Running a promotion for your ecommerce business

Running a Christmas promotion for your ecommerce business

Published in Seasonal Marketing

In the run up to Christmas, shoppers are going to be looking around for the best sales and offers. Joining in and offering some sort of festive discount is a great way to promote your online shop, encouraging customers to visit your site and grab a bargain.

Preparing for a Christmas sale

The key to a successful promotion is preparation - you need to think about a goal for your promotion, consider the kind of discount or offer, and be aware of your profit margins.

1. Decide on your goal

Your promotion could be designed to do a number of different things including attracting new customers, drawing in repeat customers, or increasing average order values. Whichever goal you decide on for a promotion, it will help you to decide what type of sale to run, how much and what to discount, as well as who to target.

2. Assess your stock and profit margins

Review the stock that you have; what’s likely to be popular before Christmas, what’s not selling, and which products have higher profit margins. You can either focus on discounting a few items that you want to clear out, or offer a smaller discount across a wide range - most importantly you still want to make a profit, and you don’t want to offer heavy discounts on products that would sell anyway.

3. Pick a promotion

There are several different ways to run a sale - choose one that fits with your goal and works with your stock levels:

  • Discount across your online shop: A discount across your entire online shop encourages customers to purchase items that they’ve been thinking about for a while, and they’re likely to buy more while the offer is available.
  • Free shipping: To increase your average order value you can offer free shipping on a minimum spend, this will work especially well closer to Christmas when you can have a higher minimum spend for express delivery.
  • Limited time offer: Offering a discount for a short period of time works well to motivate shoppers to place an order.
  • Bundles: Bundling products that are often bought together for a small discount will convince people to buy a product and all the related items from you, all at once.

4. Let shoppers know

Shoppers are going to be bombarded with discounts, offers and sales in the weeks before Christmas - so you’ll need to work hard to ensure that they’re aware and reminded of your promotion.

Promotion on social media, as well as sending out emails to your mailing list will be key to getting shoppers hooked. It’s worth making an offer available for a shorter time so that they are persuaded to place an order sooner rather than later, then there’s less chance that they’ll get distracted.

5. Organise your business

Christmas is already the busiest time of year in retail, so you need to be able to handle the extra orders that a promotion will bring in:

  • Reduce customer support by writing detailed product descriptions, being clear with delivery times and deadlines for pre-Christmas delivery, and making sure your returns policy is easy to understand. It’s also worth considering extending your returns policy, this will give shoppers more confidence to purchase, and delay some returns until after the Christmas rush.
  • Have a system in place for managing your orders and packaging and dispatching them quickly - shipping software like Zenstores offers order management and the ability to bulk print shipping labels.

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About the author

Verity is a journalist and content producer at Zenstores.

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