I. Why We Are Shopping
Lately with the way the economy has been going Americans are trying to cut costs. The first things to go have been the personal luxuries- entertainment subscriptions, dining out, and frivolous shopping just to name a few. But with the holidays just around the corner, this frugal spending is about to be put on hold.
A. There Is More To Do This Year
With the recent speculation about the downward trend of the economy many consumers have been keeping a tight fist on their money. Very little holiday shopping has been done yet. This is a big change over years past, where shrewd customers would keep their eyes out for the less publicized pre-holiday sales and get a good chunk of their holiday purchasing done before the crowds started forming at the malls. This year, however, there is a lot more shopping that needs to be done on the well-known “Black Friday” and the following weekends to get it all in by the conclusion of the holiday season. A Consumer Reports survey found that 26% of shoppers plan to shop on “Black Friday” this year as opposed to last year’s 21%.
B. Biggest Sales In Recent History
Given that Americans have been spending less in the last few weeks, businesses nation-wide are looking to cash in on as many holiday sales as possible by offering some of the biggest sales in recent history. This year it is not uncommon to see ads touting “Everything In The Store 20% Off” and “$50 Off All Purchases Over $200” etc. Shoppers headed out in droves this season are going to be looking for these amazing offers.
C. Falling Gas Prices
Falling gas prices are not just impacting retail businesses, but also online stores. While customers are more likely to head out to the malls or outlets when gas is cheaper, they are also inclined to spend more money online knowing that the costs for daily necessities like driving to the grocery store or work are lower than expected.
II. Season’s Tips
Given that retail stores and online businesses can expect to see a boost in sales this holiday season compared to the stagnation of the last few months, here are some handy tips to get your piece of the pie:
A. Visually Set Your Website Apart
Your website’s “ooh lala” aspect could make or break the sale this season. With so much competition out there you are going to want to make sure that you are giving customers what they want to see.
- One great way to get customers in the holiday shopping mood is to add seasonal graphics to your website. The new graphics not only give you a leg up on your competition’s websites, but also serve to set your website apart from its daily appearance. By taking the time to add seasonally appropriate items to your site you are sending the message to your customers that you have their holiday needs and desires in mind.
Seasonal Images- Thanksgiving
Seasonal Images- Christmas/Holiday
- Make sure the images for your products are what customers are going to want to see to feel comfortable buying a particular product. You should have at least two photos of each product, so a customer can see different angles or details of the product or enable a zoom feature so customer can look at areas that are of interest to them.
B. Add Value
There is definite buzz this holiday season about all the deals and sales at various stores. You certainly do not want to be left out of the holiday shopping craze, but what are the most desired promotions this season? Our Volusion staff shared their ideas:
- Free shipping on qualifying purchases
- Free or discounted gift wrapping with purchase
- A percentage off the total order
- Bundled items or a gift set
- A free gift for the buyer with their purchase for friends and family
- Free samples with purchase of like items (ex. fragrances or candles)
- Giving a percentage of your order total to charity
- A gift card included with each purchase
- A coupon off your next purchase
Each of these promotions has a slightly different approach. In terms of attracting customers who are looking for an item that can be found at many different locations, “glitzy” promotions like free shipping, gift wrapping or money off your order can add value for customers that may have gone elsewhere if the promotion was not in place. Whereas a gift set, a small free gift, some samples, or donating to charity can sweeten the deal to gain buyer loyalty and generate word of mouth. Similarly, gift cards and coupons off future purchases can encourage return business. So this season pick your approach, pick your promotion, and get out there selling!