With the holiday season ramping up, shoppers are coming online in droves. In fact, online holiday sales this year are predicted to increase twenty percent, as consumers grow more and more accustomed to the ease and convenience of shopping online. Internet business advisor Ana Rincon (http://OnlineBusiness.About.com) reveals ten tips for increasing your online sales over the holiday season:
1.Fine-tune your website. The biggest buying season of the year is not the time to have a slow-loading site or pages not found—busy holiday shoppers won’t wait around.
2.Guide your customers’ experience. Organize your products in a way that makes it easy for customers to zero in on what they’re looking for. Group items into categories such as “Gifts for Him,” “Gifts for Her,” “Toys for Ages 2-4,” etc.
3.Offer gift certificates. Explains Rincon, “Many buyers don’t know exactly what to get, and a gift certificate is a great alternative.” With online delivery, buyers can purchase all the way up to, and even on Christmas Day and still have purchases reach their recipients on time.
4.Offer gift wrapping and gift cards. People shop online to save time and avoid hassles. They don’t have time to physically receive the gifts they order, and then wrap and resend them. By providing this service, you add value to your products and gain a competitive edge.
5.Offer wish lists. Many shopping cart systems already have a wish list feature built in. Shoppers should be able to choose what they like from your site, create a list, and store it there for other buyers to reference, or have it emailed directly to them.
6.Make shipping and delivery information highly visible on your website. Holiday shoppers’ number one concern is that their recipients’ packages arrive on time. Make it easy for your customers—tell them exactly how many days they have left to order and be sure their gifts will get there by Christmas.
7.Offer free shipping. You’re not taking a loss here—you’re just building those costs into your price. According to a survey by http://Shopping.org, seventy-five percent of consumers view free shipping as a major selling point. When they don’t have to calculate those extra fees, it’s that much simpler and more convenient for them. So in the end, both you and your customer are happy.
8.Utilize pay-per-click advertising. This type of marketing produces quick turnaround. Decide on your budget and keywords, but be flexible as you go and make adjustments as needed.
9.Build an email campaign around the holidays. Suggests Rincon, “Use your newsletters and emails to share gift tips and announce special sales… Mix informational newsletters with promotions and product specials.”
10.Offer multiple payment options. Buyers expect to be able to pay by credit card, and PayPal and other alternative payments are becoming more widespread. You severely limit your sales and your customers when you only accept payments by money order or wire transfer, so offer as many options as you can.
With online sales projected at 33 billion dollars this holiday season, there’s plenty of profit to go around the e-commerce industry. By employing these simple techniques in your e-business, you can maximize your share of those sales and cash in on the year’s busiest retail season.