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8 Tips To Maximize Your Returns For Holiday Season

“Entrepreneurship isn’t about selling things – it’s about finding innovative ways to improve people’s lives.” These are the words of Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, the English businessman & investor who is 7th richest person in United Kingdom according to Forbes 2014. Sir Richard Branson is the founder of virgin group comprising of more than 400 companies.

The holiday season is approaching which is most awaited season for many businesses. The first thought that comes to the mind when we hear the word holiday is shopping. Whether it is shopping for clothes to visit a favourite beach town or buying gifts for the loved ones, everyone is enthusiastic about holidays and don’t mind going overboard with their shopping spree. A business which is focused on maximizing their holiday returns and cashing in this massive opportunity would be well prepared. Following the professional wisdom of Richard Branson, one of the innovative ways of improving people’s life for a business is to provide them the comfort of shopping online. Following are certain tips that can positively impact your business’s bottom line through online sales.

1. E-commerce Store For Your Business

The first and foremost thing is to have is your online store. This will be an online version of your business where you can showcase all your products and offerings. The customers would be able to purchase them directly from the website. You just need to take care of delivery of the goods from your warehouse to customer premises. The best approach is to get your store designed by a web design agency and hire a developer firm to take care of the functional part of your e-commerce store. The aesthetics of your e-commerce store are very crucial for engaging customers and influencing them to buy. A professional design would instil trust and credibility in your customers. The second important aspect is that your store should be technically well developed. All the features you provide on your store should function exactly as you want, to grow your online business. For this you need a good web development firm that are well versed with technology. The benefit of getting the help of seasoned developers for your e-commerce store is that you can customize your store according to the nature of your business.

2. Getting A Mobile App For Your Store

The Smartphones and tablets have influenced customer behaviour to rely on them for most of the day to day activities. The users prefer booking travel tickets, paying bills, searching information and picking up restaurants etc through their portable hand held gadgetry. You should have a mobile application to supplement your e-commerce store. This will allow you to cover a large audience which don’t use desktop to login to internet rather rely on mobile internet. You should have your desktop website optimized for mobile screen. Mobile technologies also give you immense opportunity to market your offerings. You can create downloadable applications for smart phone users which will engage your customers a lot more than any desktop website. You can circulate viral marketing content like messages, audios and videos through various messaging services available for mobile phones. Through mobile phones you have access to the largest active audiences.

3. Search Engine Optimization

An online store which is not optimized for search engines is as good as not having an online store, this means that when a customer searches for a product that is available on your online store in any prominent search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing etc, he should find your store in the search result. The idea behind getting SEO done for your online store is to rank higher in the search result of popular search engines. Search engine optimization coupled with analytics helps you understand that whether your e-commerce store is easily discoverable and visible to internet users or not. It also helps you keep track of the visitors of your e-commerce store, their demographics, their activity and their buying behaviour. If your e-commerce ranks high on any of the popular search engines, it means you would receive more numbers of visitors thereby increased sales.

4. Focus On Selling High Selling Products

The main page or home page of your website should have your top performing product or service. If you have a large catalogue of products then you should avoid promoting all your products on the main page of your website. This usually confuses customers and doesn’t promote them to make the purchase. On the contrary a single or few products which are the most useful products or service for your customers should be highlighted. You should have a test run by targeting a sample customers and sending them mails to drive them to your website’s main page to get their response. After evaluating your target audience response you can decide which products to promote on your home page. If you have a service offering then evaluate which service has the maximum number of subscriber and promote it on your home page. The core product also helps in building the brand image of your store. The brand perception of a company is usually made on the value perception of the top selling product.

5. Aggressive And Targeted Advertising

You should have a proper strategy to not only advertise your products but also how you plan to reach out to your customers. One of the best approaches would be to build a mailing list by asking your existing customers and new visitors to subscribe to updates from your website. You should design holiday season sale or event which would encourage customers to visit your website. Advertising is equally important to online store as it is to a traditional store. The only difference is that you have a lot of flexibility and control over your advertising. Even you can analyze the result of your advertising campaign online. While designing your advertising strategy, you should consider the demographics and preferences of your customers. An unplanned and intrusive ad campaign will do more harm to your brand than good. Always remember this wise principal while advertising that customers don’t want to be sold anything to them, they want to feel that buying was their own decision without any manipulation.

6. Up Selling and Cross Selling

The customer who are ready to make the purchase from your website are most important for success of your holiday season sales. Up selling them the right product which really adds value is a good strategy to get those elusive sales figures. For example if your store is selling electronic gadget, you can provide the customer with the option of buying premium product and showcase the added benefits of purchasing it over the product the customer have selected. You should also cash in the opportunity of cross selling related products. For the same example of electronic gadget you should cross sell covers, cleaning kit, individual parts etc. The cross selling and Up selling are usually preferred by businesses when they have to reduce their inventory levels. One of the mistakes while cross selling and up selling is of timing. If you are cross selling or up selling too early in the purchase process, the customer might get annoyed and abandon the purchase. So the cross selling and Up selling should be utilized in the final stage of the purchase process.

7. Discounts And Offers

Nothing allures shoppers than the notion of sale. Online store are no different from the traditional store when it comes to getting more customers to your store through conducting season sale. The prime focus of should be on getting more and more customers to visit your online store. More the number of customers visit your online store, it will reflect on your sales figures. On the web, pricing in the major differentiator which can be the deciding factor for success of a store. The customers shopping online have a perception that they will find cheaper alternate on the net for the products they are looking for. So keep your pricing after researching on your competitor’s pricing. Whenever you design your sale strategy always give extra advantage to loyal customers who have made repeat purchase from your store over the first time customers. This way the customers will feel valued and purchase more often from your store. Giving your loyal customers loyalty points which they can redeem as discounts is a good strategy for building a long term relationship with your customers

8. Gamification

Gamification can convert the visitors of your online store into your customers. Gamification is a way of engaging customers by encouraging their participation through customer reward program, leadership boards, time counters and progress bars etc. The idea behind this is to influence the customer to take a desired action by providing them game like activities which engage them. For example you can set a countdown timer for your customer for 24 hours which indicates that if they buy again within 24 hours of their purchase they would get some discount. The best thing about gamification strategies is it engages the customers with high level of personalization and yet never reveals itself upfront as a marketing tactic. Gamification strategy is designed to achieve conversion.

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About the Author: Mathew Lemin

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