We’re in the middle of sale-a-palooza season.
What does this mean for your ecommerce store?
For starters, it probably means that you are either running or planning your own sales.
But every kind of retailer, from your Amazons, Alibabas & Rakutens to your friendly neighborhood left-handed store owner (ho-diddely-ho-ho) are already lowering (or pretending to lower) their prices to meet their yearly sales goals.
That’s not standing out.
Just doing what everybody else is doing is not going to bring new eyeballs to your online store, and it’s not going to dramatically impact your conversion rates (unless you are dramatically underbidding competitors & cutting into your profit margins).
You might be able to sell to existing customers, or people who were on the fence about buying something,
The easiest guide to the kind of guarantee you should offer is what you yourself care about when buying Christmas presents online.
These are the things I care about when shopping online:
- It arrives in time for Christmas.
- The contents will not be damaged during shipping.
If we assume that we are already offering a competitive price, then the only thing I need to be convinced of is that the parcel will arrive safely, and on time.
Merry Christmas Guarantee - All items purchased before 13:00 PM On December 19th are guaranteed to arrive fully intact before Christmas Eve, so that you can enjoy the gift of giving this Christmas with your loved ones without issue. Even if it means I have to drive and hand-deliver it myself!
If you use a reliable delivery service (or at least have insurance through them to cover any lost/damaged packages), offering this kind of guarantee shouldn’t be a problem.
Even if you need to slightly increase your price to maintain margins (although you’d likely make up for margins in the increased volume), your sales numbers will likely go up.
And as an added bonus, people who are willing to pay extra for peace of mind also tend to be better & happier customers in the long term than those who are just scraping the bottom of the barrel for “the best sales”.
Unique Gift Wrapping
Not everyone likes or wants to wrap their own presents.
Every “real retail” store that gets any Christmas traffic at all, offers the option to have the staff wrap their presents.
Most of these stores have their staff trained to do a perfectly good wrap-job.. almost too good, and definitely way too bland.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but there’s 0 personality there, and it will definitely be a reason why someone chooses you over anyone else.
If you have a niche audience, try to find a way to make the gift wrapping a unique selling point:
- Sell eco-friendly products? Get creative with eco-friendly gift wrapping.
- Sell metal inspired t-shirts, mugs & LPs? Figure out the most metal way to pack your gifts. (Whether this is black wrapper, with a black card & blood-red ink.. or a card that will automatically blast someone’s favorite song when opened, I’ll leave that up to you.)
Get creative and wrap your products in a way that uniquely appeals to your customer base.
Gift Baskets & Packages That Sell An Experience
I lived in Thailand for 3 years, and one peculiar thing I noticed about their consumer behavior, is their love of gift baskets, no matter how strange it’s contents.
From energy drinks, bird’s nest-based “medicine”, to more standard fruit, alcohol and chocolate, pretty much anything could be bought in a gift baskets, and not just for Christmas or Valentine’s day.
But if you are not selling to the Thai market, you probably have a reasonably hard time moving gift baskets & packages during the holidays.
The problem at hand is not about forcing as much “value” as possible into a basket, it’s about making a gift basket that promises an experience to the receiver.
If you are already selling book packages, consider throwing in some hot chocolate, woolen socks & a blanket.. or even, partner with a cabin resort and throw in a weekend trip to a local cabin-in-the-woods for a book-a-thon getaway.
Or, if you are fighting the uphill battle of selling DVDs in 2018, throw in everybody’s favorite movie snacks, movie-specific collection goods & a gift card for movie tickets to a local theater (so they can see the newest movie in the series later).
If you make a package that will actually mean a lot to someone, you will be able to sell it.
TLDR: Do What “They” Won’t or Can’t
To sum things up, if you really want to stand out this holiday season, don’t copy what other & especially larger retailers are doing.
Do things that larger retailers can’t afford to do, because they aren’t serving as narrow a customer base as you are.
Do things that other retailers won’t do, because they are too scared of the possibility of returns or the ideas not working out.
Do things that require your own hard, in-person emotional labor, because other people won’t.
Positioning during Q4 is no different than positioning during any of the other quarters, except that the stakes & the rewards are much higher.