Practical Ecommerce

Holiday Sales: Three Tips to Turn Browsers into Buyers

The holiday shopping season is upon us. Based on a 2008 study of more than 1.5 million people who used the Internet for holiday shopping, we found that the first week of October marks the start of the shopping season. That means it’s time to make your keyword list for both organic search optimization and for pay-per-click ads. And just as importantly, you should have a plan in place for browsers to your site.

“I’m Just Browsing” Could Turn Into Cash

Thanks to the economy, people are more likely to visit your website and view merchandise several times before making a purchase. Data collected from our study last year shows that consumers are increasingly more budget conscious, and may take several days or weeks to make a purchase. And a study recently released by McAfee, the online security provider, showed that of the 163 million shopping transactions they tracked, 65 percent of those shoppers waited a day or more to complete a purchase.

In the past we’ve called it shopping cart abandonment. Today, I’d like to propose a new term for it: opportunity. Here are a few tips to help turn those shoppers who are “just browsing” into paying customers.

  • Offer Special Incentives to Buy Now. Most everyone enjoys a discount. And by offering it to shoppers who have already shown an interest in your product, you are increasing the chances that they will purchase from you. Offer them a small percentage discount or throw in free shipping. Get creative with it. If someone is looking at buying a winter coat from your store, perhaps offer him or her a complimentary hat or set of gloves if they return to your ecommerce store and complete the purchase.

  • Follow-Up with An Email. Help browsers keep your company in mind by going straight to them. Offer multiple locations on your site for these browsers to opt-in to your email list, and then send them an email encouraging them to come back to your site, perhaps by offering them a special incentive.

  • Tell Your Customers About Your Security. Wouldn’t it be silly if you were losing sales because customers are worried that your site isn’t secure – but you know it is? Well, if you know it is, why not let potential customers know that as well. The McAfee study found that sales conversions were 11 percent higher for those online browsers when they were shown a security cue.

Follow-up to the End, and Beyond

Hopefully you have your online holiday campaigns and discounts in place very soon. But don’t forget to follow-through until December 25, and even afterwards. Last year we found that the week after Christmas experienced an increase in both conversions and sales.

Lisa Wehr

Lisa Wehr

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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Stas Antons October 6, 2009 Reply

    Hi Lisa,

    I think these are good tips – simple, clear directions that everyone can (and should) implement.

    I would only add that encouraging customer to interact with a product could also be a tipping point towards a purchase. The e-commerce started with text, then we added pictures, and now we have tools that allow customer explore various aspects of the product, all for the goal of providing needed info, while keeping the customer on the site.

    Thank you for the post,

    Stas Antons
    Smartsymbols.com