Strategies to Maximize Your Online Holiday Sales
With the all-important fourth quarter holiday shopping season quickly approaching, a panel of retail experts doled out some pointers last week to help cross-channel merchants capitalize on the busy months ahead. Speaking at the eTail East conference in Baltimore, Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group, a retail-focused research firm; Tom Davis, vice president of e-commerce at apparel retailer Kenneth Cole; and Udayan Bose, founder and CEO of NetElixir, an online customer acquisition management firm, discussed what retailers can do online to drive sales and maximize profits this holiday season.
Here's a listing of some of the best tips gleaned from the panel discussion at the fast-paced session:
* Be prepared, but at the same time be flexible, said Freedman. And give gifting high visibility on your website, she added.
* Examine your product assortment and focus on key drivers (i.e., your 20-30 best-sellers), Davis said. “You don't want to be left with a glut of useless inventory.”
* Don't be overly optimistic for your planning this holiday season, said Bose. He noted that the economy has already started to show signs of slowing down, as consumers have reined in spending after a strong Q1. With this in mind, Bose advised retailers to have a plan B in place and ready to go in the event that their initial forecasts aren't met.
* Kenneth Cole breaks down the online shopping season into two distinct seasons, Davis said: holiday season 1 (Nov. 1 through Dec. 24) and holiday season 2 (Dec. 25 through mid- to late January). Within those seasons, be ready to capitalize on busy online shopping days. Target the third weekend of December with a planned promotion, for example. For all of the hoopla surrounding Black Friday weekend, this weekend is bigger, Davis said. “Plan something for that weekend and you'll generate incremental sales,” he added.