Post-Holiday E-Commerce Shopping and Retailer-Driven Sales Strategies

Continue your success after the holiday season by learning how to target the dollars still out there! Many online retailers will relax their sales and marketing efforts, believing that they cannot overcome the so-called post-holiday slump. However, for those retailers savvy enough to target the substantial sales still to be made, continued success can be achieved.

Here’s an outline of post-holiday sales expectations, in perspective.
$23 Billion Dollars. That’s how much consumers spent online between November 1st and December 16th 2007. From January 1st until the end of October, consumers spent $93.6 billion. Roughly 20% of the year’s online business was done in six weeks.
The average for the weeks after Christmas is expected to be about $2 billion (per 2006’s numbers plus the 18% increase seen over last year’s numbers to date). While this is only about 60% of the holiday shopping average of $3.25 billion per week, it’s still a sizable amount.

Why the post-holiday season is a great time to continue marketing efforts

The good news is: People still buy after Christmas. This is due both to retailer efforts and seasonal customer behavior.

1. Suppliers must get rid of holiday overstock. Many suppliers load up with inventory in the weeks leading up to the holiday season. They are forced to clear out excess inventory after the holiday buying rush has ended.

2. People are looking for complementary products. People bought and received a number of big ticket items over the holidays, and will be looking for the accessories that go with them. Customers who bought gaming systems look for games and controllers. Customers who bought home electronics need cables. DVD, HD, and BluRay players need DVDs, HD, and BluRay disks to play. Think about what products you can carry that complement the products you sold.

3. People receive cash as holiday presents. This is money that they now have available to spend on the big ticket items they didn’t get – or products to complement the ones they did. Or, they may look for interesting products they didn’t know they wanted before Christmas.

4. Hot products – the products that were in the highest demand – were invariably marked-up in price by suppliers and retailers. Those hot products are now priced to clear… or at least back to normal levels

Tips for successful post-holiday marketing

There is still a lot of money out there to be spent, but what can you do to attract the spending to your site? Here are some tips on getting started with your post-Christmas marketing.

1. Send your customers an email inviting them to return to your site. Keep in touch with your existing customer base. Let them know about any promotions your store is running. Existing customers have already purchased from you – they are more likely to buy from you now that they have had a positive shopping experience. Winning their trust means you can work on getting them to buy more.

2. Create coupons or offers that will attract business. People love a deal. For example, a reputable sandwich company just held their “Christmas Special”: two six-inch subs for $6 – which looks like a good deal. Then, you look up at the menu and see that a twelve-inch sub is $5.99. While we don’t recommend perpetuating false economy, this example shows how the prospect of a “deal” can motivate sales.

3. Continue to advertise and drive online traffic. Keep up your efforts. The pool of active online consumers decreases after Christmas, so you’ll have to make sure your store retains visibility. In the process you’ll attract the more passive, “window” shoppers. Consider using pay-per-click advertising.

4. Provide additional support for your website visitors. You have to be willing to give your customers those little extras. Sales in the post-Christmas period are more elusive than during the holiday frenzy. It will be the extras that keep customers coming to you. In addition to giving a little extra help to your visitors, adding services like Live Person’s Live Call to your online store act as trust marks to consumers.

Do your research.

The information you need in order to be successful is available to you – often free of charge. You just have to look in the right places. You can pay to get industry information, or you can try out the following ideas to get that info for free.

1. Products that sell after the holidays are different than the pre-holiday best sellers. Visit as many of your competitors’ sites as possible to see what they are selling. Check out the big box websites that are selling similar products to your store. Take advantage of the research that your competitors have done in their product selection.

2. Talk to friends and family. Nothing beats talking to people when you want info. Word-of-mouth puts you in touch with what consumers want.

3. eBay and Amazon both publish the best-selling products on their systems. That information is free. Have a look and be in the know.

4. Keep your eye out for seasonal products. Those miniature MLB pennants sold fairly well… but baseball season ended months ago. Keep your product line in line with seasonal variations.

5. Christmas isn’t the only holiday with sales spikes. Find products that correspond to upcoming holidays. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, 4th of July, et cetera, are all great sales opportunities.

6. Read high-level industry research. Sites like comScore.com offer raw data and interpretation of online sales trends. Visit and have a look at what the market is doing. You’ll get a first-hand look at retail: Leverage that information to tweak your sales strategy. If sales numbers are in a trough Internet-wide, you know that consumers just aren’t as active – so you’ll have to be more active in driving sales. If online sales numbers are at a peak, and your sales are not, then you know you’ll have to make some changes to your marketing tactics or your storefront (new products, more content, etc.).

