Improve Your Customer Retention with 6 Digital Tips



A key to retail profits is to up your customer retention game. Unless you have a bare-bones marketing budget for minimal results, in major markets it can cost you as much as $300 just in advertising costs to attract one customer.

True, marketing has evolved rapidly in the last quarter century. And yes, it’s important to be mindful of trends, especially digital marketing trends.

Outstanding loyalty programs for stellar customer engagement play an important role to improve your prospects for lifetime customer value.

How?

stockimages cartImplement strategies to thoroughly attract, engage and retain customers with digital convenience and price-saving.

Digital initiatives will save you time and money to increase your revenue with enhanced customer retention results.

Here are six tips:

1. Design and implement an integrated approach

It isn’t enough to just have an e-mail campaign. You must set the stage for a dialogue. Plan to send in-stock announcements. Send delivery-confirmation e-mails.

In all communications, include your branding to prevent buyers’ remorse. Too many companies rely on their shipping companies for these messages.

Timing is important, too. Delivery confirmations with your branding should go out within minutes of a delivery.

2. Your loyalty program should include a points-based scenario

Every time customers make a purchase, award them redeemable points to enhance their shopping experience. Again, such communications must include your branding.

This is also where your pricing is important. If you give a few points for every dollar in a purchase, be sure you price your products right.

You can also consider awarding points for a product review with a bonus if customers include a video or picture in the reviews.

Again, if you strategically price your products, you can also consider a discount on most or all products and free shipping once their orders reach a minimum dollar amount.

Plan also to permit redemption of their points in the online checkouts and mortar store purchases.

It’s all about showing value and convenience.

Stay Current. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Nor is there any future in it.

3. Facilitate convenience with social logins

Decide which social mediums your likely customers use such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Permit your visitors sign in and register with social sites.

Consider inserting buttons for the salient social sites as well as a toolbar from AddThis or ShareThis that allow customers to use any one of nearly 300 social mediums.

4. Implement a subscription-and-save model

For frequent sales to the same customers, consider a subscription program with discounts that will lead to frequent purchases.

Include subscription options on all your product and checkout pages.

While you’re incorporating these ideas, be careful. Top e-commerce sites risk losing money by adding too many bells and whistles.

5. Keep an open mind

Again, it’s all about value and convenience. Promote all sales channels and enable one-click shopping. Allow your customers to use their favorite channels – from your bricks-and-mortar location to your Web site.

Consider using comparison-shopping malls and engines to enable you to appear on a diversity of channels to target your prospects.

Make it possible for your customers to visual how your products’ utility. For example, if you sell wearable items, empower customers to virtually try them out.

6. Build Trust

It’s important to take precautions. Be mindful of your legal requirements.

Make certain you’re using the latest security measures and strategies. Be prepared with a response strategy in the event of a breach.

Tell your customers what you’re doing to solve the issue, and give them ample opportunity to get in touch with your company.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are editor’s picks for relevant articles:

Tech Checklist to Provide the Best Customer Support — Ever wonder why big chains – from quick-service restaurants to electronic products – print invitations on sales receipts to entice customers to go the companies’ Web sites to comment online? They’re doing it for customer engagement. Businesses need insights on how they’re faring with customers.

14 Web Site Tactics to Attract Repeat B2B Customers — There are many tactics you can use to attract loyal B2B customers via your Web site. Above all, you must demonstrate value. Here’s how.

8 Basic Social Media Tips for a Newbie in E-commerce — Are you just starting out using social media? Well, if used well, social media is an excellent tool to accomplish two goals – connecting with your existing customers and attracting fans for new business.

10 Best Tech Strategies for Stronger Financial Results — Businesses that use 10 digital best practices are achieving stronger financial results than those that don’t.

Marketing Tips via Mobile Devices, Reviews, Coupons — Digital marketing opportunities keep growing and growing. For instance, 70 percent of consumers research product reviews while they shop in stores. Ninety percent are relying on their mobile devices as they make in-store buying decisions.

8 Red Flags Your Web Site is Out-of-Date — Just like your finances, human resources and other aspects of your business, your Web site should be continuously monitored for red flags and to be sure it’s not out-of date. Yes, it’s time-consuming and expensive, but any problems should be solved. The trick is to do it right, cost-effectively.

