How to Sell More and Make More Money This Holiday Season

The holiday selling season is rapidly approaching and it is time
to get aggressive in order to beat your 2010 sales results. With consumers
being slow to open their wallets this past year, what is the potential for a profitable
end to the year of 2011? Shoppertrak, the self-avowed world’s leader of retail
intelligence, is projecting a 3% increase in sales in both November and December
for brick and mortar stores. eMarketer is predicting
a 12% increase in online sales for this holiday season.  These projected increases in sales however, may
come at a price; with greater competition for online and in-store spending
through discounting and free shipping offers.

Several online retail sales projection firms are stating that they
expect spending to be up across the board this 2011 holiday season. In a recent
news article, seven traffic analysis firms agreed that consumers will spend
more this holiday season but of those interviewed, more will be shopping for
the very best price. For ecommerce merchants the sales and profit picture looks
even brighter. With $33 billion sold online in 2010, eMarketer is projecting a whopping 12%
increase in sales for the upcoming 2011 holiday season.

So how can you get a piece of this retail action and be profitable
in the 2011 holiday selling season? Here are eight tips that you can implement
now to get a piece of the action, but don’t wait to plan ahead as the holiday
selling season is projected to start before Halloween this year.

1.      
Make sure you have enough stock at your fulfillment
house
now or due to arrive by mid-October to handle the influx of expected
early holiday orders.

2.      
Forecast your stock positions and then buy now to open with a
strong inventory. Have your backup orders already placed with staggered
shipping dates to feed your holiday business, keep stock replenished at your
fulfillment warehouse, and keep your sales online rolling.

3.      
If you see a slow-down in sales, cut your future shipping order
quantities down or push your shipping dates back to remain profitable. Don’t
under stock your fulfillment
house
early in the season, as this can lead to lost sales, customer
service headaches, and lost profitability (if you have to hustle to get items
shipped to cover holiday sales at the last minute).

4.      
Make sure you are offering free shipping this holiday season! In a
recent article, we talked about how online
shoppers expect free shipping
deals especially in the holiday
season. According
to comScore, a leading Internet marketing research company, during the first
three weeks of the holiday season in 2010, 45% of all online transactions
included free shipping, the percentage rose to 50% by the 21st of November,
increased to 55% in the week ending November 28, and was still as high as 51%
in the week ending December 5, 2010. Don’t lose sales by trying to buck this
important trend by squeezing a few more profit dollars out of a sale with consumer
paid shipping and handling. Plan on getting increased volume to offset the drop
in shipping revenue.

5.      
 Start your online advertising programs early.
Sales analysis firms are predicting that holiday promotions will start as early
as Halloween this year. It appears that creative advertising combined with
attractive pricing will be an important consideration. Steelhouse Marketing
Consultants polled 1,000 consumers and reported that 31% of the women
questioned stated that they will spend more time online than shopping at a
mall. Be ready for this increase, by planning your Google AdWords or Microsoft
adCenter online advertising promotions early. Have the programs set up, ready,
and pre-approved so they can start immediately on your desired advertising
start date.

6.      
Make sure you check your competition’s pricing. There is nothing
worse than having a great stock position with great marketing plans in place and
then finding out that your competitors have undercut your prices. Sharpen your
pencil and make your profit and sales from volume increases this season. If
things slow down, get quick inventory turnover by offering a coupon code or
three day sale event to clear over stocks out before you are sitting on
unsellable inventory.

7.      
Harness the power of the Mobile Web this holiday season. Use
QR codes
, mobile advertising programs, and low price guarantees to keep
your sales flowing. With more consumers stating that they will use coupons for
the first time this holiday season and price shop before buying, you need to get
your business listed on mobile sites like FourSquare and Google HotPot now.
Understand that more shoppers may even be searching online using their mobile
phone even while standing in a mall store looking for a lower price. Make sure
you can take advantage of this trend by having a mobile-friendly landing page
for your advertising and featured items.

8.      
Get involved with social media. When Steelhouse Marketing
Consultants interviewed 1,000 consumers, 12% of those surveyed mentioned that
they would use social media to find and share the deals that they had found.
Tap into that market by considering advertising your products using Facebook
ads or Facebook Sponsored Stories this holiday season. You don’t need to have
deep pockets to get involved with Facebook advertising. You can set a Facebook Business
Page up for free and post your specials and coupon codes there Additionally;
you can advertise your products on Facebook for typically less than on Google
AdWords and sometimes for under $.75 per click.

With the holiday season accounting for about 30% of some
businesses yearly sales, it’s time to get planning! Remember plan early, carry
enough stock to feed your sales, monitor and adjust orders as needed, offer
free shippingFree Web Content, and think Mobile Web friendly! These are just a few important
considerations to keep in mind to sell more and make more profit this 2011 holiday
season.

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