Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A detailed guide to increasing your Christmas sales

With Christmas fast approaching in just over two months, many ecommerce stores are now gearing towards getting ready for the festive period. However, with literally thousands of online stores in the UK alone, what things can you do to help get any many sales as you can this winter?

  • Change your website layout - You might want to think about changing your website design so that it is more geared towards a Winter theme. This will not only get visiting customers in the Christmas spirit, it will let them know that you have a Winter line available for them to purchase. While you may not have a substantial amount to spend in redesigning your ecommerce store, you could use some free ecommerce and eBay templates, such as those we provide here at eSellution. Just remember to change your design back to the old version once the festive period is over. However, if creating a whole new Christmas themed website is just too much effort and too costly, you can just simply look to create a Christmas themed landing page which gives users all the information about any special festive promotions and offers you are running, then redirecting them to your current store.

  • Free delivery - Offering customers free delivery is a great way to provide them with an incentive to purchase from your store. You could offer free delivery on all sales or on total orders over a particular amount, the decision is entirely up to you. Although this would cost you more in terms of having to pay for the shipping yourself, the extra orders the promotion would bring in would make it a profitable endeavour. 

  • Delivery guaranteed before Xmas - When a customer purchases a product from you over the Winter months, 99.9% of the time they are going to want it in time for Christmas Day. If you can't guarantee delivery before Christmas, the likelihood is that the customer isn't going to be interested in purchasing from you. When a customer visits your website, if you can offer guaranteed delivery before Christmas you should state it. You should also state what the cut off date is in terms of when a customer must make a purchase to guarantee delivery before Christmas.

  • Christmas discounts - Just like free delivery, offering discounts on specific products allows you to entice customers to your store. You may decide to add a discount to your most popular products or add it to products that have not sold so well in an attempt to boost sales. Shoppers love a bargain and no matter what products are part of this discounted offer, you will see a traffic and sales increase as a result. 

  • Festive advertisements - You know you now have your Christmas range in stock, customers visiting your store know it, but what about everyone else? To keep users up to date with what's going on in your store, you should create some banners, send out emails and post content on your social media pages to give people all the information they require to bring them to your store in order to make a purchase. 

  • Generous social media offers - Anyone who follows your social media pages are doing so to keep up with any new products, offers or discounts you are currently running. Look to use this to your advantage by rewarding people who are following you and also enticing new users to also follow you. You can do this by placing a discount code on to one of your social media pages which followers can then use when making a purchase from your store. This code could be a free novelty gift, a discount off particular products, free shipping or anything else you wish to add to a service through your ecommerce software. Thus encourages people to visit your site and make a purchase, as well as encouraging new users to follow your social media page in order to find out what this discount code is.

  • Returns Policy - While there is nothing wrong with the quality of your products on sale, as some of these products are bought for people as gifts, you may find that people who receive the gift simply don't like what they have been given or want to exchange it for something else. Having a good returns policy in place will allow people to exchange products for an alternative or get money back in terms of store credit. While this is an inconvenience to you, being flexible for your customers making their experience much more pleasurable and making it more likely that they will return again to make a purchase. 

  • Monitor competitors - With so many different stores all looking to increase their Christmas sales, you should look at what your competitors are doing in terms of what products they are offering and any promotions they might be running. Keeping an eye of what they are doing, allows you to alter your own store so that what you offer is more enticing that your rivals, ensuring that customers decide to purchase from you and not from them.

  • Get your stock levels right - As a busy Christmas period will bring about an increase in traffic and sales, the last thing you want to do is miss out on many of these sales because you haven't got your stock levels right. While for most of the year you should look to make sure you don't have too much left over stock, Christmas is the time of year where you can look to over stock slightly to ensure that you have enough products to complete all orders. If after Christmas has passed you have left over stock, you simply run a New Year sale to help get rid of the leftovers. 

  • Draft in help - More orders means more work for you in being able to process these orders and get them shipped out to customers in time for Christmas. If you run your business on your own, you may have difficulty managing this influx of orders. To help get through the busy period, you can look to draft in some friends or family to give you a helping hand to complete all of your orders and get them all sent out. 

  • Christmas orientated stock - Novelty Christmas stock allows you to take advantage of those hardcore Christmas buyers. This could include small stocking fillers as presents, wrapping paper, Christmas trees and many other items. Unlike stock control for other products in your store, you don't want to over stock these novelty items. While you can still sell these at a discounted price after Xmas, the price you would need to reduce them to in order to actually get the sales would provide very little profit on top of your costs.

  • Offer a gift wrapping service - As the majority of customers will be buying these items as presents, one of the packing services you could offer is a gift wrapping service. This would involve you wrapping it in stylish wrapping paper and possibly placing a bow or customer message on the gift. This is a little extra revenue stream for you as it will only take a short amount of time to gift wrap each product and you can charge an added fee for it.

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