Monday, 1 October 2012

Increase your sales with Christmas frenzy planning

With less than 3 months to go until Christmas, many ecommerce stores are beginning to plan ahead for the anticipated rush of frenzied shoppers scurrying to buy all their gifts, food and other essentials before Christmas day. 

If you haven't already begun thinking about the busy festive period, maybe it's time you started looking at not only how you are going to handle this influx of traffic and sales in your online store, but also how you can take advantage of this busy shopping period to dramatically increase your sales.

The first thing you need to think about is your stock. If you don't have inventory, you aren't going to get sales and your going to miss out on a huge revenue stream that you should be taking advantage of. When buying your store's products from your suppliers, you should look to buy extra amounts to put aside for Christmas. Depending on how many sales each of your products achieve, you may decide that you will only need to do this for your most popular products. The benefit of this is that you not only ensure you will be able to fulfil all orders over Christmas, but you will also possibly be able to reduce your costs as buying your products all in one go will allow you to gain great discounts from your wholesaler. 

Now that you have the stock to fulfil all of your orders, you next need to look at how you are going to actually complete all of your orders in regards to processing, packing and shipping them out. If you are a large ecommerce brand this may not be too much of an issue as you have numerous employees, but if for example, you run your own eBay store, you may have difficulty completing this increased level of orders. One way to solve this would be to hire one or two people to work a few weeks over Christmas in order to help you get the orders completed and shipped out in time for the last postage deadline of December. However, a more cost effective method would be to draft in friends and family to give you a helping hand through this busy period. If they are hesitant to give you some friendly help, you could always ask for the help at your Christmas present for the year.

As I touched on in the last section, the postage deadline is something that all online businesses should be aware of. The last thing you want to do is complete an order, only for you to be unable to get it to the customer in time for Christmas. Being unable to get a product to the customer in time will probably not only result in that person cancelling the order missing out on an important sale, but it will most likely put them off from returning to your store again in order to make a future purchase. The last date for first class delivery from the Royal Mail is Thursday 20th December and Saturday 22nd December by special delivery. Although you will be aware of this, your customers most likely won't be, resulting in them wanting products to arrive at their homes right up until Christmas Eve. For this reason, you should look to not only place these postage dates on your website for all visiting customers to see, but also, if a customer makes a purchase beyond this postage deadline, you should make it clear to the customer that they will definitely not receive the product in time for Christmas. 

Now that you have covered the necessities for Christmas selling, you are ready to handle all increased sales demands. The next step is to look at things you can do to help take advantage of the festive period. The first thing you should be looking to do is run a number of different special offers in an attempt to entice customers to purchase their presents from your store as opposed to one of your competitors. The offers you choose to do are entirely up to you. You may decide to offer a discount on particular products or you may decide to offer free shipping on transactions over a certain amount. Whatever promotion you decide to do, you should advertise this across forums, social media, emails and all other marketing channels as they are a great way to take advantage of this busy shopping period. 

Another idea could be to add a range of Christmas products to your store. This item range could consist of Christmas trees, stockings, wrapping paper and various other festive items that may interest customers. However, when buying this stock you should remember that these items will only be popular during the winter months. Buying too much stock will leave you with left over stock in the New Year that no one will be interested in buying from you, unless it's for a significantly reduced price. 

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