For the majority of online stores, the holiday shopping season is what makes an entire year’s worth of work pay off. With the bulk of shopping taking place the first two weeks of December, it’s typically considered the highest grossing month of the year. That may be so, but the normal suit that follows is a relaxing January, and this is the time many store owners miss out on additional sales.
Not to say the first month of the new year will surpass sales of any other month, but it can definitely beat prior years if you follow a few key steps.
Exchanges vs. Refunds
A good way to keep money in your hands is to promote exchanges of one product for another product. While some customers may prefer a refund, if you don’t even mention a store credit option, you’ll find yourself giving back a great deal more money than necessary.
Last year, I worked with a handful of sites who proposed store credits, and roughly 46 percent of shoppers accepted them in lieu of actual refunds.
Another good reason to accept PayPal is to reap postholiday rewards. More and more parents give students (and others away from home) instant cash for the holidays to buy what they wish. American Express gift cards are also popular, giving reason to consider accepting a wider variety of payment methods.
While I don’t always find value with every online store cross-selling on eBay, the auction site is a prime place to unload out-of-season, overstocked and slightly-damaged items. Die-hard eBay shoppers look for great sales by searching through the leftovers from the holidays.
If you haven’t checked out Woot.com, it might give you inspiration. The site simply sells a single product each day at cutthroat pricing. By giving you only 24 hours to make a decision to buy, they attract many impulse buyers, and I know several people, including myself, who make it a daily routine to check the site. (They also have a humorous method of describing each product.)
If you have overstock items, consider running a similar selling campaign, enticing shoppers to return to the site regularly. In turn, you’ll also want to strategically place other popular items on key pages, or as related items to the “deal of the day” page.
If you support a product line that is often accessorized, it makes sense to spotlight accessories and maintain competitive pricing. I know of three iPod accessory stores that sell more after Dec. 25 than they do from Nov. 1 to Christmas. When I got my six-quart KitchenAid mixer, the first thing I did was hunt for attachments.
Maintain Shipping Discounts
Online shoppers are used to post-holiday sales, but they are also used to shipping rates returning back to normal. You can stand out from others by maintaining discounted shipping rates through January because few stores actually realize the value.