Is your site ready for Christmas shoppers?
An Accenture survey forecasts that folks will be shopping for Christmas earlier this year, with 69 percent planning to complete the bulk of their holiday shopping by Dec. 7th. Too, consumers are more deal-oriented than ever before, with 25% of them expecting at least 50 percent discounts before they buy.
According to a Gallup survey, the Christmas spending forecast is down slightly this year, with consumers planning to spend $740 on gifts compared to $801 as per surveys taken at the same time last year.
With more merchants competing for fewer dollars, the deals are going to be phenomenal. In fact, merchants have already started to lower their prices to get a leg up on the competition.
Sears launched a campaign on October 31st, called “Black Friday Now” with deep discounts happening every Saturday from now until Christmas.
‘Black Friday’, which falls on the day after American Thanksgiving (November 27th) is the first day of the Christmas season and is usually the busiest shopping day of the year… offline.
‘Cyber Monday’ is the Monday after Thanksgiving. The term was first used by Shop.org, whose research showed that 77% of online retailers reported a significant increase in sales on that day.
So what does that tell us?
That we’d better plan to get our affiliate sites and PPC campaigns ready for the Christmas shopping rush earlier than ever. I’ve noticed that folks are talking about Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals on consumer sites already. In fact,
So, although the big Christmas shopping days are still almost a month away, you need to get your site and PPC campaigns ramped up now.
- Start checking the networks now for Black Friday deals. Here are 2 examples … Black Friday at Overstock.com and Big Savings, No Blarney: Book a Black Friday Round-Trip Flight to Ireland from $278 on Aer Lingus! (Expires 12/31/09)
- Make sure that you are receiving merchant emails. Many merchants have their 2009 holiday shopping catalogs online and are already pumping out Black Friday and Cyber Monday ‘deal’ notices to their affiliates. Unless you are in the habit of checking each network’s interface daily, turn on email notifications or you may miss some really great deals that you could be passing on to your customers.
- Contact your affiliate manager directly. If you have a working relationship with your affiliate manager, phone him or her and get the low-down on the best seasonal deals and best-converting offers.
- Decorate for Christmas. Pretty up your site with holiday graphics and pictures of happy shoppers. Just acknowledging the season with a ‘Happy Holidays’ header or a “Your One-Stop Christmas Shop” graphic will show your spirit and get your customers in the mood to shop.
- Put up a ‘Black Friday Deals’ page… or pages. Draw visitors deeper into your site with the promise of special savings opportunities.
- Do the legwork. Compare and contrast the deals that your merchants are offering. Sifting through a myriad of sites and offers is time-consuming. Save your potential customers time and effort by explaining the difference between offers on the same product. For example, show how that company that charges slightly more for a product but offers ‘free shipping’ will save them money in the long run.
- Set up your PPC campaigns well in advance. Drive targeted traffic to your Black Friday deals pages with pay per click advertising.
- Touch base regularly. Now’s the time to put your autoresponder to best use by increasing the frequency of contact with your subscribers. Let them know that you’re doing the legwork to find them the very best deals of the season. Let them know what’s new and hot in your niche and tell them to stay on the lookout for more notices from you with sizzling deals.
- Seal the deal with great copy. Go beyond price points and convince your visitors that the products you’re promoting make great gifts with tantalizing copy. For example, when describing spa or jewelery gifts for women, use words and phrases such as, ie. pamper her, soothing, relaxing, unique, innovative, hand-picked, romantic, heart-touching, romantic and indulgent. Be sure to stress the benefits to the gift-giver as well, eg. “she’ll thank you again and again for…“.
Keep these suggestions in mind as you prepare your site for the 2009 holiday season – and you’ll thank me for your increased conversions this year! 🙂
Comments, questions or suggestions? Please leave a comment below!