Get inspired for the holiday season with these small business online sales success stories
As a small business owner you are well aware that boosting online sales for the holidays is critical to your business bottom line. Yet, are you worried that you won’t be able to compete with the big retailers? You shouldn’t be, especially if you have a loyal customer base and a website that is ready to take on the holiday order load.
Your website plays a key role in your online presence hence a large part of increasing online holiday sales is dependent on your website. How it looks, what it offers to the customers and how easy it is for customers to make purchases; all will determine your online sales. Therefore the first step is your website itself.
In a recent post, I wrote about how you can boost online sales during the holidays. Website redesign, creating a responsive website, error-free navigation, adequate coupons and discount options, ensuring hassle-free shipping, apply easy to implement WooCommerce plug-ins and extensions.
Small businesses around the world are increasingly providing online purchase options. While the offline work that goes into online sales is considerable, quite a bit of work needs to go into the online components as well. Companies that enhance their website often are rewarded with better sales conversions and repeat customers.
The best part is that the changes need not be very large or expensive. According to a CNN Money post, just changing the color of buttons and even just changing the text on them can go a long way in ensuring sales.
In this post we’ll look at some of the small businesses that have found online sales success not just during the holidays but in general as well. But first, let’s just quickly run through the essentials for boosting online holiday sales.
1. Give your website a redesign for the holidays
This is often an overlooked aspect of your online presence. For the holidays make sure you get your website to look not just festive but to look festive while highlighting your products. Ensuring that customers can get information fast and easily, access product details quickly increases the probability of conversion to a sale. Content should be plentiful and 100% relevant.
2. Responsive website
Today’s mobile population needs to be able to find you on their phones. If you aren’t yet a responsive website, get to it today or miss out on thousands of potential customers. A responsive website ensures that customers can easily access and purchase your products from the comfort of their handheld devices.
3. Easy to avail discounts, coupons, returns
Apply adequate and customer friendly plug-ins and extensions that make discounts, coupons and returns as simple as “a mouse click away”. Customers want a hassle-free experience and there are enough ways to get custom plug-ins that provide your customers with a unique and rewarding experience.
4. Keep the shipping lanes free
Research has shown that free shipping leads to higher sales conversion, with as many as 6 out of 10 customers citing it as a reason for making a purchase online. There are quite a few WooCommerce extensions that can make the shipping experience easily traceable and tension-free for the customer.
5. Stay active on Social Media
Engaging the customer on social media and doing a bit of social media marketing will also help with the sales process. Allowing customers to access your website and make purchases through their social media login makes the process simpler for the customer and they are more likely to complete the cart checkout process. Now let’s look at a few small businesses who applied one or more of these strategies.
These small businesses got it right
All types of small businesses can benefit from the right online strategy. Whether it is email marketing or social media marketing or simply a tweak in your website’s layout, at the end of the day the strategy must pay off. I am not saying that all strategies work for all businesses, but here are some online small business success stories that you can draw inspiration from.
1. The Free shipping incentive
Who: NuFace, a USA based e-commerce website selling anti-aging and skin care products
What: Customers knew of the products, visited the site in large numbers but seldom made purchases
Why: They needed a purchasing incentive
Solution: NuFace added a threshold based free shipping incentive. For purchases above $75, shipping was free.
Results: Orders increased by 90%. Customers also started purchasing more to meet the threshold for free shipping. Company could provide more products, better discounts, and develop products in wide price range.
In case you are wondering how to set your free-shipping threshold, I found this great piece on the subject. For holiday shopping, you may want to combine your free shipping threshold with one or two product freebies thrown in. Nothing like good quality freebies for making a customer want to buy more.
2. Responsive design all the way to the bank
Who: Think Tank Photo (TTP), a California based company that makes and sells equipment and accessories for photographers.
What: Continuously increasing traffic from mobile devices
Why: They risked losing close to 15% of their customer base
Solution: TTP implemented a responsive design for their website.
Results: Mobile orders went up 96% compared to the year before. Page views increased 224%. Revenues went up 188%.
In short, get responsive. If you are unsure how, an expert in responsive website development will be able to walk you through the nitty-gritty. Before the holiday season gets into full swing, make sure that you are mobile friendly.
3. Social Media and small business success
Who: Uuni, a UK-based company that sells wood-fired ovens for quick-cook pizzas.
What: Needed to build a community
Why: They wanted to reach the right audience and sell the product fast
Solution: Establish strong presence on Twitter and Facebook and now Instagram.
Results: By allowing customers to reach them through social media, they instantly tapped into the large community that they were catering to. The company is engaged on social media on a daily basis handling everything from product feedback to original posts to customer support. In 4 years they now have three online stores and serve customers in 50 countries.
Social media is a great way for niche businesses to quickly develop a community of customers. What’s more the reach is global at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. It is literally a word-of-mouth network. Apart from that most social media platforms allow you to make use of techniques like PPC and the algorithms can even help you advertise to your specific demographic.
During the holiday shopping spree, customers would be more than happy to share their experiences with their loved ones. Sharing their experience and responding to them brings you closer to your customer and improves the overall perception about your business.
Add a dash of holiday cheer to your online sales
Now is a good time for you, as a small business owner to think about ways to connect with your customers in a way that converts to increased sales. The holiday season is just around the corner! Get in touch with us and let us help you achieve your online sales goals. A small investment for a bigger, brighter future don’t you think?