by Mike Ober
Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, is just a few short weeks away. This is the day online holiday shopping begins. Are you ready?
For most e-commerce merchants, holiday planning should be in full swing by now. What does this mean? Well, there is plenty to think about. I hope the information below helps you prepare for the holidays and most importantly, for success.
Review your best sellers over the past year and make a plan to drive merchandising for those products for the upcoming holiday season. Most importantly, make sure you have enough stock on hand to get you through the holiday season. One of the easiest ways to upset a customer (new or old!) is to take an order for an item that is out of stock during the holidays. Remember, your customers are relying on you to deliver that perfect gift for Grandma… don’t let them down.
Do you change your ads for the seasons? The holidays are a great opportunity to adjust your ad headlines to capture the attention of holiday browsers, planting ideas in their mind and making them buyers.
For example, “Wide Selection of Men’s Watches” may work well for you as a general ad. As you enter the holiday season, consider changing this headline to “Watches Make Great Holiday Gifts”. As you approach the days before Christmas for example, change the ad again to play on buyer’s emotions. Use something like “Watches Make Great Last Minute Gifts for Dad” or “Choose Bestseller Watches for Last Minute Gifts for Dad”.
Be sure to include special messaging in your ad headlines. If you are offering special promotions, free shipping, or even in-store pick-up, be sure to mention it. Especially for those last minute shoppers, mentioning “Still Shipping” or “Shipping through Christmas Eve” in the ad will grab attention as well. Online shopping is all about the convenience of avoiding the holiday crowds. Be sure to stress how ordering from your store provides that convenience and avoids all the hassles. Get creative and reap the rewards!
Finally, be sure to review your references (in your Store Manager) and dig in to the referral sources for the most common keywords. Create marketing plans around the most popular keywords that browsers used to find you online. This will create greater opportunity for shoppers to find you when starting their online shopping experience through a search engine.
Now is the time to prepare for holiday promotions. One of the most successful promotions run during the holiday season is the “free shipping” offer. By “free shipping”, I mean free shipping, no restrictions, no conditions.
If this is too risky for you, consider offering “free shipping with conditions” such as “free shipping for all purchases over $50”. Also consider a “free shipping upgrade”. If the buyer pays for Ground, upgrade it to 3-Day at no additional charge. If they pay for 2-Day, upgrade it to Overnight at no additional charge. You get the idea. Again, be creative. All of these options can be implemented in a variety of ways within the Shipping Manager section of your Store Manager.
Another good promotion is the “free gift with purchase”. Pick something small but meaningful out of your inventory. Maybe you are overstocked on an item? Put a bin of that particular item next to the shipping station and have your shippers drop one in every box for the duration of the sale. This is a great opportunity to get personal with your customer by dropping in a card with the gift that says “Happy Holidays… Thanks for Shopping with us!”.
Site Features – Utilize Sections
Turn holiday browsers into buyers. If you advertise using the word “Gift” in your description, then direct that ad to a new section called “Holiday Gifts”. Consider arranging this section by price categories, such as “Under $25”, “$25-$50”, etc. In addition, consider creating new sections such as “Best Sellers” or “Clearance Sale” or “Holiday Sale”. Again, focus your content on the season, not just in your advertising, but on your site as well.
Plan your strategy now. Look at last minute buyers from last season and target them again for the “Procrastinator’s Promotion”. Even think about direct mail for these people too. Don’t forget about those early shoppers either! There is a lot of opportunity with any buyer from October through mid-December. Maybe they weren’t buying a holiday gift last year, but offer them an “early bird promotion” they cannot refuse. If you have not considered e-mail marketing in the past, now might be a good time to give it a try. It is one of the most successful marketing tactics during the holiday season. Consider Campaigner by Got, integrated with your Yahoo! Merchant Solutions account. You can find the “Email Marketing” link under the Promote section in your Store Manager.
The Big Days
All of your holiday planning and strategy should center around 3 big days. Key holiday season days include Thanksgiving Day, Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving), Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Each day has it’s own relative peak for online sales.
One more thing… don’t let “crazy” ideas hold you back. If you want to do something on your Yahoo! Store and you don’t know how to do it yourself, we have an incredible network of developers dedicated to helping you succeed through enhancements to your site. From the simply simple to the most complex add-on you think you can imagine, tap into the experience of an expert Yahoo! Store developer today.
Yahoo! Small Business