October 10, 2011 | Sheri Hebbeln
Now that the calendar has switched over to October, the 2011 holiday season is right around the corner. That means that now is the time to start mapping out a strategy to ensure a profitable fourth quarter. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Build a Customer Communications Plan
If you’re not in the habit of sending regular email communications to your customers, you’ll want to spend some time building and cleaning up your list. If your customers aren’t used to hearing from you, you’re likely to see not only some bounces, but also some fairly low conversion rates in the beginning. By starting to send consistent, relevant, and interesting communications now, you can condition your customers to look forward to receiving your emails. As a result, you should enjoy higher conversion rates with your holiday offerings.
Plan Your Product Offerings
Which of your products tend to appeal to gift givers? Can you offer suggestions in different price ranges or create gift sets to accommodate multiple tastes and budgets? If you use our eCommerce platform, don’t forget about our gift card feature. Gift cards are always a great option for customers who don’t feel comfortable making selections on behalf of their recipients.
Create Some Nice “Calls to Action”
Traditionally, reduced shipping has been the best motivator in driving holiday sales. You may want to consider shipping incentives for quantity purchases, such as a reduced $5 or $10 flat fee for a two bottle gift set and “shipping included” or “1¢ shipping” for quantity purchases such as six bottles or more. Be sure to clearly spell out the offer to avoid confusion and make sure your tasting room staff knows what deals are available.
Make Sure Your Products Are Ready for Shipping
To ensure that everything is ready once the orders start to arrive, make sure your products are setup in Fulfillment and inventory has been received for efficient order processing. If you’re shipping 3-Tier, you’ll need to make sure that Price Posting and Label Registrations have been taken care of well in advance. Contact your Account Manager with any questions about compliance requirements.
Spruce Up Your Website and Marketing Materials
Now is the time to start thinking about your website, email templates, shipping inserts, and any other marketing materials you plan to send out. You should review your product descriptions and images now to make sure they present your brand in the best light. And adding some holiday messaging and graphics will help get customers into the shopping spirit. Your promotions and contact information should be easy to find no matter where your customers connect with you. Phone and email addresses should be prominently displayed throughout the website and in any promotional emails that you send out. And finally, don’t forget about social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) when trying to spread holiday cheer.
The holiday season can be chaotic but with a little advanced planning, both you and your customers can enjoy a satisfying shopping experience.