The holidays are one of the most important times of year for small businesses, startups and e-commerce business to increase sales and boost revenue. One smart way to capitalize on this expected increase in consumer spending is to polish your holiday email marketing practices.
According to Deloitte’s U.S. holiday economic forecast, holiday retail sales are expected to increase 1 percent to 1.5 percent this year, while holiday e-commerce sales are expected to grow 25 percent to 35 percent year-over-year during the 2020 to 2021 holiday season.
To take a closer look at how email marketing can be put to good use this time of year, the GoDaddy email marketing team identified trends and developed best practices for small business marketers this holiday season.
The most wonderful time of the year (for email marketing)
With more people going online to find gifts this holiday season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, holiday shopping is starting even earlier this year. An online shopping surge is expected to cause shipping and delivery delays, so you want to make sure you’re marketing to your customers earlier than ever this holiday season.
Plus, a reported 73 percent of holiday shoppers will make their purchases primarily online this year, so you must plan your email marketing campaigns accordingly in order to stand out from the crowd.
Take a break on the actual holiday
Avoid sending emails on major holidays. Black Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day all saw the lowest email open rates of the holiday season. Contrary to popular belief, Cyber Monday isn’t a great day to send marketing emails, either, due to the massive volume of emails sent out that day.
For example, Cyber Monday has a higher email sending volume than any other day in both November and December. The influx of emails may leave online shoppers feeling overwhelmed, and could cause your messaging to be lost.
Make your emails mobile-friendly
Most people check their phones 150 times a day, for a mere 70 seconds, according to Google Research. Additionally, GoDaddy data shows that over a 10-day period, nearly half (46 percent) of customers who opened GoDaddy Email Marketing emails opened them on a smartphone or tablet. Many online shoppers are scrolling through their inboxes and scanning email subject lines on the go.
In fact, millennials are 63 percent more likely to be swayed into making a purchase after receiving a promotional email than their Gen X or Baby Boomer counterparts.
This time of year, it’s more important than ever to include snappy, attention-grabbing subject lines and send mobile-optimized emails in order to reach online shoppers.
The post How to Make the Most of Your Holiday Email Marketing appeared first on StartupNation.
It’s officially holiday shopping season! While most of us will be doing our holiday shopping online this year (a reported 42 percent say they’ll be doing all of their shopping online), before you hit that “buy” button online, consider your local merchants.
On this morning’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff talks about the importance of supporting local merchants this holiday season, and how new platforms like Shop Mainstreet can make holiday shopping easier than ever before.
Tune in to the WJR Business Beat to hear more from Jeff:
“Just in time for the holiday shopping season, enjoy shopping locally from the comfort of your own home, knowing that you are keeping your hard-earned dollars to work in your local community.”
– Jeff Sloan
To learn more about the downtown Farmington merchants mentioned in this segment, visit Shop Mainstreet here.
Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.
Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at email@example.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!
WJR Business Beat Transcript
Good morning, holiday shoppers.
Yes, that’s right, it’s holiday shopping season. Of course, this year will be different from most. Many of us will be doing most, if not all, of our shopping online this year. Nearly 42 percent of us say we’re going all online with our holiday shopping.
However, before you hit that “buy” button online, think about this: your local merchants, stores in your communities, those that support the little league teams your kids play on with their sponsorships, those that employ people in your community, those merchants whose proprietors’ kids go to school with your kids, those who, when you spend a hundred dollars with them, $ 68 stays in your local community to improve schools and parks and beautify your town, and those who offer a shopping experience, not just an opportunity to buy something, need your purchases this holiday season like never before.
Remember this: local merchants have responded to our public health needs and consumers’ new demands by launching innovative omni-channel approaches to selling to you, fulfilling orders and accepting payments from you.
Merchants are embracing contactless payments in store, e-commerce offerings and other methods as they work to adapt to the current challenges they now face.
And new platforms are emerging all the time. We can even buy from our local merchants online with platforms like Shop Mainstreet, where you can shop your favorite local merchants virtually.
That’s right, buy from them online just as you can from the big name online platforms. The shopyourmainstreet.com platform has just been released in Oakland County and is growing.
For example, check out the local stores coming online in Farmington. Just in time for the holiday shopping season, enjoy shopping locally from the comfort of your own home, knowing that you are keeping your hard earned dollars to work in your local community.
All of these initiatives undertaken by local merchants and local eateries offer you new ways to buy and are designed to keep you safe while doing business with them and to earn your patronage.
Let’s all remember to send some love to a local merchant or local eatery this season by buying from them instead this year, when they need you and your purchases most.
I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.
The post WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Shop Local and Shop Mainstreet This Holiday Season (Episode 149) appeared first on StartupNation.
Werkheiser Jewelers began serving the Lehigh Valley with custom design, restoration and repair in 1992. Employees take pride in fine jewelry sales, creating custom jewelry—including wedding bands and engagement rings—and in restoring cherished family heirlooms. They have a laid-back, customer-oriented shop where you’ll be greeted with a smile—and maybe even by one of their dogs.
StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here
They launched their website in 2005. Their Google My Business listing shows customers their location and hours, which is especially important during the holiday season, when the shop extends its hours. Google Analytics helps them fine-tune website content.
“I track changes I make to the site and how people are responding to them,” Alyssa says. “I’m able to see tangible results. It’s really exciting.”
AdWords, Google’s advertising program, has been a particularly valuable digital tool during the busy holidays to reach new customers looking for gifts. The Google Apps for Work suite of tools, especially Google Docs and Google Drive, helps to keep the staff productive by providing ample storage for images and documents.
