Holiday Shopping Is Going To Happen – Are You Ready? Will You Benefit? To get things started, let’s take a look at some stats:
- Cyber Monday sales at online retail websites were 19.4% higher in 2010, compared to the online sales of Cyber Monday in 2009 – Coremetrics
- $1.028 billion was spent online on Cyber Monday in 2010, the first day in U.S. retail history to surpass the billion-dollar sales level. – comScore
- 9 million people made purchases online on Cyber Monday in 2010. – Comcast
- The average online order on Cyber Monday 2010 was $194.89, which was 8.3% higher than the $180.03 average in 2009. – Coremetrics
That’s a lot of action to tap into. If you haven’t started a holiday campaign yet – now is the time. There are various things you can do. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in – this is going to be a long one!
Where to Start
The key to converting visitors into sales has always been to get inside their heads – figure out what problems they have and then offer a solution. If you approach it from your agenda and what you want, they aren’t going to care. You need to show them that what you offer is what they need.
So if you can solve their problems (and get yourself found when they come searching so they know you solve their problems) – you’ve got them.
What problems do holiday shoppers face? Here are some of the big ones:
- They don’t want to fight crowds, look for parking, carry heavy bags through the mall. They want convenience. This is a big one!
- They are often looking for deals – especially in a tough economy. Everyone wants holiday bargains and in malls the stores with the best sales are the most crowded. People expect deals online so you have to give them something to get excited about.
- The are looking for ideas and gift suggestions. It’s hard to buy for people sometimes and finding the perfect gift is important for most people.
- They have to get their hands on hard to find item. This one will cause parents to lose sleep at night!
- They want something unique/different – something that shows they really care and put a lot of thought into the gift.
- They have to deal with logistics – sometimes gifts need to be transported/shipped to family and friends in other locations and they don’t want to deal with the hassle. They want the cheapest and easiest way to get it done.
- They have very little time – there is so much to do around the holiday season and shopping can take up a big chunk of their time. Save them time and you’ll win their hearts.
- The realization slowly hits them that anything they buy – they will have to wrap. For some this task is the fun part and for others it’s dreaded and they are looking for all possible ways to get out of wrapping.
- They are concerned about the cost of shipping if they do shop online. If they go to the store they don’t have to pay for shipping (yep, they want the benefits of buying online but without paying the price for it)
- They are concerned that they can’t really see the items well if they do shop online. There is no way they can touch and feel but they want to at least be able to clearly see.
Out of all those problems, how many can you help them with? Probably most of them. But do they know that? Probably not.
Your job is to let them know you are there with the solutions. At this late date, you can do PPC and you can make changes to your site for the traffic you already have. You can also get Blogging and using social media to spread the word. If you have an established Blog you can get your posts out there in the engines fairly quickly usually.
So get blogging!! Use social media and RSS feeds to push your content out there. Don’t be timid. Be aggressive in your campaigns.
Here’s an outline of the steps to get you going:
Step one: determine what keywords people used last year and are using now to find their holiday gifts online.
For example: gift ideas, gifts under $100, gifts for bosses, gifts for kids, gifts under $50 etc.
When people search online, your goal is to get your Blog posts to come up. The posts will boast the solution you offer and will easily link them to where they can shop on your site (don’t make them search – make it easy to find products that are related to what you blog about)
Step two: Now that you have the keywords, it’s time to get blogging. No delays – get going on this!
Remember your posts need to clearly show them that you offer the solution to their holiday shopping woes.
Let’s take a look at the solutions you could offer to that list of problems we created. Keep in mind, this could be a whole series of posts you write (this is the best way to go), or it could be one long post that covers all the points.
- They don’t want to fight crowds, look for parking, carry heavy bags through the mall. They are looking for convenience. Share some stats about the cost of gas and crowds in malls and share stats about the numbers of people shopping online to specific avoid this chaos. Paint a picture with words (ex: in less than 5 minutes and with only a few clicks you could get your hands on xyz for less than $50)
- They are often looking for deals – especially in a tough economy. Offer sales. Also consider adding “freebies” with purchase. You don’t always have to discount on pricing – you can bulk up the value of what they get. If a toy costs X at pretty much all the stores, you can still charge them X but instead of just getting the toy – they get the toy + some other “freebie” that has value but is reasonable for you to throw in. The funny thing is people will often pay more than regular price to get something for “free”.
- The are looking for ideas and gift suggestions. This one is easy and this is where you can have some fun! Create a gift guide that they can download from your site (remember to brand the PDF with your logo and contact info and fill it with links to what they need to buy). Think of all the kinds of gifts someone could buy from you site – the more people they can buy for from one site, they more compelling you will look to them. It’s nice to have a little reminder – do you need to buy for your clients, for your boss, for your secretary, for your neighbor, for your best friends, for your hubby or wife, for your kids, for your parents etc? Great here is what we suggest….then hit with them with a few suggestions at a few different price points.
