The Blog of Scott Chapman
Copywriter & Sales Conversion Expert

12 ways to increase your sales this Christmas

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Christmas is usually a busy period for retailers and many other businesses, but even with that natural surge, it’s always nice to throw a few more sales on the pile if possible.

That’s why I’ve compiled 12 of my best tips on how to increase Christmas sales in the online marketplace. Take a look and see if you could use any of them to boost your festive profits:

1). Test your prices

I could have suggested that you discount your prices as part of a sale, but this doesn’t always result in more profit. The key is to do your maths and find the perfect balance between the quantity of sales and the value of each sale. Discounted prices may encourage more sales, but the discount from each sale could mean that you end up with less total profit overall. Let’s take a look at a basic example of that:

Discount = 0%
Original per-sale value = £10
Sales = 100
Total income = £1,000

Discount = 20%
New per-sale value = £8
Sales = 120
Total income = £960

So even though the discount has encouraged a higher number of sales, the overall income is actually lower due to the decreased value of each sale. However, it’s certainly possible for a discount to increase sales whilst also increasing total income, but it’s important to test prices and see how they perform to be sure that you’re on the right track.

2). Offer reassurances when it comes to delivery

People want to know that the gifts they’ve ordered will arrive in time for Christmas, but if there’s any doubt about that, it can kill conversions.

This is why it’s important to be clear about Christmas deliveries and reassure your visitors that their order will arrive if it’s placed by a certain date. This date should be clearly displayed on your website so your visitors understand how long they have left to place an order.

Plus, if any deliveries do miss Christmas Day and cause complaints, then you’re better protected as you can show them that you provided a clear warning of the cut-off dates in advance.

3). Explore faster delivery options to increase the Christmas delivery deadline

No matter how many Christmas rushes we go through, many people still leave it until the last minute to buy gifts. This isn’t so much of an issue in retail shops, but it is a problem in the online realm where there are cut-off dates for the courier to deliver the orders in time for Christmas.

To tap into the late shoppers market, try introducing new delivery options on a short-term basis if such options are plausible. For example, you could introduce signed next-day delivery if it isn’t currently available to your customers. This can allow you to push the order cut-off date back, so instead of the Christmas order deadline date being the 18th for example, it could be moved to the 20th, allowing your website to capture an extra 2 days worth of festive sales.

4). Introduce gift cards/vouchers

Indecisiveness can be a big conversion killer, so what better way to solve it than by removing the need for a decision altogether!

If a prospects wants to buy a product from your website as a gift, but they’re not sure what to buy, then gift cards or vouchers can make a fantastic alternative option. They remove the need to definitively choose something and allow the recipient of the gift more freedom in what they can buy.

Giving the gift recipient a voucher means that they also interact with your website directly, which increases the awareness of your brand and encourages repeat business. For example, if a business sells fishing rods, then a friend of a fishing enthusiast may only be interested in buying the products once during Christmas as a gift, whereas the intended recipient will be interested in fishing products all year round and be able to browse your store directly to increase the possibility of repeat business.

Some of them may even decide to treat themselves and spend more than what they were given in the gift card or voucher!

5). Offer free or optional gift wrapping

Wrapping gifts is often a laborious task, and many customers will be grateful of an opportunity to bypass the entanglement of tape.

By offering gift wrapping services, you could grab more customers who are prepared to choose you to receive this additional time-saving service. You could offer it for free as a strong USP (as long as the cost figures add up), or you could charge for it and make a little bit of extra profit per sale.

However, remember that if you’re offering a professional gift wrapping service, customers will be expecting a really professional job, so that means crisp, clean lines and perhaps even a little bow for good measure.

6). Upsell stocking fillers

During Christmas, prospects are more likely to buy multiple items than any other time of the year, so it’s important to ensure that you’re getting the full benefit of product upselling (i.e. showcasing additional products during the ‘add to basket’ phase or checkout process). To make this more targeted towards Christmas, try offering inexpensive stocking fillers with a small profit mark-up. This can increase the overall average value of each sale and increase profits along with it.

7). Include goodwill gestures

Some retailers include small Christmas cards signed from the business. Other retailers even throw a few sweets in each package as a token gift. It might not seem like much, but by making a more positive impression this way, you can improve customer satisfaction, build rapport and increase repeat business.

If you do include a Christmas card, the business owner could even hand write each one if time and resources allow it. This is unlikely to be feasible if your business ships out large volumes of orders, but if it is possible, then this personal touch can go a long way.

8). Use January marketing wisely

This isn’t strictly Christmas, but as we all know, January is one of the busiest retail periods of the year due to post-Christmas sales and also the sea of cash gifts which are thickening wallets and purses across the UK. With any orders made during the festive period, you should be ready to approach these customers with marketing messages during New Year and encourage them to visit you again.

This technique can be considerably improved by introducing a January sale or perhaps offering coded discount vouchers in each delivery. You could even include a few vouchers so the customer can pass them on to family and friends to encourage more sales. However, as I mentioned in point one, just make sure that the quantity-to-sale value adds up correctly.

9). Send out holiday wishes to your existing customer list

It’s common practice to send out a mass e-mail to past customers to wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This is not only a nice and respectful gesture, but it also reminds your previous customers that you’re there and could contribute towards increasing awareness and improving sales.

10). Offer high value products or services? Give your best clients an extra special gift

Most of these tips apply to online retail stores which sell products suitable for Christmas gifts, but it’s possible for high-value product and service businesses to benefit from Christmas as well. If you have some heavy-hitting clients who you’ve worked with for some time, try sending them a gift such as a good bottle of wine or a Christmas hamper if your budget permits.

It is a Christmas expense, but such a personal gesture will not go unnoticed and may increase client loyalty whilst potentially reminding them of your services and increasing sales.

11). Use social media

Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, goes into over-drive during the festive period as friends socialise and exchange best wishes. To capitalise on this, use any social marketing avenues to promote discounts, offers or any must-have Christmas gifts.

12). Use effective Christmas copywriting

If you have any products which you’re specifically promoting as Christmas gifts (either on your website or via other marketing channels), then try referring to the recipient in the copy instead of the customer. Instead of using “you” and “your” to speak directly about the customer, you could try referring to the gift recipient and use emotive-selling to tell the customer how the product will benefit the recipient of the gift and how much they will enjoy it.

After all, one of the major buying decisions when it comes to gifts is recipient satisfaction. People obviously have an innate urge to please their family and friends with these gifts, so the happier they’ll make the recipient, the more appealing they will be to the customer. This is why it’s so important to sell the product as a gift and use this angle correctly.

And there we have it

12 tips on how to increase Christmas sales in 2014 and beyond. I hope that your Christmas is a highly profitable one!

Scott.


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