Are You An Online Santa

by Robert McCourty

All SEO Articles

This article from The Mender (Issue 18),
Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter.


I have a feeling this will be a special Christmas for many people. World events of late have us doing a lot more self-actualization and reviewing priorities like never before. Staying close to home, hunkered down, wrapping ourselves around our families and our friends. The psychologists call it "Cocooning," I think a lot of people will be in a cocoon this holiday season.

How about you? Are you planning on spending more or less money this Christmas than previous years? If the answer is less, you are not alone. Retail sales are predicted to be low. Air travel will be less then usual. Overall consumer spending will more than likely decrease from previous years.

One area of sales which may increase however, is online sales. When people cocoon they tend to spend more time surfing the net.

Here are a few marketing tips to help you increase sales during this season.

*Your web site should have the ability to process credit cards or electronic transactions and to give instant receipts. There are many third party transaction sites which can offer this service. PayPal seems to be a good one. It allows you to send and receive money online.

*Offer some form of guaranteed delivery time for Christmas shoppers. No one wants to buy a present and have it arrive late. Put some delivery guidelines on your site explaining your Xmas delivery cutoff point. Don't make promises you can't keep. Most last minute shoppers will be willing to pay a premium to get their purchase delivered on time, but be sure you can make it so.

*Incentive packages will be popular items this year. Buy one-get one free coupons or other such offers can often be great sales triggering mechanisms. The more perceived value the incentive offers to the customer the better. Perceived value increases sales. Look at Air Miles or similar campaigns. They work.

*Gift certificates can be offered online. Easily ordered and paid for online, then sent via Email, printed out by the customer and given as gifts, can be a good sales booster. Make certain to keep track of them by using a numbering system to avoid confusion when they start being redeemed.

*A toll free telephone number will also encourage interested shoppers to call you for more information, so make your phone number prominent on every page. Some people are still not comfortable providing credit card numbers via the Internet but have no problem giving it to you over the phone. Provide this comfort zone for possible customers and ensure the purchase can be authorized before shipping product. Send receipts via email. Having your phone number in plain view for a customer, wherever they happen to be on your site also encourages impulse purchases.

Take the time to tweak your web site to reflect some of the above tips and you'll stand a much better chance of being an online Santa this year.

May you all have a happy and healthy holiday season. See you next year.

Other articles from this issue:
- 2001 Year In Review
- Search and Re-Space

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