6 Tips to Increase your Online Sales this Holiday Season

If you´re an Online retailer, chances are a large percentage of your sales happen during the holidays - Starting with Black friday (the friday after Thanksgiving) and ending with the New Year. Here are some tips to ensure a successful holiday season for your online store.

Did you know?
  1. For some retailers, online holiday sales represent between 20 and 40% of their total annual sales?
  2. Shop.org is projecting online holiday sales to rise by 15% during 2013?
  3. 70% of Americans say that the current state of economy is impacting their overall spending plans?
1. Plan in Advance

Even though the holiday season is in November and December, you have to start planning for it as early as August. Start including holiday messages in your email campaigns as early as September and October (not as the primary message, but as a secondary message). Make sure to spell out exactly what offers you will be exlending to your customers on Black friday and Cyber monday if you have an online store (the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is a huge day for online retailers).
2. Run Contests
If you want to grow your mailing list or email list AND to get your customers involved and create community, consider a running a contest during the holidays. When you set up your contest, think what about what your prize will be, how your contest will run, what graphics and promotional materials you will need and who is going to create them, where you will promote it, how respondents can enter, how you will choose the winner and how the prize will be redeemed.

Since there is a lot of work that goes into planning a contest, it´s easy to overlook actually promoting the contest. Use social media, especially Facebook and Pinterest, to promote your contest after you launch it.
3. Use Social Media
Finding the balance between self-promotion and providing useful content is key to social media sucess, especially during the holidays when your followers are being inundated with holiday sales and specials. In addition to promoting your offers, consider asking your followers things like what´s on their wish list for the holidays, what special holiday traditions they follow, what are their travel plans, what they do to give back during the holidays, what´s their favorite holiday movie and how they plan on spending their holidays. Showing interest in your customers is a great way to connect with them, especially during the holidays.

4. Offer Extras
The holiday season is one of giving and you should consider offering some extra bonuses to your online customers. Some extras can include free gift wrapping, upgraded shipping (from standard first class shipping to 2-day shipping, for example), an extra gift with their purchase, a handwritten thank you note, an extra thank you card if they are gifting your products to someone else and even last-minute shipping at no extra charge. Another great thing to offer during the holidays are gift card and gift certificates. While these might not be popular during other times of the year, offering these as a last-minute gift during the holidays can increase your sales dramatically.

5. Go Mobile
Mobile commerce is the fastest growing retail trend this year. A recent survey from Apigee revealed that 57% of app users in the US say that they would consider purchasing their holiday gifts on their mobile device. And a new study by Nielsen shows that 47% of US smartphone owners use shopping apps and access them an average of 17 times per month. Another study by Tapjoy predicts that mobile commerce will increase by 300% in 2015. Needless to say, mobile commerce is here to stay.
If your website does not yet have a responsive shop design, hire someone who can set it up so that it displays nicely on mobile devices.
6. Track, Analyze and Repeat
After the holiday season is over, spend some time analyzing what worked and what didn´t this time around. The point of this is so you can do more of what´s working next ear and do less of what´t not working. For example, if you started promoting your holiday offers in September and noticed that your email unsubscribe rates were unusually high, then you know that next year you can wait a little longer to promote your holiday offers. Or if you saw that your holiday contest went viral and you got thousands of new email subscribers as a result of it, then that should be something that you absolutely need to include in next year´s holiday marketing strategy.
About me:

My name is Lissa Anderson I am a full time SEO consultant. I've been doing freelancing,web development,web designing & internet marketing stuff for more than 8 years. Now I am affiliate with one of the world’s largest online advertising company. 
I´m offering SEO and SocialMedia Services here on my website too.