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8 Last Minute Holiday-Sales Boosters

I’ll be honest. The key elements for increasing traffic and sales this holiday season should have been put in place by October 15th. That doesn’t mean, however, that all hope is lost for those who’ve procrastinated or otherwise failed to implement seasonal changes.

Whether you didn’t get that head start you needed, or you’re looking to tie up a few loose ends, here are eight things that can benefit nearly any type of online store this shopping season.

8 Last Minute Holiday Boosters

  1. Offer Free Shipping. Crunch the numbers (do the math). Free shipping is a top incentive for people to buy; so if you can offer no-cost delivery with a low minimum purchase amount, you’ll likely close more sales. Most companies can afford to do this. Does it eat into profits? Sure, but more often than not the benefits (more sales) outweigh the drawbacks (un-recouped ship costs).

  2. Extend Guarantees. Since many online shoppers during November and December are buying gifts, they want the flexibility of returning an item after the holidays. Extend return and exchange deadlines until at least January 15th (preferably January 30th) to instill confidence in shoppers looking to buy at your site.

  3. Chip In on Gift Certificates. If you sell online gift certificates, sweeten the deal by adding a bit more to the balance. For example, someone pays $20 for a $22 gift certificate. A mere 10 percent bonus can help you sell more certificates, which translates into additional revenue (shoppers redeeming gift certificates will often spend more than the certificate amount).

  4. Accept More Payment Methods. Shoppers want options, so if you don’t accept PayPal, Google Checkout and/or Amazon Payments, you’ll likely miss out on some sales. Additionally, these alternative methods are preferred by some shoppers because of security – their credit cards and bank information are stored in one place.

  5. Offer Gift Wrapping. Small businesses may benefit by wrapping gifts that are being shipped directly to recipients. At the very least, offer the option to include a gift message on packing slips or to include a personalized note card.

  6. Give them Ideas. With minimal effort you can create a landing page or category page that spotlights popular gift items. Be sure to include both low and higher price ranges, starting at $10 to $20. The purpose is to guide those who don’t have a clue what to buy for spouses, relatives or friends.

    An example of specially priced holiday gifts.

    An example of specially priced holiday gifts.

  7. Offer Shipping Choices. Besides free shipping, customers also like the flexibility of selecting carriers and methods. If it is feasible to add additional options quickly, do so.

  8. Help a Charity. People love helping others. So if a portion of their purchases will help those in need, it just might be the final promotion that prompts them to buy from you as opposed to someone else.


While the holiday shopping season is highly competitive (I receive nearly 25 email offers daily), small business stores can still benefit by making simple changes. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to prove your worth to new customers, in hopes of converting them into regulars.

Pamela Hazelton
Pamela Hazelton
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