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Archive for November, 2011

With Black Friday right around the corner, the holiday shopping season is rapidly shifting into full gear. According to Forrester Research, online sales for the 2011 holiday season are expected to hit $59.5 billion which would be a full 13% increase over last year. With this said, the 2011 holiday season offers online retailers significant sales growth opportunities.

The following tips will help you create an online shopping experience that’s conducive to increasing sales for the holiday season. So if you haven’t already applied all of the following recommendations, there is still time to start taking advantage of them.

Dress Up Your Online Store for the Holidays
Adding holiday themed banners and ads to your site can help increase holiday sales since they convey to your shoppers that your site is up-to-date and ready for the holiday season. Dressing your site up for the holidays also naturally encourages your site visitors to think about shopping for friends and family on their shopping list.

Enticing Holiday Promotion Offers
Actively promote your holiday promotions by email and with on-site ads that reinforce your offers. Make sure that the products you promote are popular items that will convert into sales and that they include strong offers such as free shipping or percentage off discounts, since these types of offers convert at higher rates. Also, make sure your holiday promotions have strong calls to action and that they direct shoppers to landing pages where they can immediately take action and make the purchase. Keep in mind that many holiday shoppers turn to the internet for both simplicity and savings. Make sure you’re giving them a great reason to buy from you now and make it as easy as possible!

Promote Suggested Gift Ideas
Develop a department on your site that’s focused on gift suggestions and promote it throughout your site. The reason for this is twofold. First, many of your visitors will come to your site to shop for themselves and by seeing the suggestion of gift ideas they may be further influenced to make gift purchases for their friends and family as well. Second, many visitors will land on your site who are actively gift shopping and the easier you make it for them to find gift ideas quickly, the more likely they will be to buy.

Product Images & Content that Sells
Review your product images to ensure they showcase the perceived value of your products. Consider adding additional product images as applicable that offer alternate views of the product. Lifestyle shots can also help increase your online sales. People naturally relate to products they see other people using and enjoying. Also, make sure your product descriptions are well written and address the questions your site visitors are most likely to be concerned about before making a purchase.

Up Sells & Cross Sells
Suggestive selling is a powerful marketing tool that can increase your online sales immediately. Up selling and cross selling should be applied year-round and further refined for the holidays. For example, if you offer a product and related up sell products are available, make sure to offer the up sell items as suggested items. Also, if you have products that have add-on accessories available, make sure you’re offering the add-on products as cross sells. Don’t leave these valuable sales opportunities on the table.

Work Your Social Networks
Let your social networks, such as your Facebook friends and Twitter followers see that you’re in the holiday spirit. Add holiday related content to your wall posts and tweets. Consider updating your profile pictures and backgrounds (where applicable) to incorporate holiday themes. You may be pleasantly surprised by how many people will end up connecting with your site due to creating this top of mind awareness that you’re there for them for the holidays. Also, don’t be afraid to occasionally promote offers through your social networks such as special coupon codes for your Facebook friends or Twitter followers. You might be surprised at how many of them will appreciate this and share these with others.

Dressing up your website for the holidays and providing enticing holiday promotions will generate more interest in your site during the holiday season and ultimately more sales. Make sure you’re maximizing your selling opportunities by suggesting great gift ideas, refining your product content, applying effective cross sells and up sells, and actively cultivating your social networks. Creating an effective holiday presence requires some extra planning and work, but the potential rewards are well worth it. And if you’re doing it right, it can be a lot of fun for both you and your customers.

Happy Holidays!

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