Stay Current. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Nor is there any future in it.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy stockimages at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net 


8 Tips for Your Social Media to Work Well in E-commerce



If used well, social media is an excellent tool to accomplish two goals – connecting with your existing customers and attracting fans for new business.

Celebrities, politicians and businesses, of course, use social media to engage their fans.

It’s worth noting that social media should be synergized with other elements in your marketing approach.

Here are eight basics to remember:

1. Analyze the best social media for you to create accounts

So first you must know your target audience. What are their habits and preferences? What social media do they tend to use?

If you want to reach professionals, LinkedIn is a must for both B2B and B2C. That’s true whether you want to connect with small businesspeople or folks at big firms. Facebook is the general medium to use for reaching typical B2C.

You can create a business page but the costs might exceed your budget if you boost posts with advertising. Photo-based Web sites – Instagram or Pinterest – will help you show images to engage prospects in a fun way.

Of the two, it might best and there are several ways to use Instagram for revenue. Twitter is ideal for all types of businesses. It’s perfect if you want to publicize the different aspects of your customer service.

2. Make sure your branding is up-to-date

Tap into the emotions of your customers and prospects. Create an emotional need – a desire for them to buy.

Have a great slogan, logo and value proposition. Then, you can update people with a buzz about your new products and promotions and LTOs – limited time offers. Know that Internet shoppers demand the 3 Cs – channels, choices and convenience.

3. For repeat business, offer incentives

Think about how much it costs you to acquire a new customer via advertising. In many cases, it can cost $300 or more in major markets. So, you’ll want each customer to become loyal and buy from you repeatedly.

Do your math to make certain you’re profitable if you devise coupons, deals, discounts and specials – because most good customers want to be valued and appreciated.

4. Use social media for each of your promotions

Frequently offer your products and services – like in a restaurant menu, differentiate each time so customers will be inclined to sample all your offerings. Don’t forget your value propositions.

5. Don’t be predictable and boring

Like a bricks-and-mortar store frequently changes its window displays, use all your social-media options to create variety and excitement. F

or a unique shopping experience, that means using images, videos, contests, and links to fun/informative articles and blogs.

6. For e-commerce, insert a good shopping cart

Most customers will consider buying for five reasons: What they think of you, the image of your customer, the product or service utility, price and convenience.

So make it easy and convenient to shop.

If you like using Facebook, you can add an online store to your business page so they don’t have the inconvenience of going to another site. Price your products so you can offer free shipping.

7. Strategize with a mobile Web site

Increasingly, people are shopping with their smartphones and tablets. So make sure you have a great mobile site to accommodate them.

8. Accommodate hashtag users

With the exception of Facebook (visual content works on Facebook, but hashtags don’t) hashtags are an excellent tool to help customers and prospects to find you.

For each of your products or benefits, include a hashtag. For example, if you provide free shipping, insert a hashtag (#FreeShipping).

From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional relevant strategies:

Why it’s Never Too Early to Plan for Q4 E-commerce — Get ready ASAP for this year’s Q4 online sales. It’s never too early. Why? A study of e-commerce discloses some secrets you might need to know.

Trending: How Merchants Increase Profits in Q4 Holiday Sales — As consumers continue to start earlier and earlier to shop for their holiday giving, merchants are honing their marketing strategies. Their tools include advertising, brand protection, strategic pricing, staging events, and using traditional media and digital.

Marketing Tips to Run Your Online Business for Higher Profit — E-commerce has made it possible for entrepreneurs to get a fast return on their investments with higher profits. Here’s how they do it.

14 Tips to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce.

5 Business Tips to Avoid Problems with an EMV System — To make it tougher for consumers to commit credit card fraud and to make it easy for businesses to avoid charge-back liability, credit card companies are issuing EMV cards.

Plagued by Chargebacks? 5 Ways to Fight Back — Increasingly, merchants are being victimized by chargebacks in illicit of behavior credit-cardholders. To avert being victimized by such fraud, here are five key steps.

“You can’t do it unless you can imagine it.”

