The 2010 holiday season is nearly here. With that in mind, Practical eCommerce will publish a few good holiday-selling tips each week. Our first installment, provided by experienced ecommerce professionals, is below.
Create Holiday Landing Pages
Create custom landing pages for your email, pay-per-click and other marketing programs, using the following steps:
- Show the breadth of products that you carry by displaying a grid of 30 popular products that represent gift categories.
- Include links to those gift categories for more ideas.
- Include a special offer that you don’t display elsewhere. Free expedited shipping and free bonus gifts are always good for the holidays. Percent-off discounts may not be the best option if you have already discounted the products in order to compete with other sites.
- Assure your visitors that their gift(s) will be delivered before the holiday (if that’s a promise you can keep).
Try using a winter theme with blue, white, silver as your color scheme so that your red ‘buy now’ buttons don’t get lost in a sea of red and green.”
“Think spring cleaning, but make it ‘holiday cleaning.’ Take some time to start from a fresh browser and find your site like a newbie would. Then add your most popular product to your cart and go all the way through checkout. Did it work as you remember it? Are there things you need to fix? Have you tried this in all five popular browsers, and on both Mac and Windows? Don’t let faulty assumptions dampen your holiday sales. Test, clean, and repeat until you succeed.”
President and COO
Make It Easier to Purchase
“Holiday shoppers in 2010 will expect a richer, easier shopping experience than ever. That includes rich content such as video, detailed product information, and better site search and navigation, whether on a computer, a phone or an iPad. Make it easy to take in the key information to enable a purchase. Consumers will have less patience than ever for text-heavy pages or a difficult-to-navigate purchase path.
“Remember that less can be more. Put the key information upfront, and simplify or remove anything that doesn’t help a customer buy. Focus on making the purchase as easy as possible, whether the shopper is on a product page, a category page, or in checkout.”
Director of Product Marketing
Hold a Brainstorming Session
“Hold an all-staff brainstorming session on what worked and what did not work during the last holiday season. The objective is clear action items for everyone involved, from software developers to customer service staff. If you’re working closely with a consultant (e.g., the developers that help you maintain and tweak your ecommerce software), try to get them to participate as well. Everybody will be on the same page, focused on what needs to be done better. If accomplished, this will also help you set goals that can turn into cash and non-cash incentives.”
Too Much Inventory Can Kill Profit
“You can’t go broke by selling out of an item. On the other hand, having too much inventory can kill your profit (and possibly your business). Be conservative with your estimates. Look at each item individually and compare its previous year’s sales to this year’s sales. Make sure you take into account external factors such as high-profile placements for an item. If an item you sell was in last year’s Oprah Holiday Gift special, you probably benefited, but don’t expect this again.
“And, when you do sell out of an item, ask customers to add themselves to an email notification list. This helps you gauge interest and determine reorder quantities.”
Got a great holiday idea? Email Kate Monteith at email@example.com.