Some of us may balk when we see holiday decorations for sale in October, but we also know businesses do it for a reason – it works. Last year, holiday sales amounted to as much as $626 billion, a 3 percent increase over 2014. If you want to get a good-sized slice out of that gigantic pie, the time to take action to boost holiday sales is now (how we wish yesterday was an option).
So where do you begin?
Although it would seem natural to pour all your efforts into online promotions, giveaways, and incentives; holiday-themed webstore design; social media outreach; catchy jingles; and e-mail marketing campaigns galore, you should take care of something that may otherwise be treated as an afterthought: shipping.
Shipping can help you close the sale: So you’ve done everything right. A customer saw your Facebook promotion, shared it with friends, clicked through to your site, browsed your attractively presented product line, picked a few favorites, added them to the online shopping cart, and is now about to hit “Purchase.”
But suddenly the customer is having second thoughts. The shipping charges seem excessive and the only delivery option states it will take up to five days for the order to arrive. In less than a minute, your potential customer has abandoned the cart and moved on to an accommodating competitor.
As many as 44 percent of shoppers do the same thing when they think the shipping costs are too high, according to a Shopify study. The lesson? Close the sale by offering what customers want: free or flat-rate shipping and several delivery options.
Shipping can be used as a marketing tool: Shoppers may like surprises during the holiday season, but not while they try to check out a product. Unless you display any shipping charges early in the check-out process, you run a big risk of watching your potential customers head for the virtual door.
The good news is that online consumers are so into the idea of free shipping that you can turn it into an effective marketing tool. If you’re able to offer free shipping and, let’s say, overnight delivery (although it may not be free), display it right on your homepage. There’s no reason to be shy. A smooth shipping process will help your customer march all the way to the other end of the sales funnel.
Shipping keeps customers coming back – if done right: When an order arrives on time and at no or little cost to the customer, it’s good for your business. A happy customer is likely to return for more and spread the word on your affordable and expedient shipping service. The holiday season also gives you a chance to stand out from the competition by making sure last-minute orders take the fast route to their end destinations.
If you need help finding the best carriers and most competitive rates, eShipper is here for you. We make shipping easy so you can focus on growing your business. Click here to learn more about us or contact us for more information.