As a partner in Pleth Networks, a leading e-commerce development firm, I have a lot of experience dealing with E-commerce on the web. I thought that I would put together this “lengthy now that I have finished it” blog entry on the topic of Increasing Sales this holiday season. Everyone is always looking for easy ways to increase their sales, especially this time of year. With Christmas shopping just around the corner it’s a well-known fact that everyone will be spending money like never before in the next 3 weeks. How is the best way to capture online sales during this 21 day timespan? Here are a few thoughts…
Offer Special Holiday Sales, Specials, or Closeouts
Everyone loves a good deal, even if they are only saving a few dollars it still incentive enough for them to buy from you. I know this from personal experience. My wife went shopping last year with a few of her friends from church, the went to Branson, Missouri and shopped the outlet’s. She came back with a holiday vase of some sort that is large in appearance. It typically is displayed next to our entertainment center in our living room. It’s a pretty enough article I guess, but did we really need another piece of holiday decoration? I found out later from her, after several attempts, that the vase cost $100. I get the feeling that it might have actually been a little bit over $100 when tax was added onto it. When I rolled my eyes after hearing the news her response to me was that it was on sale for half price. Thank goodness we got in on that deal, somewhere in America there is a dude sitting in his living room admiring a $200 vase just like mine… The point I am trying to make with all of this is that if a person has a large shopping list they are more likely to purchase gifts that are reduced in price or possibly tagged with the word “closeout” because they instinctively think that they are getting the “best possible deal”… By doing a special holiday promotion or closeout this is also a way to generate good cashflow at the end of the year to increase your inventory for the next season.
SEO and PPC (Pay Per Click) Campaigns
Hopefully your website is coming up in the search engines well for your targeted keywords, we try to stay on top of search engine optimization for our clients but occasionally when the search engines make changes to their algorithms we in turn have to adjust our clients sites accordingly which may sometimes result in a timeframe where their site doesn’t come up as high as it once did. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on this but a lot of time it’s honestly the luck of the draw, there are some factors that will separate you from your competition. For instance, if your competitor has a website that has been online for 7 years and you have only been online for the past 2 months you aren’t going to pull up as high as your competitor. Age of Domain is just one of many factors that dictate your natural search engine ranking, I just threw it out there as a “for instance”.
If you aren’t a regular PPC, pay per click, user, this is probably the best time of year to consider making such a move. Pay Per Clicks are links that you pay for based on your keyword. These are offered through a variety of services out there, we recommend and manage PPC campaigns for our clients in both Google and the MSN/Yahoo networks. We have found that both of these networks for pay per clicks are effective to increase sales. My business partner Stephen is a web marketing guru, click here to request a proposal and ask him what suggestions he might have for your website this holiday season or click here to learn more about Pleth’s SEO and PPC Services.
Social and Viral Marketing
Another thing that I think will be pretty big this year is blogging, it’s already big, but I am referring to the impact it will have in increasing sales. There are already a lot of consumer blogs out there for people to research products, I would definitely do my best to get involved in any conversations I could run across when they related to products that I am selling. By getting involved I would post links to that product in my online catalog, if there is already a conversation going about prices and where to get the best deal for that product you might have to adjust your price accordingly to be competitive. A good way to search blogs for product reviews would be to use a service like Google’s all-new Blog Search, I have blogged about Google Blog Search recently here.
Another thing you might also want to consider would be adding a Blog of your own to the mix. There are many ways to promote your blog out there, I will get into that in another post, but by pushing your products on a blog it’s been proven to have a positive effect on sales. I liken blogging about products you are selling to having a customer walk into your “brick and mortar storefront” and inquire about a product, you just blog, or type your sales pitch is the only difference. If you are interested in getting your own blog to support your website in tandem on the web, click here to request a proposal and I will be happy to discuss your project with you.
Email Blasts and Newsletters
What better way to stay in touch with your customer base than through email newsletters. With all of our e-commerce solutions our software allows clients to create an account and opt-in for newsletters and email blasts from the site owner. So many times I see clients neglect this tool and it often makes me wonder why. These customers have already established an account with you, their information is retained in your system, they can order products from your store with just a few clicks as opposed to having to establish an account and enter all of their information on your competitors website. Convenience is huge. Plus, when marketing to past customers you already know that they have an interest in what you are selling because they have bought from you before. With this being the case I would venture to say that your return on investment for whatever marketing campaign you roll out would be exponentially better than if you were marketing to folks you don’t already have a relationship with.
At Pleth we manage newsletter campaigns for clients in a wide variety of industries ranging from Health Care to NASCAR, we have done it all. If you are interested in reaching a large number of potential customers this holiday season there might not be a better way to do it quickly than Email Blasts and Newsletters. If you are interested in researching the possibility of such a campaign, click here to request a proposal from Pleth Networks, to learn a little bit more visit our website: http://www.pleth.com/services=newsletter_campaigns.htm, we have a lot of good information here as well.
EBay, Froogle, and Amazon
When you go on a fishing trip you certainly want to go where the fish are biting or at least hanging out. Selling online is certainly no different. Before I go any further I want to state for the record that the websites I am about to promote are awesome but are not a replacement for having your own presence on the web, they are simply a way to supplement your traffic and give you greater exposure.
If you have an e-commerce website, I suggest including a feed to your online catalog to sites like Froogle. Froogle is owned and operated by Google and has been one of the most popular shopping sites on the web since it came onto the scene. It’s pretty easy once it’s setup, there is a little bit of work to get it all setup. Basically Froogle feeds from your website database. When a product is added to your website it’s automatically added to your Froogle Feed. I have incorporated this for clients before and it’s something I am familiar with, we can incorporate your website into Froogle for a small fee given the amount of exposure you will receive from being listed. (www.froogle.com).
Amazon and EBay are a little different than Froogle. These sites require setting up a sellers account. Both sites vary on their terms and how they work so I won’t go into that, I would suggest checking them out though, both of these websites sell a lot of products. (www.amazon.com, www.ebay.com).
If you are a little behind the curve and don’t have an e-commerce website, or maybe would like to have Pleth take a look at your existing website and assist you in achieving your goals for increased sales and visibility be sure to check out our e-commerce solutions section on pleth.com: http://www.pleth.com/services=e-commerce.htm. We can assist you with everything from design and layout of your site to setting up credit card processing, etc., we have relationships throughout the industry that have enabled us to become a leader in e-commerce website development.
All of our clients e-commerce solution allow customers the ability to create and add to a wishlist. This wishlist is stored in a database and can be called in by friends or family of the customer wishing to purchase a holiday gift for the customer. This isn’t anything new, wishlists have been around for a while but seldom are they promoted like I think that they should be. For instance, this year I have made out my wishlist on Amazon.com and sent it to my wife.
Hopefully this blog entry has been helpful, all of these are effective ways to increase sales that I have seen work well in the past for clients. Hopefully you will consider these suggestions to increase your holiday sales. Time is running out on making some of these preparations so don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your holiday sales strategy… If you are in the industry I would also be interested to hear your comments, or add-on, to this blog post, register here to post your comments…