A great fourth-quarter holiday promotion can lift your store’s sales to new heights. An average promotion – not so much. Because so much of an online retailer’s sales and profits come during the fourth quarter, it’s vital to plan your promotions in advance.
First of all, think carefully about your overall strategy. While everyone uses the word “sale” during the holidays, pricing isn’t the only way to promote your merchandise. If you have an unusual product line for example, you may want to highlight the special qualities of your merchandise. That’s also the case in some luxury product categories where promoting a low price might actually turn off buyers looking for top-of-the-line quality.
Here are some ideas to consider when planning your fourth-quarter holiday promotions. You can get more tips from online sources like Second Street Promotions Lab.
- Decide on what merchandise to promote this year. Do you want to put your best-selling products on sale? Would it make more sense to promote those “hard-to-move” products that have been in inventory for several months? In any case, you should know your costs and margins, so you don’t wind up losing money on a discounted item.
- Rename the “on sale” section of your store. Promote those featured items on a “seasonal savings” or “holiday specials” section of your site.
- Make sure your store’s promotion has visual impact. Ask your graphic designer to come up with eye-catching illustrations, photos or videos that attract prospects to your merchandise.
- Plan an unusual one-day sale. Everyone pays attention to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two biggest retail days of the year. But why not pick another day for your own holiday promotion? How about a “Wild Wednesday” storewide sale or a special “TGIF” sale? This strategy can bring in extra dollars without jeopardizing your traditional Cyber Monday sales promotion.
- Promote your holiday specials through email. This is a great way to tell your loyal customers and interested prospects about your promotions. You can include a discount code, include appealing photos, send a testimonial video or use an illustration to promote your store’s products.
- Offer a special promotion to your social media followers. How about a “Facebook Friends and Family” special or a four-hour mark-down code tweeted to your Twitter followers? Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and you should use those channels as often as possible during the holiday season.
- Promote add-on purchases. There are a variety of ways to encourage your shoppers to add merchandise to their carts. You could “recommend” items related to the initial purchase and offer a special package price. Another approach is to give shoppers a discount for purchases over a certain amount.
- Offer gift wrapping. Many shoppers like the convenience of ordering pre-wrapped gifts. Look at your costs and pricing structure to see what you would need to charge for this offer, and if it can be free on larger orders.
- Incorporate a “free shipping” offer for customers who put $25, $50, $100 or some other amount in their shopping carts. Look carefully at your shipping costs and adjust this promotion accordingly. Remember to also offer customers expedited shipping options (with a higher charge), particularly late in the holiday season.
- Promote your return policy. Giving your customers peace of mind can encourage them to place an order from your store. A “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” may be a convincing argument for some shoppers.
Finally, use your creativity to make your promotion stand out from the crowd. If you sell nautical products, for instance, invite customers to take part in a “holiday sail.” If you contribute to a charitable organization, offer a “buy one, give one” promotion (“you buy an item and we give $1”). The possibilities for promoting your merchandise are endless.