It’s a race to the December 25th finish line for businesses that want to make sure their pre-holiday marketing strategies pay off. Here’s what you should do in order to boost your sales this holiday season

Experts predicted long ago that e-commerce sales would reach $400 billion in 2017. However, they were wrong. Going by Internet Retailer’s numbers, e-commerce accounted from 41.6 percent of all retail sales growth last year, sales were well over that threshold in 2016. With that kind of cash flow at stake, online retailers in every niche are casting their lines to get a piece of it, and competition is fierce.

This year, we saw yet another increase in online shopping, especially via mobile devices. Since consumers spent about $12.8 billion online from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, you’d think there was nothing left to sell and no one left to sell to, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Retailers dish out plenty of deals the closer it gets to Christmas, which keeps people shopping right up until Santa is ready to make his appearance. This means ecommerce merchants have a magical window of opportunities to boost their sales this Christmas. Here’s how.

Free Shipping

There are plenty of ways that online shopping trumps brick-and-mortar, like larger selection, quicker checkout, and zero crowds. But seeing how much shipping adds to the bottom line of an order total can quickly deter a shopper from clicking Submit. In fact, 28% of shoppers will forfeit their goods and seek elsewhere when facing unexpected shipping charges.

So how can you thwart such a high rate of shopping cart abandonment? Easy: free shipping. Yes, that does mean you’ll be picking up the tab for delivery charges, and it won’t be cheap. However, offering free shipping doesn’t mean you have to go bankrupt in the process. Set a minimum order price customers much reach before their items ship por gratis. Customers determined to check off their wishlist sans shipping fees may even spend more than they originally planned. This will give you higher average transaction value and is sure to boost your sales this Christmas.

Christmas Delivery Guarantee

Shipping costs aren’t the only drawback of shopping online. The shipping process itself can make a customer more likely to battle the crowds in person to ensure they get their items in hand before Christmas.

If you can guarantee Christmas delivery, tout it loud and proud on your website. If you can’t guarantee every item for sale on your site will arrive by December 24th, you can signify which items will definitely make the deadline by using a small icon or text in the item description. Ensuring your customers receive their gifts when they need them gives them peace of mind, and usually means they won’t think twice about placing their order.

Facebook Promoted Posts

If you have an established social media presence, there’s no better time to promote your posts than around the holidays. The cool part is you get to tell Facebook about your target audience, decide how much to spend on your campaign, and track results along the way.

Promoted posts are a bit different than the typical content you’d share on your business page. Your promotions will show up in the newsfeed of people who may have never heard of your company, but nonetheless fit the bill of your target audience.

Other social networks, like Twitter and Pinterest, also offer paid advertising, so if you’ve got a following on other channels, use them.

Gift Wrap Option

Most people can wrap a gift in just a few minutes, but shoppers who have dozens of packages can kiss their Saturday afternoon good-bye. Consider adding a Gift Wrap checkbox to your website to boost your sales this Christmas. Last minute shoppers, the artistically challenged, and just plain lazy people will appreciate the option of having someone do their dirty work for them, even if it means a slight upcharge to cover material and labor.

If you are confident in your packing methods, shipping wrapped gifts in a well-padded box shouldn’t be an issue. Or, you can provide free gift boxes and a pre-tied ribbon with instructions if you don’t want to take any chances. Either way, you’re saving someone else the hassle of creating a nice presentation, which means they get to spend less time stressing and more time enjoying the holidays.

Guest Checkout

Data capture on your website is crucially important for marketing purposes, but making a harried shopper create an entire account for a single purchase is one of the best ways to send them to your nearest competitor. Touted as the number 2 reason for shopping cart abandonment, having to create a new account before a customer can complete the checkout process will kill more deals than the “vital” data capture will bring in the future.

Instead, set up a Guest Checkout option for shoppers who have better things to do than shop online all day. You will still claim some of their important info during the checkout process, which you can later use to market to them. If you want to boost your sales this Christmas, make checking out as swift as possible. After all, if a customer wanted to spend 15 minutes paying for their items, they would have gone to the store.

Paying in Installments

One of the main strategies that is bound to boost your sales throughout the year, and particularly during the holiday season is offering your customers an opportunity to pay in installments. In fact, potential customers prefer installments over discounts and free shipping, and that is a fact you can’t allow yourself to ignore.

In Closing

With the rise of mobile shopping, e-commerce is continuing to shape the retail world, outsmarting and outselling the brick-and-mortar realm hand over foot. With more holiday purchases being made online every year, e-commerce merchants are facing a pinnacle time to differentiate themselves from other online competition and set a strong foundation from the get-go. By using the aforementioned strategies to your advantage, you’ll soon notice the difference this holiday season makes.

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