Top Tips for Making Your Online Business Stand Out From the Competition for the Holidays
With more and more shoppers preferring to buy online rather than in store, businesses are changing the way they sell in order to meet these evolving needs. For many, this means opening their own ecommerce stores, or selling online through pre-established marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay. This has resulted in more online retailers than ever before, and the competition has never been as fierce.
According to research undertaken by ecommerce analysis company PipeCandy, there are now somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 online retailers in the USA and Canada alone. If we were to include sellers that use marketplaces, this figure rises to a whopping 1.3 million. Consider that similar research published by Forbes estimated that there were just 102,000 online retailers in 2013.
Time for Action
The competition is intense, but this is not a time for businesses to simply roll over and admit defeat. This is a time when businesses should be taking action, especially with the holiday season just around the corner. Thanksgiving particularly has become one of the most profitable days of the year, with a reported $2.9 billion spent on Thanksgiving in 2017; nearly 20% more than the figure for the previous year.
This is a time when businesses should be fighting to stand out from the crowd, and doing everything they can to increase conversions as we edge closer and closer to Thanksgiving… not to mention other major shopping events coming up, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas! So just how can online retailers effectively and efficiently boost sales at this time of year, without breaking their budget?
Here are 4 fantastic tips for standing out and selling more this Thanksgiving:
1. Expand Your Reach
While it is arguably easier to sell through one online channel only, it’s important to remember that this method can significantly minimize and limit your reach. If you’re looking for ways to sell more at Thanksgiving, then the obvious starting point is to place your products in front of more prospective customers. Take some time to think about where your audience is, and bring your products to them.
Looking at user demographics can come in handy here. For example, Amazon tends to attract a slightly younger shopper between the ages of 18 and 34, while eBay boasts more shoppers over the age of 35. Similarly, Amazon has more female shoppers than male shoppers, while eBay is the other way around.
However, multi channel selling does come with a few problems. Can you imagine having to do your product content, listings, order processing, invoicing, and picking twice…. Or even three times if you’re using three separate channels? Well luckily you don’t have to, if you use the right sales automation software!
2. Perfect Your Content
Experts at the Nielsen Norman Group have found that around 20% of all online purchases fail because of poor product content. Usually, this means content that is unclear or confusing, or content that does not provide the shopper with all the information they need to complete the purchase. That’s why, this Thanksgiving, optimized product content should be a major consideration for all online retailers.
When writing your product content, try to include words that sell; emotive, powerful words that engage your audience. It’s also a good idea to include photos and video where possible, although remember that most consumers believe that a good quality photo is more important than good quality text!
Creating great content isn’t easy, which is why many businesses want to re-use content for all channels. The problem, of course, is that different channels have different listing requirements. You can make things easier for yourself by using software that imports your listings from a single ‘master catalogue’.
3. Think Marketing
If you want to sell products, you must market products. Selling and marketing really do go hand-in-hand, and yet many online retailers tend to underestimate the power of marketing. To sell more, it’s important not to think of product listings and product advertising as two separate and distinct functions, and instead look into ways that make it possible to combine the two into a single function.
At this time of year especially, you can’t afford to have marketing be little more than an afterthought. Why? Because as a nation we’re early planners. We get excited about the holidays and we start getting ready weeks in advance. In fact, studies have found that Thanksgiving-related searches begin to rise more than 2 weeks before the occasion. Be prepared, and start marketing your products as you list them.
4. Focus on Communication
Although online shopping is now considered to be the norm, customers are still a little wary of the process as a whole, with research showing that 83% of customers require support through their purchasing journey. Unfortunately, around one third of shoppers find it difficult to access the help they need from the businesses they buy from, resulting in a very notable business/consumer disconnect.
What is particularly worrying is findings that suggest that 62% of businesses don’t respond to customer enquiries. Of those that do, the average response time is an unbelievable 12 hours; much longer than the one hour expected by today’s online shoppers. But is this delay always intentional? Perhaps not.
When trying to sell more, through multiple channels, the communication process becomes fragmented and it’s easy for businesses to overlook an important message. That’s why, at this time of year, using software that combines communications into a centralized message system can be hugely beneficial.
The Importance of Thanksgiving
We all know the importance of Thanksgiving, but what some of us may not know is its importance from a sales perspective. Just one short month before Christmas, Thanksgiving primes customers for the big end-of-year holiday. It’s a time for online retailers to demonstrate their speed, efficiency, problem-solving skills, communication, and post-sales support, showing customers that they have what it takes to handle what is certainly the busiest time of the year for online shopping.