A recent report from Forrester Research Inc. states that US online retail sales this holiday season will reach $27 billion, a 23 percent increase over last year. Almost one-fifth of the nearly 4,000 consumers surveyed say that the Internet will be the place where they shop the most during the holidays. A national survey conducted by BMH Worldwide of 605 people reveals that the holiday season is a time of anguish for many shoppers and 44% said that parents were the hardest to shop for.
Undoubtedly, many of these shoppers will be going online to research creative gifts for their loved ones. Apart from cost advantages, online shoppers are increasingly looking at saving time, as well as getting their holiday shopping done in the most convenient way possible.
If your business operates an e-commerce website and counts on the holiday selling season for an important portion of its sales, this is a huge opportunity. At SendTec, we believe that it’s not too late to implement strategies to make the cash register ring this year. I will take you through my 7 top suggestions on how you can maximize your online marketing dollars while helping your brand stand apart from the clutter online — but you’ve got to move fast.
#1 – Join the Game at Half-time and Still Win Big
Your e-commerce website showcases some great products and you are hoping for a big sale season. However, if your ads do not show up when a consumer is searching a term related to your products, you are missing opportunities. When a consumer is searching a key word that matches what you sell, they are essentially “knocking on your door.” If you don’t show up on the first page of the search results that are delivered, you’re not answering the door.
Solution: The good news is you can get into the game at any moment and make an instant impact with effective search engine marketing. Smart, easy to implement tactics will give you immediate results. However, not all search engine marketing is created equal. It is also critical to implement the right mix of technology and human intelligence in your search campaign to get the most bang for your buck.
#2 — Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment
You’ve spent money on online media, only to see 50% to 75% of potential consumers abandon their shopping carts. Two causes: sticker shock once the consumer sees the total cost of all the items in the cart and charging too much for shipping and handling, (S&H). Last year, many online merchants offered free shipping. That’s likely going to be the norm this holiday season as well. When your competitors are a click away, S&H costs that are too high can drive someone away from your site in a click.
Solution: Offer free shipping or build it into the price of the product, so that S&H is no longer an issue. Consider including the free shipping promotion within the copy. That way, if your competitor is displaying the same offer, you will remain competitive in the space. In case your competitors are not offering a similar offer, you have created a competitive advantage. You may want to consider a minimum purchase before including free S& H.
To reduce sticker shock, display a running total in the cart so that it doesn’t come as a surprise at the end.