If you don’t offer free shipping, it’s a good time to start.
These days to compete in the world of e-commerce and online business you can’t ignore the benefits of offering free shipping. Why? Because “42% of holiday shoppers actively seek out free shipping deals.” (Source: www.statisticbrain.com) Consider this: If you, and a competitor offer the same exact product—only your competition offers free shipping—who is likely to land the sale?
As Fit Small Business writer Jeanne Grunert explains, “Free shipping is such an appealing offer for the majority of consumers […] that it makes sense to offer it as much as possible. Just remember to wrap shipping costs into the cost of goods to offset any potential losses.” Free shipping is a no-brainer and if you offer it, don’t be shy about it. Remind potential customers at every turn—on every single consumer facing touchpoint.
Pay per click (PPC) advertising can usher in a holiday windfall.
If customers are not aware of your products and services they are even more unlikely to buy them. This is where strategic and efficient marketing efforts come into play. One of the best ways to build awareness is through online advertising tactics like PPC. In fact, “PPC campaigns increase brand awareness by 63% when businesses use online advertising.” Best of all you can advertise locally and attract customers with the products that they’re searching for
. And only pay when they click to visit your website or call.
Make your small business success list and check it twice.
Studies show that “Sixty-two percent of marketers say their primary goal for holiday 2014 is to extend brand reach and drive sales.” This figure bothers me because I’m left wondering what the other 38 percent of marketers want for the holiday? Nonetheless, if you plan to increase reach and drive sales first start with a measurable plan. Take stock of how you currently market your business (write it down). Then take a closer look at which activities drive sales. Ramp up on what works and micro-test new initiatives during a season that is proven to produce above average results.
Online is huge, but so is ‘the shelf’.
Online is deservedly all the rage these days. But lets not forget those that still enjoy waiting in long lines and camping out in front of stores. It behooves every business to remember this: “90 percent of U.S. retail sales are projected to occur in brick and mortar stores.” (ShopperTrak)
If you don’t operate a physical store, consider how you might develop a presence within existing ones. This starts with reviewing your distribution channels and looking for smart ways to partner with local stores. For example, if you own a shipping and courier service, inquire with local retailers on offering delivery services to customers at a discounted rate. Make it turn key and the store adds value for customers that cannot haul that new sofa on top of their SUV, while you drum up new business. It will take a bit of creativity and initiative to build your holiday bottom-line.
Give, give, and give some more.
Nineteenth century author Charles Dickens once wrote: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” This adage is perceptive and true. While your goal is to build your business this holiday season, don’t discount the importance of authentically giving back. If you support a local cause, now is the time to donate a percentage of sales to charity. The holiday season is truly about giving and you’d be surprised what can happen when you commit to a culture of giving.
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