-George Lucas


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy stock images at www.freedigitalphotos.net

By Adding Bells and Whistles, You Risk Losing Money with a Slower Site



We’ve all experienced the frustration of slow-loading Web sites. As a result, we now learn the sites mean companies will make less revenue. This has implications for any company that wants to make money in e-commerce.

It’s official: At alarming rates, many top e-commerce Web sites risk losing sales because they’re too slow according to a Radware (www.radware.com) study.

The report is entitled, “State of the Union: Ecommerce Page Speed & Web Performance Summer 2015.”

tablet adamrJudging by their visitors’ rate sites – based on rankings by Alexa – just 12 percent of the top 100 e-commerce are successful in satisfying users. The expectations include content and download speed.

The trend is even more eye-opening. The recommended download speed is three seconds. But the median speed is 5.5 seconds. The slowest speed was 34.1 seconds.

In fact, 14 percent of the most-popular retailing sites take more than 10 seconds before visitors can use them. That’s an increase of 9 percent in 2015.

“No retailer wants to abandon up to 57 percent of their inbound site traffic, especially during the holiday selling season,” says Radware’s Vice President of Acceleration Kent Alstad.

“Retailers must invest in user experience for online customers, and that includes both content and page load time,” he adds. Serving more content to customers is expected but the goal is delivering more content, faster. That’s the ‘magic formula.’ Web performance optimization, or lack thereof, will directly impact the bottom line for retailers this holiday season.”

Why the slow trend?

Radware indicates sites have added features in efforts to satisfy user desires. However, the sites fail to use techniques in core optimization. This means page sizes are too large and multifarious.

To increase download speed, here are three Radware tips:

  1. Reformat images with lower resolution.
  2. Insert complex content below the fold.
  3. Fuse JavaScript and CSS into common files.

Here’s more in Radware’s infographic:

2015 Summer State of the Union: Ecommerce Page Speed & Web Performance Infographic

From the Coach’s Corner, here are several relevant articles to help your Web site:

Google’s Quest to Increase Page Speeds but Offer Expires — Important: If you took advantage of Google’s offer to accelerate your download speed, here’s what you must do.

Download Speed Matters for WordPress Web Sites – 5 Tips — Actually, download speed matters on all Web sites. Even if your WordPress Web site has compelling content with graphics and pictures, image and user convenience are equally important. So your site’s download speed matters – a lot.

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers.

10 Tips to Optimize Your Web Site for Higher Sales — If you haven’t optimized your Web site for sales, you might want to reconsider. There are more and more indications that online shopping will continue to grow.

Your Mobile Site: 7 Precautions for a Top Google Ranking — With the skyrocketing sales of smartphones and tablets, comes a warning from Google. If you don’t have a mobile site, you should. And if you do, make sure it has what Google calls “mobile friendliness.” Here are seven precautions to take.

“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”

-Charles M. Schulz


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of adamr at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Marketing Tips to Run Your Online Business for Higher Profit



The Internet, of course, has made it possible for entrepreneurs to get a fast return on their investments with higher profits. Successful e-commerce is accomplished thanks to access to millions of consumers worldwide.

However, countless entrepreneurs have mistakenly thought all they had to do was put up a Web site and the money would flow.

Many entrepreneurs have also learned that a lack of great reviews – or much worse, bad reviews – will disillusion prospects and customers.

Web site owners have also neglected the potential of mobile-friendly Web sites. Unfortunately for them, they’re being penalized by not being able to reach the masses of people who are increasingly using their smartphones to shop.

Entrepreneurs are also learning that their competitors with mobile sites are ranking higher on Google than they are, and sell more product because they create the best possible mobile apps.

stockimages cartTo maximize your digital opportunities, here are the basics:

1. Understand the online selling process

To get loyal customers for repeat sales, there are five stages:

Introduction – your prospects are introduced to your business usually via social media or by visiting your site.

Persuasion – your prospects are exposed to your value propositions and reasons to buy.

Interaction – you engage the prospects with options and answering questions via a chat or with a FAQ section.

Selling – your shopping cart goes into action with online sales, or you sell over the telephone or in your bricks and mortar store.

Preservation – you track user preferences and follow-up to entice them into repeat buying.

2. Understand why your company is unique

Determine your best niche and why you’re the best. So know your strengths and weaknesses.

