For businesses, fall is one of the most important seasons of the year in terms of sales and profits. Shop.org predicts online sales in November and December of this year could grow between 8 and 11 percent over the last holiday season to as much as $105 billion. If you’re looking for ways to boost online sales before the end of the year, try one or more of these 17 ideas:
Hold an Online Customer Appreciation Event
Genuine gratitude can go a long way. Customers like feeling appreciated, which is beneficial to you too if they continue to make purchases on your site. Offer return customers an exclusive discount on your products or offer everyone an exclusive discount that only lasts for a specific period of time.
Give Away Turkeys
This is a common tactic at car dealerships around Thanksgiving, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t work for an online site as well. Work with a turkey company to get exclusive coupons or offer to give a discount off the amount of a turkey when users show proof of purchase. It’s a fun way to give a discount while tying it to the current holiday.
Hold a Costume Challenge Contest
Have a product that could be turned into a costume? Hold a costume contest that requires participants to only utilize your products. Offer prizes or gift cards to the winners. You’ll not only raise awareness about how your products can be used in a fun way, you’ll get some great user-generated content that you can share on your blog and social media.
Donate Portion of your Proceeds to a Non-profit Organization
If you have a non-profit cause that is dear to your company’s heart, pledge to donate all or a portion of one day’s sales to an organization that is championing that cause. Look on Charity Navigator, which rates the authenticity and honesty of non-profit organizations, to find one that fits. It can either be one in your local community or that helps people around the world. Customers are more likely to buy if they know a portion of the money is going toward a good cause. Add to that the fact that philanthropy is more important to young adults these days, according to trend data. In 2011, 75% of young adults aged 20 to 35 gave to a non-profit cause.
Introduce New Products
Just before the winter holidays is a great time to introduce new products. You have time to fix any customer service issues before your site gets busier and it can help you develop testimonials, and experiment with prices and discounts.
Offer Interest-Free Holiday Shopping
Many people don’t save monthly for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts, and as a result, end up stressed out about their finances come the New Year. According to the American Research Group, Americans planned on spending an average of $801 on Christmas in 2013. Ease the stress of holiday shopping by offering layaway or no interest credit offers to help customers get the gifts they want without the headache of paying interest around the holidays.
Add Social Sharing Options on Product Pages
This is a simple change, and absolutely required if you haven’t done it already. Make sure you give customers the ability to share your products on social media (especially Pinterest, which has a higher checkout value per pin over Twitter and Facebook: $140 to $180). Here’s an example on the Macy’s website:
Offer an Exclusive Discount for Social Media Users
If you have an active and engaged social media following, try offering them exclusive discounts. It not only helps drive traffic and engagement on your social media profiles. It also gives your audience on that platform a feeling of exclusivity. In addition, custom promo codes for specific social media sites can help you track which platform has the highest ROI.
Offer Free Shipping for a Minimum Order
Customers love free shipping and are more likely to spend more if they can get it. One great example of this is Amazon Prime, which is a free shipping program from Amazon. The Motley Fool reports that Amazon Prime members spend twice as much on Amazon as non-members, most likely because they want to get their money’s worth.
Create Holiday Gift Guides for Specific Customer Segments
If your ecommerce site offers a wide range of products, consider creating purchasing guides for specific kinds of customers. This means creating collections of products that apply to a specific group of customers. For instance, grandparents would probably want something different than a teenage boy or girl would. Creating gift guides can also help make your customers’ shopping experiences easier. That’s because the gift guides can give customers great gift ideas and direct them to the exact product page to make a purchase.
Offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals
Business Insider reports that the average online order for Black Friday 2013 was $135.27. Furthermore, Cyber Monday online sales hit $2.29 billion last year, according to Digiday and Adobe. These two great shopping days are great opportunities for retailers to offer amazing deals, especially since consumers are already geared up to buy.
Ask Customers What They Want
Utilize social media, a free polling tool like SurveyMonkey, and email to ask customers what they are looking for in fall and winter. This can help you figure out your strategy and what products to release and discount.
Utilize Popular eCommerce Platforms like Amazon and eBay
If you are only currently selling your products on your own site, consider also selling on a larger platform, like Amazon or eBay. Many top companies have an online store presence at each, mostly because it gives them additional product visibility. While both of these sites do charge a fee for each sale, the increased profits coming from better visibility may be worth it.
Give Away Random Discounts Through Email
Overstock uses this strategy to get people to click through to their site. They let users know that they are getting a discount in a specified range, but they won’t find out how much it is until they click through to the website.
Email example provided by patroneer
Start a Social Media Advertising Campaign
Have you tried Facebook or Twitter advertising? This might be the time. It’s easy to customize your audience and some retailers are making hundreds of sales per day from Facebook ads alone.
Install a Related Products Module on Product Pages
If you don’t have it set up already, consider adding a Related Products module on your individual product pages. By utilizing purchase data, you can suggest additional products customers may be interested in based on the product they are currently looking at.
Create Seasonal Packs of Products
Consider bundling several products together to create a themed package. The strategy should generate greater revenue since you will be able to charge more for the packages than for individual merchandise. And creating seasonal packages will add to the urgency since the package will no longer be available once the season is over.
Fall Sale Photo via Shutterstock