Last week Modalyst hosted a panel discussion with leaders in retail on how to best gain distribution as an emerging brand. We were fortunate to have an amazing location at Young & Able’s pop up store on Rivington which was packed full by 7pm! We also had 4 stellar panelist and a rock star moderator. See here for the details.
This can be a tough decision when starting an online store and one of the most crucial.
Do you go with dropshipping?
What about consignment?
How do you know what will work for you?
We decided to reach out to one of our favorite retailers to ask how she came to find the retail model that works for her…
It’s the season all e-commerce retailers come to love and anticipate all year.
Whether you’re a hobbyist just entering the e-commerce game or a well-seasoned operator of an online business, the holiday season is the most important selling opportunity of the year. Shopify notes that:
“The holiday season is almost always the most profitable time of year for online businesses. Not only does the last quarter of the year see increases to the number of orders but the average order sizes also tend to be much bigger as well. In fact, some retailers make up to 40% of their yearly revenue in the last quarter alone.”
Not only do the holidays represent the biggest shopping season of the year, they also give you a great opportunity to attract a wide variety of new customers. These customers can potentially become loyal, repeat buyers throughout the year.
Here is our guide on how to best prepare for your holiday shoppers.
Start by stocking your store with a curated assortment of products that is beyond your usual merchandise. Remember, your customers are not necessarily shopping for themselves this visit, so find enough variety that they will be able to find gifts for dads and nieces alike. This includes a variety of price points as well.
Dropshipping is a great way to add products fast without having to buy anything upfront. Plus, the holidays are a great opportunity to test out products and brands since customers are expecting new inventory this time of year. Drop shipping is the best way to do just that.
Learn more about dropshipping here
This one may sound obvious but I am always surprised by the poor quality of images on some of the sites I visit. We all know the power of a picture so make sure you are using the highest resolution image available. Offer a variety of perspectives of product shots along with model shots when available.
Don’t wait to the last minute to start advertising your holiday products and then run the risk of pissing off your customers with a ton of emails at once. Instead, create a calendar with a strategy in mind. Be aware of all the holiday campaigns everyone is receiving so try sending something unique – maybe witty or image based to catch customers’ attention. As long as your store is stocked, it’s never too early to start sending teasers. Just stick to your schedule.
Content Marketing. Yes everyone’s talking about it so time to jump on the bandwagon. One of the best way to reach customer is by writing about the products you have on your site. Tell the brand’s story on your blog, be a guest Instagrammer for the day on one of your brand’s accounts, write a gift guide for an influencer’s site…There are lots of ways to get in front of new people but I think content is the best.
Where do you write all this content? Try starting a blog. Here is a good article to learn more.
Use social media. Duh. But try to be creative this year and don’t just post your own products, try collaborating with someone and think about ways you can cross promote. Maybe you ask one of your most loyal customers (who has a large following) to post a link in exchange for a discount. It’s always effective to have other people talk about your store so find multiple voices.
Form curated collections that appeal to a certain group. Gift guides are a great way to do just that and allows you to gently control your customer’s experience. For example, “Best Gifts for the Active Dad” or “Gifts for the Girl Who Has Everything” will help draw people in and direct them to the products you want to promote.
Take a peek at some of your recent customer’s social media pages and see if they are talking about anything specific. What is trending this season (for your particular audience)? How can you tap into what is already popular to drive people to your site?
You are going to have the best chance of making sales with the people who have already had a good experience on your site. Why not target them and offer an additional incentive just to seal the deal? Send them a personal email to drive them back to your site.
Participate in a local market or pop up to offer your local customers a place to come touch and feel the products. This is the best time of year to add that physical component to your online presence since people are on the look out for gifts so foot traffic is easier to attract.
If you don’t already have free shipping, this is a great time to offer it, especially since it is likely your competitors are going to. Paying for shipping may scare you but your sales volume should increase to make up for the added cost.
Staff up on customer service so you can offer the best experience for your shoppers. The most powerful ads are positive customer reviews so get a head start by providing first class service. That means quick answers to questions, extended phone hours and of course always delivering on time. If you make a good impression, you can be confident customers will return. Customer service should be considered part of your marketing strategy.