Gearing Up for the Holidays: How Will Your Customers Shop?
It’s no secret that people have changed the way they shop over the years. A century ago Sears & Roebuck dominated the industry with their innovative mail order catalog system. In the middle of last century, the downtown department store reigned supreme. By the 1980’s, malls were all the rage. Now paper catalogs are quaint, the department store is a distant memory, and malls are decayed shadows of their former glory. If you are a small business today, you’re likely operating out of a store front in a strip mall or have given up on brick and mortar entirely. These days online is where the action is, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated a growing trend.
In the next part of our series on Gearing Up For the Holidays, we’ll take a look at what these online trends mean for your holiday marketing. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon in-person sales, but these days you had better have a well-developed online presence if you want to thrive. Even if you do have an online presence, you’ll want to evaluate it thoroughly to make sure it’s ready to handle the traffic you’re going to be throwing at it.
The key elements of a successful online business are good design and ease of use. Does your website convey the message you intend? Does it have a strong and consistent color scheme? Does it have the right tone? If you have a ‘serious’ business you’ll want a more sober, responsible presentation. If you deal in fun and whimsy, your website should reflect that while still showing that you’re professional and able to meet the customer’s needs. A simple question to ask yourself is whether you as a customer would you buy from your site.
In addition to looking good, the font should be easy to read and have a nice contrast between the color of the font and the color of the background. Avoid dark text on a colored background. The layout should make it easy to find the product information you want, and more importantly make it easy to make a purchase. Fortunately, most modern website templates are filled with great features and preprogrammed shortcuts to make your online life easier, but you’ll still have to customize them to suit your needs.
Once you know your website is ready to handle heavy-duty lifting, you can begin to think out how to approach holiday marketing. Should you offer a sale, such as “buy two get one free”? Or how about a product bundle that combines a popular offering with a lesser selling item? One of the nice things about holidays is each one has its own well-defined color scheme, intended mood and imagery. Let your website reflect the tone of each holiday. For example, if you’re planning a big Halloween blowout sale, don’t be afraid to throw in some orange and black.
These days, your online face is really the face you present to the world. Make it memorable and professional and get ready to reel ‘em in this holiday season.