How is your holiday season going? Are you enjoying the sales you hoped and planned for? I hope that Craft Venture’s holiday preparation series helped you get our shop(s) and website(s) ready!
Of course, you might be wishing you had more traffic and sales (and who doesn’t want more sales?). It’s not too late too do something about that!
Increase your shipping options
One very easy thing to do is to increase your shipping options (this section is geared to sellers living in the United States, my apologies to our international friends!). Don’t ship outside of the United States? It’s probably too late for first class shipments to arrive in time for Christmas, but what about priority? Shipping by international priority flat rate envelope – or even flat rate box – is so easy! True, priority shipping outside of the States is a bit expensive, but if your customer is willing to pay for it, why not offer it?
Similarly, if you ship first class within the States, this is the time of year to offer priority shipping! First class shipping started slowing down Thanksgiving week. One good storm between you and your recipient could result in an order arriving after Christmas, but priority shipping nearly always arrives within three days (and often two)!
Furthermore, consider offering express and guaranteed express shipping. From my years of working in retail, there are many shoppers in an absolute panic on Christmas Eve. Give your customers an option for super quick shipping right up to the last possible minute that you are able to ship. (I’ve been known to pay an arm and a leg for shipping on the 23rd of December, so I speak from experience!)
Create fun promotions and specials
You might not be able afford shop- or sitewide discounts. But you can probably create a “loss leader” or two, to bring folks into your shop. A loss leader is an item offered at or even below cost, with the intent to increase sales on more profitable items. I’m not suggesting – or advocating – losing money! However, can you create a fun promotion? Perhaps entries into a giveaway with each purchase, or buy two get one free, or 1/3 off a particular item (your loss leader!)?
Get the word out about your promotion or sale! Use your mailing list, Twitter, Facebook, ads, blog and other online resources (while avoiding going overboard and spamming folks). Ask your family and friends to get the word out for you. Check your favorite design and shopping blogs for sections for promotions and specials. Let your favorite blog owners know about your special – they just may choose to put it on their blog (note: don’t send the same special to multiple blogs – blog owners prefer to be the only recipient of your news or event)!
Create an exclusive sale or special for your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, newsletter subscribers, blog readers, etc. Give your customers a compelling reason to follow you and reward them for doing so!
It’s not too late to place a few ads for the holidays! It’s never too late to use Project Wonderful. Just make sure you have a visually engaging ad and that you keep in mind your target audience. You can even point your ad to your sale or special, rather than your overall site or shop. Check with your favorite blogs – one or two may just still have ad space! And be sure to check with your local newspaper and media, who are always looking for unique gifts to share with their readers and viewers.
It’s not too late!
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just three weeks away! It’s not too late to try a few things to increase your holiday sales. Of course, none of these are guarantees for increased sales, but they may just help! Some folks resist the idea of loss leaders, worried that they’ll sell too many at the lower price. However, unless you’ve hit on the perfect marketing strategy for your promotion, you’re not likely to sell out of your promotional items. I usually sell just a few of my promotional items while seeing an increase in sales for my full price items.
Also, remember that this is your opportunity to convert one time holiday shoppers into regular customers! Show off your superb customer service with each and every order. Do you want your customers to know you as the-fantastic-artist-and-seller-who-saved-them when they couldn’t find quite the right color or their package was lost or they had to return something because the color didn’t match the outfit or (fill in the blank)? If your service is superb and you go above and beyond the call of duty, trust me, your customers will remember you well into the New Year!
What about you? Have you paid for expedited shipping before, in order to receive a gift in time for a holiday or birthday? Do you offer it to your customers? Do you have customer service tips for our readers, particularly geared toward holiday shoppers?