5 quick sales tips for e- tailers

YO. Got a minute? We know it’s a battle

out there for e-tailers this holiday shopping season. Maybe you’re doing better than you had hoped. Maybe you aren’t.

If your shopping carts are empty, or people aren’t even mustering their mice to come to

your site, don’t throw in the towel. You’ve still

got time to rally the troops. Even if your online sales have been strong, maybe you could be

doing better still. Check out these last-minute tips for boosting sales, and stage your own fourth-quarter comeback.

Use e-mail to announce price cuts and special offers. Don’t worry so much about new customers; stick with the ones who have indicated they want to hear from you. Send this “A” list of customers an offer or two tied to the season, the weather, or a celebration of patriotism or hopes for an economic rebound.

“Special offers work well,” says Boston-based marketing consultant Marcia Yudkin, “and the beauty of e-mail is that you can think of something and send it out that very day.” Such as a great deal for a product people might use during snowstorms, holiday parties or a gaggle of football games.

“Be aggressive with your e-mail marketing,” adds New York consultant Elaine Rubin, chairwoman of the retailing association Shop,org. “Drop prices as Christmas Day approaches, with specials and opportunities,” But beware of increasing e-mail “clutter” this time of year, cautions Simon Ng, strategic planner for online ad agency Lot21. Besides targeting your best customers, he says, “make sure it is a compelling offer.”

Turn your online ads into “a call to action.” This is no time for brand building either. You need ads that entice people to click

through and buy. Showcase your best products with these ads, offer bargain prices, and make it easy for shoppers to go straight through

to a “buy” button.

Do a few different ads and track them as closely as possible, says Jim Me~ of Internet strategy at Mediasmith Inc. It d how many click-throughs you have for a I people aren’t buying, he stresses. After a those ads that aren’t leading to sales, am on those that are -or try a new approac ads. “It needs to be a call to action,” Rub

3. Pop in post-sale pop-up ads. Yes, ther views of pop-up ads these days. But mas used wisely, they work. “I like pop-up ad:

Meskaukas. “They aren’t intrusive. ..until they are.”

Use them in your checkout section -for shoppers who have already coml purchase -to offer free gift wrapping or shipping discounts. Or to reminc your shipping dates and returns policy -a pop-up that likely will be apprl Lot21’s Ng.

Better yet, work in an after-sale promotion of a complementary product, I should be another “call to action,” such as a great offer on a vest or swea the shirt being purchased, or a computer game or T-shirt to go with that ( Windows XP. It also could be a co-branded deal with a partnering compan deal with a florist to add flowers to the wine or chocolates you are selling. sell or a cross-selling opportunity,” Rubin says, “to someone who already or she is comfortable putting their credit card online. These are your best

4. Keep your site fresh and cheery. Show some holiday spirit -display t” content that beckon buyers and make buying online easy and convenient. wouldn’t hurt to show your country’s colors -red, white and blue -in w, noticeable, tasteful and aesthetically pleasing, but not overbearing. If you doing this, good for you.

Next move: Frequently rotate in new images on your home page or gift Sl repeat visitors don’t see the same featured products over and over again. alternate product placements,” Ng says. “It’s just a matter of switching or images. It’s simple, but important.”

5. Bring in additional staff as necessary, and stay in close contact wi’ fulfillment providers. Here’s something that may not generate addition. year but could save your reputation for the future.

Make sure you have enough workers to handle the phones, respond to e-1 and ensure that deliveries get made on time. Bring in family or friends, or temporary agencies, even if only for a couple of days, Rubin says. “You c( workers doing double shifts, if necessary,” she says. “You need to make s customers have a positive shopping experience.”

But if you can’t make a delivery on time, be honest and forthright with th, the customer know immediately. While you might lose a sale in the short Paul Costello, Lot21’s director of strategic planning and research, “you wil preserve the credibility of your brand -which is worth far more in the long run.


5 quick sales tips for e-trailers