Whether your business is product or service oriented, you shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. Some businesses report that as much as 40 percent of their annual sales come from holiday sales and Cyber Monday 2010 was the first billion dollar online shopping day. That's a revenue boost no business wants to miss. Having a Cyber Monday online sale is one of the simplest ways to jump-start holiday sales. Here are a few tips on getting started.
1. Make sure your entire site is updated and your home page looks clean and inviting. Customers will judge you by their first impression.
2. Call your web host and increase your bandwidth. This determines the number of visitors your site can handle at one time. The last thing you want is site crash during a big sale.
3. Simplify the shopping process. Clearly label and prominently display sales, streamline check-out and identify which items are out of stock. This will help you avoid abandoned shopping carts.
4. Cross-sell. Suggest products similar to those your client has selected. This drives sales and educates your customers on what you have available.
5. Ensure that your shopping cart is secure. People are no longer willing to shop on sites where their credit card information isn't protected. You can use PayPal to provide your customers with a secure check out process if it's not built into your own website.
6. Optimize for search. Make sure your site's content contains lots of keywords and search phrases so it will be as easy as possible for new visitors to find you.
7. Think outside the box. Remember there's a lot of competition out there, so you must set yourself apart by providing a unique shopping experience. Try focusing on a product or service that's in high demand this season or working with a coupon site like Groupon to offer additional specials.
8. Spread the word. Don't waste your hard work by not properly marketing your sales event. Tell existing and potential customers about the sale via email blasts, social networking sites and search engine ads- whatever works best for you.
9. Follow up. Give customers the opportunity to review products or services and rate the shopping experience. You can use this information to improve your virtual store and to stay in contact with customers for future marketing and promotions.
10. Analyze. Use a service like Google Analytics to gauge which pages on your site were most visited and how visitors got there. If drop-offs are a problem on your site, this information will show you where visitors are leaving.