Identify your target audience and their likely perceptions and preferences. Start to create your brand’s personality. Develop value propositions or benefit statements so your prospects will perceive value.

Create a branding slogan in three to five words and develop a simple, but memorable logo.

A simple logo as a favicon is important for use in a search engine presentation (for a brief explanation about favicons, see the eight best practices in small business marketing).

… countless entrepreneurs have mistakenly thought all they had to do was put up a Web site and the money would flow.

3. Determine what skills are needed

You or someone on your staff needs to be analytical with the ability to think critically. The person needs to be capable of making strategic moves to anticipate necessary steps, and tracking your successes and failures.

This means it’s important to study analytic reports about your social media, your blog readers and visits to your site.

Someone has to stay on top of online reviews and respond accordingly.

4. Identify and implement marketing behavior to match your goals

Certainly, you want top-of-the-mind brand awareness. You also want to make sales. To achieve these goals you must identity the right tactics.

But most entrepreneurs fall into a trap – they’re constantly putting out fires – reacting instead of acting. That stems from confusion in not knowing how their efforts contribute to the objectives of the big picture.

So they engage in busywork – starting a Twitter or Facebook account – without a vision for growth for the big picture goal. What they need to be doing is understanding human nature – how the average online visitor decides to buy.

5. Determine your investment

An investment can be in the form of energy, money or time. You must decide on a budget for each.

That means how much effort you will expend in blogging, earned advertising including online press releases, using the right social media, search-engine optimization, developing centers of influence and paid advertising.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies:

14 Steps to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

Marketing Tips via Mobile Devices, Reviews, Coupons — Digital marketing opportunities keep growing and growing. For instance, 70 percent of consumers research product reviews while they shop in stores. Ninety percent are relying on their mobile devices as they make in-store buying decisions.

4 Best Practices to Enhance Your Google Ranking with Digital Content – There are four best practices if you want strong ranking from Google’s search rank algorithms, higher click-through rates and more social sharing from your content and press releases. That’s according to the Ranking Factors Study from Searchmetrics. The study shows the four practices improve message visibility and campaign results on the Internet.

For Strong Local SEO Performance, Avoid 6 Errors — A key strategy to make your cash register ring is to have a strong Internet presence. That means strategizing for strong local search-engine optimization (SEO). With strong local SEO performance, your business will have online top-of-the-mind awareness in your community. You want to be easily discovered by potential customers.

Social Media – 5 Quick Tips to Boost Your Christmas Sales — Here are five social-media ways to increase sales by the end of the holiday season.

“The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”

-Aristotle Onassis


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of stockimages www.freedigitalphotos.net

Internet Shoppers Demand 3 Cs – Customer Experience Study



Success in e-commerce is increasingly challenging for retailers that want to dominate in brand preference, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising.

That’s because consumers want more and more in the three Cs — channels, choices and convenience.

In a 2013 global study of commissioned by United Parcel Service, research firm comScore discovered seven key developments in online shopping preferences of consumers:

ID-10098648 stockimages1. More information at the start of the online experience

2. More options during checkout and delivery

3. More channels for interacting with their favorite retailers

4. A seamless returns process

5. Free shipping

6. Social access

7. Mobile access

“From mobile apps to social media platforms, today’s consumers value – and even expect – services to work together across the entire shopping continuum from pre-purchase to post-purchase,” said Nicolas Dorget, vice president of customer solutions, UPS Canada.

“With more and more device options for staying connected to their favorite brands, retailers have a growing number of touch points through which to reach consumers,” said Susan Engleson, senior director at comScore. “Retailers that customize shopping experiences so that these experiences align with how customers use different devices and platforms have a real opportunity to build brand loyalty and drive sales.”

Channels

Shoppers demonstrated a preference for retailers that deliver an integrated and value-added experience across all channels, including in-store, online and via mobile devices.

  • The single most important factor, cited by 65 percent of respondents, was the ability to buy online and make returns in-store, while the second most important factor is availability of in-store pickup (49 percent).
  • Nearly 30 percent of shoppers want to be able to purchase in-store with their mobile device and want a mobile application for their smartphones.
  • Nearly half of consumers using a retailer’s mobile app are less likely to comparison shop when using an app versus a browser.

