November 7, 2008, 12:00 AM

Tips for maximizing online holiday season sales

With online consumers having started their holiday shopping in October, online retailers should offer them additional value, such as free shipping, to turn early browsers into buyers, e-commerce consulting firm OneUpWeb says in a new report.

With online consumers having started their holiday shopping in October, online retailers should offer them additional value, such as free shipping, to turn early browsers into buyers, e-commerce consulting firm OneUpWeb says in a new report.

While holiday season online sales peaked last year during the week before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, online shopping traffic started rising during the first week in October, and visitor-to-sales conversions started rising in the week before Thanksgiving, Nov. 12-18, OneUpWeb says.

“Just because consumers are making their purchases close to Christmas doesn’t mean they aren’t looking all along,” the firm says. “The key is tracking those conversions, such as catalog requests. Then you can and should follow up with those potential customers through e-mail and social media marketing, time-sensitive sales and other continuous communications.”

OneUpWeb also suggests other tips for maximizing sales:

  • Give a boost to paid-search marketing campaigns by adding holiday terms early in the season. A good keyword phrase for candles, for instance, could be “Chanuka candles.”
  • To help turn browsers into buyers, tie online promotions to the products and categories visitors are viewing. Also, update inventory listings on comparison shopping engines.
  • To help spread out sales throughout the holiday season, offer a variety of time-limited deals, such as free-shipping or price discounts available for only one or two weeks.
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