- For whom the gift is intended?
- How old is she?
- Is she into gadgets?
- What’s your budget?
The advisor generates several options that meet the shoppers criteria and budget. It take out the stress, and it is fun. You’ll not only get a sale, but you’ll get a happy customer who is likely to return when another such occasion arrives.
The Last-Minute shopper: Using a seasonal gift advisor is also perfect for last-minute shoppers who already start getting a little panicky. These customers will appreciate every little help they can get, and Guided Selling coupled with some last-minute discounts is all the help they’ll need.
Mobile shoppers: Same goes for the customers who approach your online store from a mobile phone or tablet. They don’t have the time or space to browse through the categories, or try a dozen different searches before they find a suitable gift. If you can give them a solution that seamlessly takes them to the right product, they will most likely grab it with both hands.