As shopping centres promote longer opening hours and consumers prepare for the gifting season, here’s what small e-tailers can do to compete with everyone from local bricks-and-mortar stores to Amazon.
Make it urgent
Urgency creates conversion power. Ignite the natural pressure of this period – ‘# days until Christmas’, and the psychological trigger of wanting to complete things by the end of the year – to prompt customers into action. Data can help you with this by providing cues that reference scarcity, for example “last 10 in stock”, and social pressure “Jesse Customer just bought this product three minutes ago”, to drive buying decisions.
You also have the power to make loose ends personal, for example reminding customers of their wish-list (perhaps loved ones would like some gift hints?), or of items remaining in their shopping cart.
Make gift sales conversion a solutions-driven exercise. Show value upfront by bundling products into a gift pack with a clear discount compared to buying each item individually, and add services like free gift wrapping to make customers’ decision-making easier.
E-tailers are sometimes the middlemen for gifts, with customers buying items to be shipped to distant recipients, so offer a way to personalise the package with a message from the buyer to clinch a sale.
Gift vouchers are also a simple solution that can help reduce the time pressure for buyers.
How to compete with shopping centres’ 24-hour opening times? Your store is already 24/7, but be sure to match or exceed the service level of competing retailers with chat bots and staff ready and available. For example, Amazon doesn’t have phone support, but you can offer it to allow faster communication with customers.
Remember time pressure that means decision-making times are shorter during this period, so if customers don’t receive a swift answer to their query they move quickly to another possible gift solution.
Make it specialised
Smaller e-tailers operate in niche markets, so use this to your advantage to attract shoppers who are after a more specialised gift. Amazon is designed to cater for everyone so they don’t customise the shopping experience like you can. Position your site as a category specialist and tailor your content to give the shopper confidence to buy from you.
Secure your shipping
Christmas is the busiest time of year for Australia Post and logistics companies, so make sure you confirm what shipping times are possible with your provider so you can guarantee delivery in time for the big day. Many e-tailers offer incentives such as free or reduced shipping for earlybirds to decrease the last-minute rush.
In web we trust
Speaking of guarantees, not all shoppers who land on your site will be existing customers, so remember to encourage trust through testimonials and reviews. An explicit guarantee, for example “guaranteed delivery by Christmas”, will also help to convert sales.
Christmas is a key sales period for many retailers, and eCommerce businesses need to employ these techniques to encourage hesitant gift-buyers over the line so they can out-compete physical retail stores and giants like Amazon.
Sabri Suby, Founder and Head of Growth, www.kingkong.com.au