As customers clamp down on their wallets this holiday shopping season, the shopping weekend that starts with Black Friday (or, arguably, Thanksgiving Day) and ends with Cyber Monday is taking on bigger importance this year, according to the CFI Group 2014 Holiday Retail Spending Report: Black Friday is Back.
Consumers will be spending less than last year and trying to maximize those smaller budgets, so they’ll be seeking deals and discounts over the holiday weekend. In fact, nearly three in 10 consumers plan to spend over half of their holiday shopping budget that weekend.
Whether you own an ecommerce site, a retail store or both, what do you need to know to grab your share of holiday weekend sales?
Shoppers will be going online to research, browse and buy. Over half of respondents in the survey plan to spend more than 40 percent of their budgets online. Two-thirds of shoppers polled say they go online to compare prices, but two-thirds also say that usually leads them to buy online.
That’s great news if you own an ecommerce site. To take advantage of customers’ price-comparing strategies, take advantage of online advertising using relevant keywords to attract clicks from searching shoppers. Also boost your site’s SEO to encourage better organic search results.
But what if you own a brick-and-mortar store? The same tactics can work to attract customers to your store’s website—but then it’s up to you to make sure the site entices them to visit your store. Some ways to do this:
- Place store hours, directions and phone number prominently on the home page (put a phone number on each page of the site). Encourage customers to call to see if an item is in stock.
- Provide quick responses to customer calls and online inquiries. You may want a dedicated staffer handling phone calls and emails.
- Offer convenience. Consumers today want to buy whenever and wherever they want. They might buy something in-store but want it shipped to the recipient, buy online but want to pick it up in store...you get the idea. Offer to provide shipping, wrapping and other services to convince customers to buy from you.
- Start selling online. Of course, the best way to deal with the move to online shopping is to add ecommerce capabilities to your website. You don’t have to sell every item in your store—start with the most popular gift items or your overall best sellers.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.