“Being able to back up anything important to me in Google Drive gives me a lot of peace of mind. And if I work from home, I love that I can access anything that I’m working on,” Alyssa says.
Today, Werkheiser Jewelers successfully reaches not only past and current customers online, but new, younger customers, as well.
“Maybe they’re looking to buy that first big piece of jewelry, or an engagement ring,” she says. “Because of Google, they’re able to find us.”
Thanks to optimizing their online presence and their use of Google tools, Werkheiser Jewelers saw the number of visitors to their website increase by nearly 500 percent over a six-month period. The number of views on their contact page rose almost as much.
“It shows that people want to reach out to us,” Alyssa says. “To actually see it in a quantitative form is so validating.”
For more on the Werkheiser Jewelers case study, visit http://economicimpact.google.com.
Content provided by Google
The post This Jewelry Store Boosts its Holiday Traffic with Google My Business appeared first on StartupNation.
The holiday season is often a busy time for entrepreneurs. With customers buying a tremendous number of gifts, business owners are likely feeling the stress of the shopping rush, and they want their items to arrive on time and in pristine condition.
And this year, the pandemic has made online sales even more important for e-commerce entrepreneurs: about 75 percent of those surveyed in a recent Accenture study said they plan to do at least some holiday shopping online, while 43 percent said they plan to shop exclusively online during the holidays.
Avoid any issues by streamlining your shipping process and making your brand appealing to customers.
Online entrepreneurs follow different standards from brick-and-mortar shops, which can work to your advantage. The ease of online shopping draws in customers who don’t have the time to trek through stores and outlets, or those who don’t feel comfortable doing so this year. Turn this festive season into your best quarter yet by checking out some tips on handling orders.
Stock your inventory
Many businesses have a few popular items that always sell the most. Stock and pre-package these to save time on procuring products you know people will buy. When people start ordering those items at higher rates, you can quickly put them in the mail and send them on their way. Look at your selling and inventory trends from previous quarters to help decide which goods to produce more of.
Include your budget when predicting how much to stock, as you may need to adjust your plans to accommodate holiday discounts and free shipping.
Establish your ship-by dates
Each carrier has deadlines for the latest dates to ship packages and have them arrive by Christmas, and they’re even earlier than usual this year. Check out what these days are so you’ll know when to get your goods in the mail. Set your own ship-by dates within these timelines to give yourself some flexibility, and be sure to share them with your customers on your website and social channels.
For example, if FedEx’s ship-by date for Home Delivery is Dec. 15, your company’s established deadline could be Dec. 12. That way, you have a few extra days to fix any potential processing errors.
Look out for peak rates
Shipping rates typically increase during the holiday season. Your carrier may charge you more to ship packages, especially if you’re sending a next-day or two-day parcel. Peak dates for UPS occur throughout November and December into early January.
Keep in mind that shipments through UPS are subject to increased charges depending on weight and additional handling. Learn more about those possible peak surcharges here.
Offer discounts and goodies
Be inventive about how you offer discounts during the holidays. Many large businesses do this because they can afford to slash their prices and get customers in the door. However, smaller companies have to take careful consideration with their options. If a discount is going to cost you more money than you’ll make, it’s better to skip it. However, you may have ways to offer lower costs without hurting your bottom line.
For example, consider incorporating free shipping by analyzing your average order value and offering it at a certain price threshold. You can also give free or reduced shipping by adding some of the cost to the item’s list price.
Some companies also add freebies to their orders to impress customers and entice them into making a purchase. Include something related to your brand, such as an earring holder if you’re a jewelry company. If your budget doesn’t allow for extra goodies, a handwritten thank you note can go a long way.
Implementing an address verification system will ensure your packages ship to the correct locations, reducing the number of returns. Your software will compare the customer’s billing information to the address associated with his or her bank account.
This process generates a code that the bank sends back to you. If your system sees that the addresses don’t match, it’ll reject the transaction. Many online merchants use this tool to prevent fraud while ensuring orders reach their intended destinations.
Inform your customers
Transparency is essential whenever you engage with your customers. Inform them of how long it’ll take for their shipments to arrive and give them tracking numbers to follow the process. Provide them with a list of your ship-by dates so they’ll know when to order if they want their package by Christmas.
Confusing and unhelpful customer service can deter potential customers from a brand they would’ve otherwise patronized. Always reach out to buyers and provide them with the necessary info for making informed purchases.
Set up a smooth return policy
You want every customer to be satisfied, but sometimes returns happen. Have a clear return policy to let shoppers know when and how they can ship items back. You’ll also need to manage things on your end by ensuring your return facility (and the processing itself) is equipped for incoming shipments.
No one wants to send back a product only to wait weeks to receive their refund. Make it easier for customers by including return shipping labels with each order and providing swift money returns.
Celebrate the holidays with easy online ordering
Ship orders with ease, earn money and maintain your holiday cheer this season with these helpful tips.
Keep your cool throughout the shopping madness this holiday season, and keep the extra stress the pandemic puts on your business at bay. Supply your customers with the products they know and love. An effective shipping strategy will leave you with satisfied customers, allowing your business to end the quarter on a high note.
The post 7 Holiday Shipping Tips and Tricks for Online Entrepreneurs appeared first on StartupNation.
BioCatch is forecasting a flurry of new account fraud ahead of the 2020 holiday season. The company specifically predicts that fraudsters will be trying to take advantage of changing customer behavior, and the increasing number of new credit card applications in particular.
Read more here.