Choices

Shoppers also indicated that they want more control over their online shopping experience.  Having access to multiple options with regards to shipping and delivery policies was proven to lead to a decrease in cart abandonment upon checkout.

  • Nearly 90 percent of online shoppers indicated they have placed items in their shopping carts and left the site without making a purchase.
  • Online consumers indicated that communicating shipping costs and delivery times early in the online shopping experience can help alleviate cart abandonment.
  • More than three quarters of online shoppers said they have added items to their shopping carts in order to qualify for free shipping, suggesting that retailers’ minimum spending thresholds for free shipping are effective at inducing consumers to spend more.

Convenience

Simple return policies drive satisfaction and repeat business, according to the study; therefore, having a seamless returns process is essential.

  • Nearly 50 percent have returned a product purchased online.
  • Sixty-five percent of consumers will shop more with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free returns policy.

The global study is based on a survey of more than 14,000 frequent online shoppers in the U.S., Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy and the UK), Asia (China, Hong Kong, Singapore), Australia, Mexico and Canada. Click on this animated map to learn more about each region.

From the Coach’s Corner, read more about marketing:

Marketing – Why Visual Content Works on Facebook, but Hashtags Don’t – Ninety-eight percent of top brands have a Facebook fan page, but Facebook’s hashtags don’t enhance engagement with consumers. That’s one of two salient conclusions from an analysis of top-brand experiences from marketing on Facebook. 

Why Companies Are High Maintenance to Customers (but Don’t Know It) – Businesses are losing more than they know because they inconvenience customers. Such negative customer perceptions result in lost opportunities in revenue growth, tarnished branding and smaller profit margins, according to a study. 

Insights – Why Marketers Should Show Moderation in Digital Communication – Businesses will decrease their chances for customer loyalty and repeat business if they don’t act with more self-control in digital marketing, according to a study. 

“The web is the ultimate customer-empowering environment. He or she who clicks the mouse gets to decide everything. It is so easy to go elsewhere; all the competitors in the world are but a mouseclick away.”

-Jakob Nielsen


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Social Media vs. Traditional Online Marketing – Where’s the Money?



If you think Facebook and Pinterest will generate a lot of sales for your e-commerce business, think again.

For big sites, at least, social media only drives less than 1 percent of online purchases.

After analyzing 77,000 online purchases, that’s the salient conclusion from a Forrester study, “The Purchase Path of Online Buyers In 2012,” according to published reports.

Forrester’s study coincided with at least one other report that online spending that year continued its fast growth.

Forrester reports the best Web sources of new customers:

— Direct visits to Web sites

— Organic search

— Paid search

Best sources of existing customers:

— Direct site visits

— E-mail

— Organic search

This is not to say social media is a waste of time and money. Consumers generally like Facebook, Pinterest and other social media. But the sites are mainly used to learn about products and services – not for selling.

Multiple channels

Forrester also found that about 50 percent of repeat customers and 33 percent of new customers make a buying decision after experiencing branding messages from multiple sources.

A company’s Web site typically accounts for 30 percent of e-commerce sales.

Thirty-nine percent of sales result from organic and paid search. Forrester explains that organic and paid search are helpful for marketers because such customers already know what they want to buy. This means the key to internet dominance is integration.

Nearly 33 percent of repeat business is generated by e-mail. So, it behooves a business to try to obtain customer e-mail addresses, and to use any customer information to target specific sales messages.

Forrester also found that about 50 percent of repeat customers and 33 percent of new customers make a buying decision after experiencing branding messages from multiple sources.

Marketing automation

In my experience, this is why sophisticated marketers use integrated marketing automation.

Forrester believes social media drives more customers for small business. But small-business wasn’t included in the study.

Keep in mind that Facebook is experiencing fewer users and a drop in consumer satisfaction.

Furthermore, another Forrester study ranks Facebook last in “business value” among 13 digital options by 395 marketers in the U.S. and Canada.

So, while social media remains popular, traditional online marketing – search, e-mail, and Web sites – remain the most-effective complements to public relations, broadcasting, and other advertising mediums.

(Note: The Forrester report costs $499. I’m including the link for your convenience, but The Biz Coach does not receive any payment for the referral.)