- They have to get their hands on hard to find item. Have a hot item that is in demand? Let everyone know you have it in stock.
- Want something unique/different – something that shows they really care and put a lot of thought into the gift. Talk about what is unique and special about your gifts. Share stories and testimonials from clients that have been thrilled with the item. You may have to get creative on this one depending on what you sell, but you can do it! If you can’t do it, go on the counter attack! Let them know why while unique and trendy is fun, absolutely everyone can always use abc and there is simply no better gift.
- Logistics – sometimes gifts need to be transported/shipped to family and friends in other locations. Remind them the benefits of you guys doing the shipping – then they don’t have to shop and then pack it all sup and then go to UPS. They can simply click and fill out a form and presto the gift is on its way. Be sure you assure them about shipping times – if they are concerned it won’t get there on time or safely, they may not buy. Remember your job here is to convince them you offer the solutions they are looking for.
- They have very little time – there is so much to do around the holiday season and shopping can take up a big chunk of their time. Easy peasy. Just write again about the conveniences of them shopping from home – paint a picture with your words. A read through your gift guide, a few clicks a form to fill out – all while they sip hot chocolate in their pajamas with Christmas carols in the background. Sounds good and I think I’ve just talked myself into shopping online when I’m done this article!
- The realization slowly hits them that anything they buy – they will have to wrap. If you offer wrapping, be sure you let them know. Also if you can include gift cards etc. Any details that make you more compelling should be shared.
- They are concerned about the cost of shipping if they do shop online. While people may want to shop online, they may think it’ll end up costing more because of shipping. Can you offer free or discounted shipping? Maybe the more they buy, the more you discount the shipping. You have to look at your margins and see what you can afford but they will be thinking about this, so you may as well be up front about it. Even if you can’t discount, let them know shipping costs are reasonable and well worth it for the time and stress they will save on.
- They are concerned that they can’t really see the items well if they do shop online. Be sure you offer big, clear photos and lots of product descriptions so they don’t feel such a disadvantage by not being able to touch and feel and really inspect the items.
OK, so that solves their specific problems. Some other things you can do in your content:
Encourage people to start shopping now – give them some kind of incentive to get that shopping done. Many people are afraid they’ll miss out on the late shopping season sales if they shop too soon, so offer some early season bonuses.
If you can make yourself not only a place to buy high quality items but also a resource with helpful information, they’ll be a whole lot more likely to think of you the next time they need to buy what you sell. Post checklists that may help them.
A free PDF shopping list template that they can print and fill out or a holiday greeting card list template.
People love stuff that helps them get organized and people love stuff that is free. So think about what things people may need to keep track of at the holiday season and get some helpful checklists (even if it’s not directly related to your product).
Some more possible ideas: If you are in the food or cookware or dishes etc industry – create a holiday meal checklist. Offer them a 2012 resolutions and goals checklist if you are in accounting, or fitness/weight loss. Offer them a holiday party guide if you are in the entertainment industry. Offer a look your best and dazzle at holiday parties check list if you are in fashion/clothing/make up/accessories/hair care etc.
Write about any holiday traditions/recipes/events related to your product or service (ex: you sell dishes, write posts about holiday meal traditions, feature recipes and have various products and specials featured).
The key here is to be sure you have some fun with all this. Show some personality – let them feel like you are right there personally sharing info with them. Position your content as their personal shopping concierge that guides them through what they need to get done.
Step three: Once your killer content is complete and edited, you should:
- Be sure your post is optimized.
- Syndicate your RSS feed.
- Send out mailings to current customers and let them know about your Blog posts and any special offers.
- Promote all your new content and specials via social media. Maybe even announce a special holiday contest.
- Syndicate it to article directories (just be sure you post it to your site or Blog and the engines index it before you syndicate it)
- Look for people that want guest Bloggers and share your content with them (again only once it’s posted and indexed on your own site).
So the goal here is to get these Blog posts coming up in the engines. Once people read your posts and get all excited, they click through to your site – your site better be prepared to close the sale!!
Try holiday images, try specific calls to action related to the holiday season, split test pages and offers to see what gets you the best results. Highlight the benefits and biggest sales on the homepage. Make sure contact info is prominent so they know their options for contacting you with questions. Test your site and make sure everything works. Make sure it’s all in tip top selling shape.
It is Time to Get Started
Whether you implement some or all of this, the time to get it done is now. You need the content created and you need to be pushing it out there.Get creative. This article is just to get the ideas flowing and get you to take action. So run with it and see you can come up with.
As always, I welcome comments and questions.