Cyber Monday – The Start of the Festive Online Shopping and December Marketing

Cyber Monday (the 26th of November this year) is the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday on-line shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. It is also close the the last pay day in time to shop for Christmas for most of us in the UK too. Over 700 million dollars was expected to be spent on this day.
Online spending is on the up:

$9.3 billion spent online from November 1 through 23, a record and 17 percent higher than the $8.1 billion spent online last year

Check out the post $700mm Cyber Monday? for more details.

If you have been following our marketing series, the last post Christmas Marketing – What to do in November. you would have been ready for the Christmas Crunch time between the 23rd of November and 16th December.

So what do you get up to in December?

Check, check and re check! You still have time to tweak your marketing strategies before the 16th of December! Do you have the last shipping date displayed for your target market? If you ship internationally make sure you distinguish between the posting dates.

From the 17th of December:

Ramp down your festive keywords and marketing to avoid wasted pay per click sales. Gather and analyse your data to outline the best method of increase your sales in the next festive season.

Celebrate your success, and forget about your failures until next year when you make moves to eradicate them!

Prepare stock and website for the sales. In the UK sales start on boxing day, so you will need to get moving implementing your strategy, boasting the best prices and driving the bargain ethos. Advertise NOW that your sales start boxing day, in pay per click and on your site. Email all your customers about the fantastic bargains to be had!

Repeat the main and successful steps from your Christmas marketing. top make sure you clear old and redundant stock ready for the trends of 2008!

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Redundancy and Back to online selling basics

Redundancy just before Christmas is not pleasant as the job market is not at its best, specially if you have had no warning.

As well as training to be an eBay education specialist I have secured consultancy and web development in the last few weeks of December to take me though to January.

In pure on-line entrepreneurial fashion I have been building up my web business ( practising what I preach) to its highest level yet and it continues to grow. Over the Christmas period I am going to be organising an eBay January Sale. I plan to make £900 with excess materials and stock hoarded over the years!

I shall also spend the time re-designing my ebay shop!

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Christmas Marketing – What to do in November.

Follow on from:
Gearing up for Xmas 2007 – What to do in October…

Week 1:

You have done your research, you campaign has had 7-10 days. Pin point your successes and failures.

Ask yourself a few questions:

1. What campaigns are working?
2. Why are the successful campaigns working?
3. What campaigns are not working?
4. Why are they not working and what can we change you yield a positive result?

You need to look at your analytical data and see where your revenue stream is coming from on these campaigns, are the keywords you thought were relevant to the season and your product working for you?

Are to continuously testing the efficacy of your landing pages?

Week 2:

You need to analyse your purchase or lead generation process. You should have enough data now to see where your customers are either abandoning the shopping cart or being lost in your pages.

Check your error and web logs, has the site had a slow down due to the increased traffic? Have loading times been effected at all? Do you have any dead links on your site you forgot to get rid of in October?

These holes in your bucket need to be corked before the ‘Christmas Crunch Time’ which is typically 23rd of Nov to 16th Dec.

Crunch starts in week 3.

Week 3:

Check stock levels and product feeds for errors. Display and be realistic about your last posting days before Christmas. Evaluate your pay per click and other active return on investment advertising to increase quality of traffic. Re-evaluate your match types, campaign negative keywords, budget, position and bids to ensure the relevancy of your shoppers.

Don’t sell them something they are not looking for. If they don’t know what they are looking for make sure you are ‘suggesting ideas’ within your advertising i.e Gifts for Mum, Gifts for a music fan etc.

Make sure you campaigns are organised to separate such ‘Suggesting Campaigns’ from product specific or general campaigns. These campaigns are more specific to panic shoppers at Christmas with no idea what to buy their loved ones.

If you do run an affiliate program make sure the creative and promotions are seasonal, add Christmas bonuses.

Week 4:

Wash. Repeat.

Keep tweaking and checking your promotional presence. Keep and eye on your competitors.

Again this is not a complete guide, only suggestions to get you going for the Christmas period and hopefully be a little thought provoking when your are planning your marketing activities. Watch out for the December edition!

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Different types of E-commerce Shopper

Not all online shoppers are created alike. They all have different goals and strategies for their online shopping which relate to different needs. When developing an online service or e-commerce store you need to try and cater for as many of these types of shopper as possible. You can use basic ‘shopper models’ to organize the products and information on your site.

