For many merchants, the holiday season is the largest sales period of the year. In this “Great Ideas for the Holidays” series, we’ll be asking ecommerce experts for ideas to help online retailers.
For this first installment, we’ve asked Massimo Arrigoni, CEO of Early Impact, which publishes the ProductCart line of licensed shopping cart software products, at EarlyImpact.com, and John Montague, owner of Spotlight Retail, operator of 20 niche ecommerce sites, at Spotlightretail.com.
Offer Free Shipping
“Free shipping is a must. It’s by far the primary reason for shopping cart abandonment according to many studies. To offset the cost of this, focus on high-margin complimentary services like gift-wrapping. Make the fact that you do offer free shipping very visible through text and graphics.” – Massimo Arrigoni
Create a Gift Center
“With a ‘gift center,’ you can tell visitors which of your products make great gifts and why. Let them quickly realize they’ve come to the right place. Make your gift center visible everywhere, starting with your home page and using multiple links (both text and holiday-feeling graphics). In the gift center home page, direct different market segments to different sub-pages, such as gifts for grandpa, gifts for mom and so forth.” – Massimo Arrigoni
Offer Guaranteed Delivery
“Offer guaranteed delivery via an expedited shipping service for a reduced flat fee. During the holidays, both UPS and FedEx typically do not guarantee delivery for ground shipments. Most consumers are also buying gifts at the last second and ground shipments may or may not make it in time. If they don’t, you have an onslaught of customer service issues waiting for you shortly after the holidays. Offer the expedited guarantee on your products for a small additional fee, even if it means losing some margin on the sale. You’ll generate more sales and reduce the backlash of customer service issues. The perceived value of having that gift in time is huge.” – John Montague
Forecast Inventory Needs
“Forecast your inventory requirements. Although the drop-ship model is more and more prevalent, there is no substitute to a seamless operation than managing your own inventory. Therefore make sure that you have the supply on hand to meet the elevated demand during the holidays. No product, no sales.” – John Montague