In our last article, we looked at things you could be doing now to get your infrastructure in place as you head into the biggest selling season of the year. So, with the housekeeping tips tucked away, let's look at how you can make your listings, store, or shipping details look a little more celebratory and inviting to your shoppers.
The gift of gift guides
“Update your website,” says Mallory Musante of boldandpop.com. “Do you have your website up-to-date with your latest press, products and anything else that needs to be updated?” Mallory also recommends that you start offering your customers a glimpse of what’s to come. “Provide sneak peeks of new products or items that will be on sale during the holiday,” she said. “Use your blog to create fun holiday gift guides highlighting your products.”
As an example, Mallory offered a gift guide for tech lovers. “Including all your products that would be ideal for tech lovers helps provide customers with a clear vision of gift options for loved ones and actually makes their lives a little easier by not having to search your website for the perfect gift.” As an added bonus, Mallory reminded us to be sure to use these posts on social media, making anyone who follows you notice how easy it is to fill wish lists by shopping with you.
Provide sneak peeks of new products or items that will be on sale during the holiday
Keep tabs on your competitors
The holiday season may be busy, but it’s no time to slack off when it comes to keeping tabs on your competitors. “Think like a buyer,” recommends Donna MacMurray Klein. Donna manages a popular Facebook Group about selling online and has been selling on eBay since 1998.
“Think marketing and appeal to your buyers,” she said. “Google the biggest websites that sell the same thing.” Using a holiday coffee mug as an example, Donna explains her strategy. “Find a Christmas mug on Walmart, on Macy’s, on Nordstrom,” she said. “Find one at a specialty place like a huge sporting goods store, and find one on Amazon.” Once you have your examples, Donna recommends you study their marketing techniques to see what they all have in common.
“You will find left-alignment of the text and probably bullet points with short phrases and lots of white space between them,” she predicts. “You’ll find all relevant facts that the buyer needs to make a decision, and you’ll find black font on white background.”
Donna also recommends that you make your “how to pay” details clear and easy to find along with shipping costs and return policies. All of the other businesses Donna uses as an example are, in reality, your competitors, so you can’t stay stuck in your ways and expect to compete for a corner of the market. Even these “big guns” with all the resources at their fingertips will be happy to take a part of your profit.
Make sure your listings are mobile-friendly
In thinking of your business in the larger ocean of online sales, your competitors make it very easy for their customers, and they fully recognize that those customers are more likely than ever to be shopping on mobile devices.
“You will find mobile optimization,” she warns, “and every one of their listings will display well on a mobile device.” Once you’ve seen what these big guys do, redo your information so that you can make your products stand out in mobile shopping, and then test your efforts.
“Ask someone who doesn’t shop on eBay to look at your listing on a phone. Is it appealing? Does it display well? Is it professional and positive? Does the price seem in line with the market? Does the shipping seem right?” All of these details may slip your notice because you are so close to your own work. Having fresh eyes evaluate your work will help you identify flaws you might easily overlook.
Once you’ve seen what these big guys do, redo your information so that you can make your products stand out in mobile shopping
Keep last-minute shoppers in mind
Finally, keep those last-minute shoppers in mind, and have a little mercy. Dimira Teneva of metrilo.com suggests that you expand your gift packaging options and offer last-minute downloadable gifts.
“Offer virtual gifts, such as vouchers, for last-minute shoppers who have no time left to wait for delivery,” she said. Mallory Musante also recommends adding some downloadable gifts to your offerings to shower your shoppers with last-minute treats. “The most important thing to remember is to provide something of value that customers would really like to have or use,” she said. As a few examples, she recommends downloadable holiday cards, prints, or tags, a favorite holiday recipe or cocktail recipe, and even a coloring sheet or puzzle game for the kids.
With systems in place and tested, your business can go through the holiday season both merry and bright. Here’s to lots of sales, lots of satisfied customers, and lots of business growth well into 2017!