For many online retailers and businesses, Q4 is the most important trading period of the year and can often make or break the annual financial results.
Q So what’s your plan to maximise the coming frenzied buying season?
You probably have purchased new stock in readiness to meet consumer demand but how are you going to get your products and services in front of buyers at the right price and do you actually have the right level of stock?
Q Do you know how much it will cost to sell your stock and which marketing activity will bring the best return?
If your business has been operating for more than a year then you may know from past experience what works best and how much your cost of sale per product or service has been and what worked best in terms of marketing campaigns.
However if you are a new business or are new to online business no such information will be available and therefore it’s difficult to set budget requirement or predict ‘best marketing activity’ to deliver the sales at the price and volume you need.
Q Is your plan fluid so adjustments can be made to take advantage of change?
As Q4 is now upon us it’s too late to expect SEO activity to suddenly increase traffic to your website. Unless that is, you have been spending time during Q1, Q2 and Q3 on search engine optimisation.
Therefore there is no point spending a lot of time in this SEO activity now, except if you are a new business and have no budget to pay for online advertising or other marketing campaigns?
Q Can your website be used properly by mobile devices?
The most significant, important factor this year is whether or not your website is mobile friendly. The growth in consumer engagement via mobile has been massive so check your website NOW using this Google tool to find out if it is mobile friendly… Google Mobile Test.
It should be noted that older established online businesses may have marketing data to support previous Q4 purchasing periods but the validity of the data may be challenged by the device used to make the purchase. It should be noted therefore that mobile sales and paid advertising specifically targeted to mobile ads may reduce the cost of sale.
October is the time to test online advertising performance so that an increased conversion percentage can be achieved in November and December. This will deliver more and more buyers and make them decide to purchase.
Q How is your business reputation?
Decision making criteria revolves around trust, delivery and guarantee. It is therefore vital that customer service levels are maximised during this quarter to ensure negative feedback does not lead to reduced conversions.
Q When should refunds be made?
Refunds should be made at the earliest possible time or as soon as all terms and conditions have been met. However it is my experience that it is often possible, through targeted communication, to make good or improve the sale to a customer during the customer service procedure.
Where returns are high accurate stock control is vital to maintain profit margins. Businesses with bricks and mortar stores need to ensure that the online and offline store stock levels are matched to avoid lack of stock to meet online sales. In this area alone it is possible to make huge cost savings in personnel costs if the systems is set-up in a way to deliver first class feedback from online customers. See below:
Q Failing to meet sales targets?
In December there is a buyer for almost anything and everything…
If attracting buyers is a problem you should compare your pricing to others in your market and make the necessary adjustments. Ensure you always meet the expectations of your customers by delivering on time and always request and publish feedback comments as soon as possible.
By adding extensions to Google ads and targeting Facebook audiences and groups, demographically you may be able to boost traffic numbers and increase conversions while lowering marketing costs.
Consider adding additional marketing outlets to your armoury i.e. Instagram for although it is early days for its paid advertising scheme it should provide an even lower cost of traffic.
As change is always around the corner in online marketing and with Twitter bringing on a Buy Now button there should be no excuse for not giving it a go.
Q Still got a lot of stock and little time left in December????
If your stock is season specific… have a January sale.
If you would like your plans reviewed or to get some FREE advice Click Here.