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles:

Tips, Plus Why it’s Never Too Early to Plan for Q4 E-commerce —   It’s never to early to get ready ASAP for Q4 online sales. Why? A study of e-commerce released in 2012 covering from November 24 to December 24, 2011, discloses some secrets you might need to know.

How Small Businesses Can Profit from Cyber Strategies — Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Small and even regional retailers should be cognizant of three realities: Potential customers probably think that national chains have easier-to-shop Web sites.

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing  your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers. If you’ve prepared your merchandise and cleaned your store, you’re half done in creating happy customers.

Plagued by Chargebacks? 5 Ways to Fight Back — Increasingly, merchants are being victimized by chargebacks in illicit of behavior credit-cardholders. To avert being victimized by such fraud, here are five key steps.

Strategies for Retailers to Prevent E-Commerce Fraud — Merchants are certainly aware of online fraud and 65 percent are trying to fight it, but their efforts aren’t working according to a study.

“E-commerce businesses, even e-commerce specialists, have yet to realize that the WWW is first and foremost an emotional experience. Few websites reflect this important priority.”

-Grant Fairley


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Photo courtesy Ambro at www.freedigialphotos.net


Why it’s Never Too Early to Plan for Q4 E-commerce



It’s never to early to get ready ASAP for Q4 online sales.

MerchantTribe.com reports shoppers start early and are buying more items daily in the holiday shopping season.

Why? A study of e-commerce released in 2012 covering from November 24 to December 24, 2011, discloses some secrets you might need to know.

ID-100258178But the size of their shopping carts soon decrease significantly.

That’s the conclusion from studying data from merchants using MerchantTribe shopping cart software – for books, clothing, electronics, software, and sporting goods.

“We were surprised by the significant change in how much is spent per-order over the season,” said Marcus McConnell, founder of MerchantTribe.

“That seemed to defy the conventional wisdom that shoppers are as influenced by price at the beginning of the season than at the end,” explained Mr. McConnell.

“Perhaps shoppers purchase gifts for more important recipients first. Or maybe they wait for harder to shop for friends and family members and they’ve exhausted their budgets,” he added.

He provides another important conclusion: “Either way, they become more cost conscious the closer to Christmas they shop.”

More details from the study:

  • Customers placed more online orders as the season progressed, peaking on December 20.
  • Merchants made the highest amount of revenue per day shortly after Thanksgiving.
  • Customers spent significantly more per online order at the beginning of the season than at the end.
  • Conversion rates rose throughout the season, but dropped off around December 20.

To attract more cost-conscious buyers late in the selling season, Mr. McConnell’s suggests:

  1. Bundle your sale items.
  2. On minimum orders, offer discount shipping rates.
  3. Create late-breaking affordable groups.
  4. Because conversion rates increase when shoppers stop comparing prices, but conversions decrease about December 20, consider increasing shipping rates to offset the smaller orders.

For more, Website Magazine published a informative article: Merchant’s Marketing Guide to Christmas in July. It provides excellent reminders about promotions, keywords, e-mail, social media and mobile advertising.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resources:

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing  your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers. If you’ve prepared your merchandise and cleaned your store, you’re half done in creating happy customers.

How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Cyber Strategies for Profit — Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Small and even regional retailers should be cognizant of three realities.

5 Strategies to Sell More from Your Web Site — To paraphrase a line from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” it’s not always true that if you build a Web site, people will buy. These five tips work.

Web Site ‘Priming’ – 6 Tips That Will Help You Succeed — If you want to increase your odds for Internet success, you might consider priming your Web site. Priming is a method to motivate users to make decisions when they visit your site. I gather the term was coined by the inventor of a testing tool that enables Web-site owners to obtain reactions to their sites.

Convert More Prospects with 10 Best Marketing Tips (Even on a Tight Budget) — So you’ve got a pile of business cards from prospects, but you haven’t converted them? Great sales stem from great marketing. You can’t grow crops until you plant the right seeds. That’s the purpose of marketing.

“E-commerce businesses, even e-commerce specialists, have yet to realize that the WWW is first and foremost an emotional experience. Few websites reflect this important priority.”

-Grant Fairley

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy stockimages www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.