Online shoppers in the UK are expected to spend £162bn per year on internet purchases by the end of 2020. This burgeoning market is one that small businesses should not ignore. Thomas Vollrath, CEO of 123-Reg, has these top tips for onlne businesses looking to boost their internet sales over Christmas.
With the festive season fast approaching, setting up an online shop now can enable a business to take advantage of the 85% of UK consumers planning to spend money online this Christmas.
While many people shop online today, customers still have concerns about being caught out by fake websites and counterfeit goods. This concern is heightened even further at Christmas as people make larger, multiple purchases.
Therefore, a business must plan carefully to allay customers' concerns by providing an online shop that embodies security, trust, reliability and good service: values that are central to online shoppers. A businesses online reputation is just as important as a real world one; a lack of the values above can result in a lost sale or leave a bad impression of a business' brand.
The reverse is true, and businesses that that provide reliable, secure sites can expect to gain trust and long-term loyalty from festive shoppers. Because of this, its essential businesses that are thinking of setting up an online shop are aware of the these handy tips to make the most out of the Christmas season.
Here are some top tips when selling online at Christmas:
1. Businesses selling online need to build trust with users by displaying contact numbers throughout their site. This shows there is somebody to talk to should a customer encounter a problem. Businesses can expect to receive more enquires during the festive season, so they must be aptly prepared to deal with this. It's also important to encourage feedback, as this makes customers feel valued and can add to a business' services.
2. Festive shoppers are likely to make larger multiple purchases, so need to be reassured that confidential information given online is safe. This can be done by displaying security accreditations, such as an SSL certificate which verifies that the site is legitimate and hosted on a secure server. Businesses should also offer money-back guarantees if possible, and terms and conditions should be written in plain English and be visible on the site.
3. Christmas purchases are often done with someone else in mind, so the buyer may be somewhat unsure of the product they are ordering. Because of this, businesses must be really transparent when it comes to their goods, with photos of the products being sold included, alongside detailed descriptions and clear pricing.
4. Customers are more likely to buy from a site if they can relate to the person behind the webpage, and this is even more so during the festive season when shoppers must make choices between a number of etailers. Adding pictures, videos and a blog to a website will give customers an insight into a business and help to build rapport, which can turn into custom.
5. With so many online retailers selling similar wares, be sure to research your competition. It's as easy as running a simple Google search. This will help you to set your price points and compete on extras such as postage and speed of despatch. But don't make the mistake of undercutting your rivals too much. While you might generate more sales, the reduced margins could hit your business later.
With people already beginning their Christmas shopping, now is the ideal time for a business to be pro-active and get online.
Businesses which remember the best practice tips above could find that an online shop adds to their business by extending their ability to achieve awareness, lasting customer loyalty and increased sales, during the festive season and beyond.
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