You could find at least 6 different types of online shopper within your own set of friends and family. A small sized start-up online business may not be able to afford professional customer modelling, but these techniques are still important, even to the smaller player.

New to the Net:

These buyers are still getting used to the internet and the idea of e-commerce. They use the web for research purchases and start will smaller value items in safer environments. A common start off point for these shoppers is eBay, where all the sellers are rated and they can proceed with caution. At this early stage this shopper can either become addicted to the life of e-commerce or be put off by a bad or fraudulent purchase.

This buyer needs a simple interface, and a way to verify the e-commerce site. Make sure you have clear precise pictures, a simple stream line jargon free checkout and display your returns policy clearly outlining your responsibility as an online retailer. You can invest in an eBay type feedback system such as FeeFo.com which is an independent customer feedback system and also feature customer testimonials. Make sure you use well known and simple payment processing for example Paypal, Lloyds Cardnet or HSBC.

Bargain Hunters

These shoppers rely heavily on marketplaces such as eBay and shopping comparison engines. They have no real brand loyalty and are just shopping for the lowest price. You need to convince these shoppers they are getting the best deal. Make sure you products are included in shopping comparison engines and have an RRP shown so they can see the great deal they are getting. Within this group you have the impulsive bargain hunter who wants to purchase now and a competitive bargain hunter willing to bid against other shoppers for the deal. EBay is a bargain hunter’s paradise; you can almost use eBay to cater primarily for these customers, letting them battle it out for bargains and also have fixed price items for your impulsive bargain hunters.

Precise Shoppers

These shoppers have a surgical approach to online shopping. They know exactly what they want and will research until they find the best fit to their criteria. These shoppers are hard to please as it is luck of the draw that you have the product they need. You need to make sure part numbers and the true name of your product is present in the product title to allow precise optimization. Product configuration tools like the ‘Build your Porsche’ cater for these types of shopper and are great for a multitude of shopper types.
These shoppers need customer opinions to make sure the product will fit it intended purpose and also great customer support so they can seek verification for the seller about the item.

Hobby Shoppers

Shopping for these buyers is a past time. I fall straight into this category myself. It’s an addiction and I almost need to find something to buy online if I have a penny to spare. I often have to quell the urge. These shoppers purchase frequently and enthusiastically. These are the most adventurous shoppers and you need to grab their attentions by offering engaging tools to view the merchandise as well as product recommendations and incorporating social media into their purchase. These shoppers love community applications such as forums, bulletin boards and social shopping sites.

Direct Shoppers

These shoppers buy out of necessity. They do not shop around or waste time. They want the information now and to find the product within the 3 click recommended navigation. Excellent navigation and product organization is needed to cater for these shoppers. These shoppers need all the information at their finger tips in close proximity to the items, as well as quick access to customer support. Live chat appeals to these kind of shoppers, as they want answers quickly. These shoppers respond well to expert and customers opinions and testimonials.

Nervous Shoppers

My mother very much falls in this category, afraid to ‘put her credit card’ online or that she will be subject to fraud. Identity theft has risen to 1 in 4 in the UK so this is a valid concern. These shoppers start off by only using the internet to research products they mainly buy offline. To make these customers feel secure you need to clearly state your security /privacy policies and use a SSL certificate at checkout. These shoppers watch out for the little padlock at the bottom of the browser so make sure you have no non-secure items on your secure pages. Non-secure Google analytics tracking code is famous for this, they have a https version. You need to state that their information is secure and not sold or distributed. These customers also need customer support, with most of these shoppers wanting to hear from a human before they make their purchase. You need to make sure you include a phone number contact for these shoppers, and also an option that they can pay over the phone for their purchase. You might find these shoppers are only leads for your bricks and mortar or catalogue operations. These are still valid customers as most types of customers have a little bit of the nervous shopper in them.

You can not please or cater for every shopper that will land on your e-commerce site, but you do need to consider the information you need to give your customers and the shopping experience as a whole. Always consider your product type and match it with your typical customer profile. These are generalisations on shoppers, but as with the colour symbolism and psychology, every product type attracts a different set of customer profiles! You can even go as far as moulding your search engine optimisation to match what each shopper type is looking for. Intelligent search engines will deliver your products and message directly to these shopper types, Google personalised search will make this easier for you.

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