Selling products online during the holiday season involves changing a lot of your policies. People have very different expectations and needs during the holiday season. These five tips will help you gear your website up for holiday sales.
==> Tip #1: Offer Expedited Shipping and Shipping Prediction
Even if you don’t normally offer expedited shipping, in the holiday season you absolutely should. People need to know their gifts will arrive before Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year.
Install a shipping calculator on your site. That’s where when someone checks a shipping option, your site tells them:
“Your item will arrive by December 22, 2012.”
This helps people plan for which shipping options they need.
==> Tip #2: Offer Gift Wrapping
People will often order gifts for loved ones online. Naturally, they’ll want their gifts wrapped for them.
They may mail the item to themselves already pre-gift wrapped to give to someone by hand, or they might mail the gift to them directly. You should accommodate both.
==> Tip #3: Downplay Non-Gift Product Lines
Let’s say you run a high end clothing store that sells mostly jeans online. However, the reality is nobody buys $200 jeans for their friends.
Instead, most people buy their friends items like jewelry. Instead of prominently displaying your jeans like you do the rest of the year, you’re better off downplaying the jeans and making the jewelry more prominent.
Focus your marketing and your inventory on products that are more likely to be gifts.
==> Tip #4: Sell Gift Certificates
It may be a cliche, but when someone doesn’t know what to buy someone, the most common gift is a gift certificate. It’s not as romantic as knowing the perfect gift, but it’s the reality of holiday shopping.
If you aren’t selling gift certificates, you’re going to miss out on a big segment of the holiday shopping market.
Remember that online gift certificates aren’t enough. You need to physically mail a gift certificate, as people want to give away things that can be held in their hands.
==> Tip #5: Make Products Refundable
Give a receipt with every purchase and make sure it’s refundable for at least a month after the holiday season. The reality is, of course, that with a product purchased online very few people will actually return a product.
People who buy gifts for others always worry about whether or not someone will like the gift. If someone has no use for a gift, they’ll often just return the gift for the money.
Even if not a lot of people will actually take advantage of this, it still helps people relieve their doubts by having the option.
These five tips will help you prepare your website for holiday buyers. Remember: holiday buyers have a very different mentality than buyers during the rest of the year.