Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Your Online Store Ready

Is your online store ready to hit the ground running when the holiday season rolls in? What separates your store from the zillion other online stores and what will make a shopper stay with you and buy? Find out how coupons, free shipping and an optimized shopping experience can make or break your holiday bottom line.

Coupons. Special Offers. Discounts. In order to compete, you've got to give buyers a reason to buy. In a recent online survey conducted by Zoomerang and Savings.com, consumers reported they much prefer to shop online and 87% of them are planning on using online coupons to purchase gifts this year. In fact, as many as 35% of shoppers say they won't buy at all unless it's a "great" deal.

Shipping Deals.  In addition to coupons and discounts, buyers want free shipping. Its all a part of creating that "great" deal buyers are looking for. Begin shipping promotions early to provide value and convenience. Participate and register with third party events, such as Free Shipping Day.

Communicate.  The more you communicate with your customers, the more they will come back to buy again. Be sure to reply to questions quickly and accurately and respond to any negative customer feedback. Make it easy for customers to contact your customer service when they need help. Collect customer data to email and offer incentives and specials to entice them to purchase again. Now is a great time to connect with them if they have just made a purchase and are happy with the product, pricing and delivery.

Optimize Your Storefront. If your store needs an update and a new look, now is the time. Use clear product images with alternate views and the ability to zoom in, if possible, when listing and showing your products. Provide detailed descriptions to give the consumer a clear understanding of your product. Display those coupons, discounts or shipping deals, front and center! Visit Frooition, an eBay store and listing designer, for additional help.

Stock Up.  This may be your busiest time of the year, so be sure to stock up. Secure additional funding to buy inventory, supplies or extra staff with a online funding company such as Kabbage, which aims to provide funding and online selling tips tailored to each specific customer.

Hire Holiday Help.  Experienced retailers hire throughout the entire holiday season. They know that to keep your employee pipeline humming, you must be continually hiring. New employees who already have a connection at your company through a friend or family member tend to be more loyal and dependable over the course of the holiday season. Be well staffed for Cyber Monday, Green Monday, and Free Shipping Day.

2012 Important Dates to Remember (and Promote):

  • October 15th. Get a jump on Black Friday by planning “the week before Black Friday” sales.
  • November 26th, Cyber Monday. One of the busiest shopping days of the year for online retailers
  • December 10th, Green Monday. Over the past six holiday shopping seasons, “Green Monday” has consistently ranked among the top spending days of the season and has tended to be one of the heaviest online shopping days as it is one of the last days consumers can purchase and still receive shipping by the holidays.
  • December 17th, Free Shipping Day.  One of the last days when merchants offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.

by Dale Gaines
Customer Care