It’s that time of year again! Not quite Christmas but not too early to start grabbing gifts. This is one of the most crucial seasons for those who sell online, particularly independent business owners hoping to carve out a significant slice of that Christmas sales cake.
The good news is that if you’re running your own online shop there are countless resources out there to help you make the most of this busy period, but don’t go anywhere just yet because this guest blog from Jamie Pitman of Create.net is one of them!
The key thing to do is to start planning very early on. If things go really well on the run up to Christmas you might not have time to work on new plans so it’s best to have these in place in plenty of time. This way you’ll be sure you have all the stock you need when it comes to the busy period.
However, if you’ve just started thinking about planning for Christmas, you’ve still got time to make a big difference to your sales with some clever promotion and quick thinking.
Visit The Ghost of Christmas Past
If you were running your online shop in 2012, take a look back at your sales figures and marketing activities around Christmas and decide how you want to beat them and improve on them. If you ran out of stock last year, buy more this year. If you didn’t get as many visits as you were hoping, try more promotional activities.
Give yourself a goal and targets. Plan how you are going to beat last year’s performance and stick to the plan.
Look The Part
Get your website dressed for the Christmas party by giving it a festive makeover. Consider updating your buttons, wallpapers and product photos with little touches like snowflakes, robins and Santas. There’s nothing like a seasonal makeover to entice new customers and to please and surprise returning ones.
Let The Sales Begin!
To really stake your claim on this competitive time of year, make your business stand out by holding a Christmas Sale, temporarily discounting relevant products. This gives you something great to promote about your shop and provides potential buyers a much bigger incentive to browse your site, remember your name and come back again.
But don’t rest on your laurel wreaths (ouch) after Christmas! Everyone loves a January Sale, so be sure to have that prepared in advance to ensure you’re not overworked when you should be relaxing. A good sale at the beginning of the year is also a great way to sell off out-of-season stock to make way for Spring and Summer.
Take a Look Around
Remember that you’re not the only one trying to get festive shoppers’ custom. It’s worth taking a look at your competitors for inspiration. That doesn’t just include businesses your size. Take inspiration from the giants, too! More often than not, the tactics they use can be downscaled to match your budget. As one David Brent said, “A good idea is a good idea forever.”
It can also be easy to get too close to your business and website and lose focus of what makes it unique and worth visiting. Request feedback from friends, family and peers in your local community and industry to really find out what others think of your online shop and how it could be improved.
Get Climbing Search Rankings
SEO is incredibly important to online business, especially at a time of year when everyone and his mother and her sister-in-law is using the same search terms to find gifts: ‘christmas presents’, ‘xmas gifts’ and so on.
Remember what makes your business unique and focus on boosting the SEO of keywords that set yourself apart from other online shops.
Take a look at some great tips on boosting your SEO on the run up to Christmas here.
Spread The Joy
Don’t just sell from one location online – get on eBay, Facebook, Amazon and Etsy and sell your products through there as well as from your own branded online shop (but make sure all of these extra stores link back to your main website too).
If your website provider lets you, you can integrate your stock with all these and more without having to manage several stock lists. Create.net allows you to link your online shop with Facebook, eBay and Amazon!
Sing It To The World!
Social media is your friend (and a cost-effective friend at that), so use it to spread the word about your seasonal promotions, discounts and sales. Also, consider running competitions through particular social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to try to grow your brand’s followership and potential customer base. If they like you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter it’s going to be hard for them to forget about you in the new year!
For more tips on online marketing on a tight budget, click here.
Create.net enable businesses to build and manage their own online shop and website and serves over 10,000 customers across the world. You can try the platform out for free for 30 days by clicking here.
These extra tips from online sellers who built their ecommerce stores with Create.net will help you ‘sleigh’ the competition: