Maximizing Holiday Sales 2010

holiday-shopping-2010Holiday shopping 2010 seems to have kicked off quite well and significantly over average sales! Moving forward for this marketing window, we want to maximize the remainder of the holiday sales season potential. So we have some great promotional ideas for your store to have an excellent overall 2010 holiday shopping season.

These ideas are not for everyone, some will be opportunities for you and you shop … and some will not. The biggest thing this “think tank” can do is get your brain moving to develop the holiday promotion best suited for your store and products! Please feel free to comment with other great ideas for shop owners, we would love to hear them.

Ideas to Maximize Holiday Sales

Free Shipping: Free shipping is always a BIG holiday shopping promotion. I, however, prefer to use the “spend X$ to get free shipping” promotion. This guarantees a minimum profit margin, raises your order total average and adds additional sales you may not have achieved otherwise. You will find shoppers more likely to stay on site longer, navigate deeper and find more things to purchase.

Addon Orders: This is directly from Mark Hudson at Incon Lighting. Mark had us add a free shipping coupon to his order confirmation email. This coupon, very simply enables the shopper to return in a set time frame to shop for more items and pay no additional shipping; the orders are combined. Love it when shop owners think outside the box!

Free Gifts: We use this one commonly during many holiday shopping promos on our pet store. We will simply make orders over X$ eligible for a free dog toy or similar free item. Again, this causes shoppers to stay on site longer and shop deeper. Free gifts are a hot deal for holiday shoppers, but only if they are really free. I was shopping yesterday on a store that offered free gifts, BUT when I got to checkout I found they were not free at all… A handling fee (equal to the retail product price) was sneakily added to my cart. This shop owner lost a $500 sale and I went elsewhere!

BOGO: Buy one get one or buy one get one half off are another hot holiday promo. Holiday shoppers will be glad to get the 2’fer and cross another happy recipient off of their list! Watch your margin here and make certain the BOGO offers are clearly marked and explained.

Guaranteed Delivery: This promo is most effective the closer we get to Christmas. It is a bit tough to administer, but can mean holding the holiday sales increase for another week to 10 days. Big money here, but plan and explain carefully, as it only takes one bad review to ruin the remainder of the year’s sales.

Gift Wrapping: Gift wrapping, especially with the ability to ship directly to the recipient is another great marketing tool for holiday shoppers. Free or low cost gift wrapping saves shoppers time and money while securing the sale for you.

Gift Certificates: Most times shoppers will come to your store because they know or like the products you sell, even if they are shopping for another. Offering a buy a $X gift certificate and get a $X gift certificate free is an awesome sales builder. Remember the “shrink” (gift certificates never spent) means that these is a highly “safe” holiday promo. It can also extend the sales period well in to January, as people rarely spend “just” the gift certificate.

Followup Coupons: Include a small coupon in your order emails to entice shoppers to return again. How many times have you shopped for your uncle early and then had to return to the same store later and shop again for your nephew for example. Bounce back coupons are 100% safe as they do not affect the checkout ability of the current order, but rather attempt to get the shopper to return.

Newsletters: If you send newsletters, now is the time. Include great gift giving ideas for your target sales group, savings and coupons. Have you ever been to the grocery store and seen the half full cart from the store’s competitor and the full cart from the store for the same price? I got a VERY compelling newsletter from a shop the other day using the same logic. The top image was 2 Christmas trees with gifts under them… One with more and one with less, same $ spent to purchase.

Cross Selling: Make sure you are using cross selling or attributes to not only help shoppers find related and needed product compliments, but other logical ideas as well. I find that attributes are easiest and the highest converting for the shopper. If I buy the MP3 player, I would certainly check the box to add the car charger for example. However, if I have to look for it too hard or don’t know you have it… I cannot buy it.

Recovering Carts: Shoppers are in an absolute frenzy this time of year. They are shopping around, price and selection checking… Comparing shipping and terms. Often in this process they get “lost”. If you are using the abandoned cart module for Zen Cart, you have the opportunity to “save” these lost shoppers by emailing them their cart contents and a nice letter to get them back.

Coupons: Coupons are for impulse buyers. Make holiday coupons easy to use, find and remember. Instead of a coupon code like HG345t, how about something simpler and easier to remember like SHOP2010 or SANTA? Customers appreciate this and are more likely to visit your store.

Getting Social: If you are using Facebook, Twitter or some other social media platform, then use it for increased following and sales this holiday season. Offer “Facebook Only” specials and coupons, write about great gift ideas and ask for others from your followers… Most importantly make sure your followers know you HAVE the holiday spirit. Believe it or not, people want to know that you are a company comprised of “real” people and are not all business this holiday season.

Bundles: This speaks a bit to the cross selling, but is more effective, direct and helpful to shoppers. Offer special holiday bundles (set them up as regular products) with everything you need/want for specific products. This makes shopping fast and easy while raising your order average sales.

Free Giveaways: While I haven’t specifically noted these as overly successful for holiday sales, they could be. Maybe you have the type of products that shoppers want, but do not buy for themselves? They may very well be in to signing up for a “free something”… Even better that they feel inclined (easy sharing buttons and opportunities) to share your “free giveaway”. This is also a list builder if you use it with your social media or newsletter subscribers.

Gift Selectors: Use gift selectors like “gifts for guys”, “gifts under $50.00” and other vertical browsing options to help shoppers better find and BUY what they need. This type of ease in shopping can easily convert a “one item cart” sale in to a really nice order. Shoppers appreciate this and will share their ease in shopping with friends as well.

I hope you have found a helpful idea to be successful this holiday shopping season… More importantly I hope you have those “creative juices” flowing to customize or develop a great promotion for your own store and specific products. We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions, comment below.