Conclusion

To sum it all up: Don’t stop marketing just yet. If you stop your efforts now, you’re missing out on your part of the estimated $100 billion in next year’s pre-Christmas online sales. Sales are an all-year event. Follow the tips above, and get active in developing your sales strategy for the New Year.

(All sales figures taken or extrapolated from http://comScore.com/)

Dubli Will Change the Culture of Shopping and What Consumers Consider is a Fair Price to Pay

You may have not have heard of Dubli so may not be up to speed with what Dubli is or does. Dubli the brain child of Michael Hansen was recently launched in Australia and NZ, following on the heels of its success in the USA. Dubli was originally launched in Germany in 2003 and was then expanded to the rest of Europe in 2006. Dubli is a web based shopping portal but Dubli is unique as it not only guarantees to have the lowest prices but it’s also a user pay e-commerce shopping model.

So what does that mean exactly? It means that the Dubli shopping website has the latest and most popular items for sale, that start at the cheapest price and then when you spend a Dubli credit (80c each) the price of the item is reduced by 25c. The price of an item is further reduced each and every time someone uses a Dubli credit to reveal the price. The item will eventually be sold when someone can’t wait to see if the price will go any lower and risk someone else buying the item.

This sort of auction is called a reverse auction and it’s quite ingenious and exciting news for consumers in that it drives the price down. Unlike a traditional auction such as eBay where there is a large selection of items and demand drives the price up, Dubli selects a limited number of the most popular items so there are a lot of customers vying for a smaller group of the most popular, big brand items. This funnelled on-line traffic results in the prices dropping quickly and customers having a fun shopping experience and receiving amazing bargains.

So as a consumer we can from now on expect to pay far less then retail on some of the most popular items and brands. This is great news for consumers but for some it may be somewhat a bit of a mind warp. The hard part for Dubli being new is that modern society over time has become sceptical of deals that may sound “too good to be true”, so it may take a little while for the news to spread that Dubli = crazy prices which are legitimate. Dubli rely on social media rather than the traditional media to help with the viral spread of such news. Dubli are also recruiting a team of Mums and Dads and everyday people to drive their recruitment campaign.

Dubli are very smart to recruit a workforce of everyday people and turn them into network marketers or “Business Associates”, who can use free credits to quickly and easily demonstrate to potential customers the benefits of shopping with Dubli. Customers will soon realise the true value of a Dubli credit and the huge savings it can bring. For some of the business minded Dubli customers the penny may drop when they realise that Dubli represents a business model that they themselves could also work with as a work from home business.

Dubli are changing the rules on what consumers consider is a fair price to pay. The crazy prices that Dubli can offer will no doubt in time have an impact on the sales figures of competing traditional bricks and mortar business. Their competitors are shackled to a traditional business model and therefore unable to match let alone beat Dubli’s prices. It will be Dubli’s customer’s perceived value for money and having a fun shopping experience that will result in accelerating a generational shift over to on-line shopping and such a change in the culture of shopping.

Can You Shop And Make Money?

Mystery shoppers were first used as a tool to test the honesty and integrity of company employees. Since the first shopper appeared on the scene in the 1940’s, mystery shopping has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Almost any business in existence is a candidate for mystery shopping.

Shoppers are frequently used by all kinds of retail stores, restaurants (from fast food to fine dining), banks, apartment communities, new car dealers, new home builders, healthcare, bars, casinos and on and on goes the list.

So, can you really make money shopping? Yes, you can. It is a great way to earn an honest part time income. But it must be approached as a serious business. The first assignments will most likely be on the low end of the pay scale. Just as you would in any job or business, you begin at the bottom and work up. Start your endeavor by organizing your applications and searches for shops. When you get that first assignment, do your very best. Perform each shop according to the instructions, meet the deadline and provide quality reports.

Giving your best on these first lowly shops will give you the experience you need as well as earning a great reputation among the shopping companies. Yes, they do talk to each other and if you demonstrate excellence in your work, that good news will spread. Before long you can look forward to shops that pay well. You will be on the road to building a worthwhile part time income. There are some established shoppers devoted to full time shopping that generate full time income. Of course, it depends on how much income you need, right? Some might consider this “full time income” just part time income based on their needs and expenses.

Your location plays a huge role in the number of available shops. Large cities, of course, have more of everything – including mystery shops. And, no matter where you live, be patient. You are building a small business as an independent contractor.

If you enjoy shopping and want some flexibility in your schedule, mystery shopping is perfect for you. It is well worth the effort needed to get started in your own endeavor. Not only will this result in extra cash, it provides reimbursement on some shops for products and services. How about reimbursement for that long overdue plumbing job? Or, a full service car wash? Maybe a great dinner at a very nice restaurant? The possibilities are endless. If you have the determination, you can definitely turn this into a profitable home business.

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