thanksgiving1Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and today is the day to start implementing some highly specialized pre-Thanksgiving selling strategies.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when selling during the holiday season is that they treat the entire holiday season as one big, long promotion.  But blaring the “Christmas event” message over and over again is the same as listening to a CD track that’s stuck on repeat.

After a while your customers just tune it out.  I talk about this in my 2009 Holiday Season Checklist.

The solution to this is to hold several different “events” in your online store or on your website throughout the holiday season.

Time-limited, topic focused events such as a pre-Thanksgiving event designed to inspire your customers to take action and make their purchase before the post- Thanksgiving holiday rush.

In the busy weeks before Thanksgiving, there are several ways you can catch your customer’s eye, and boost your sales…

5 Pre-Thanksgiving Tips to Boost Your Online Holiday Sales

one Offer a Deal-of-the-Day. Deal of the day sites have become very popular.  Sites like Woot, eBay & Amazon all sell crazy amounts of products through their daily deal programs.  And while you may not have the depth of inventory to blow out hundreds of units of products or discount below wholesale costs, you can adapt the deal-of-the-day concept.

Send out an email marketing newsletter and include a deal-of-the day (or a 48 hour or 72 special if that works better for you. If you sell on eBay, use your custom eBay Stores Promotion Box to promote a deal-of-the-day.

Use the main real-estate on your website to promote the deal-of-the-day so your customers see it immediately upon landing on your home page.

two Make Free Shipping a Timed Event. There’s no doubt about it, free shipping is hot & a #1 priority with consumers.  But that doesn’t mean you should put Free Shipping on all your products all the time. The most effective Free Shipping campaigns are those that are tied to an event.  Such as “Free Shipping on all orders placed before Thanksgiving.” or “Free Shipping on all orders over $100.

Make your Free Shipping events fun and creative!  Sell your Free Shipping & make it engaging…   For example, a pre-Thanksgiving shipping event may advertise “Get a Jump on Your Holiday Shopping  (and the Shipping is Gravy)” combined with a graphic for a pre-Thanksgiving sale.  Put a time limit on your free shipping event and end it on Thanksgiving night.  Start a new even the next day (on Black Friday) This makes the buying experience fun and engaging for your customers.

Everybody is yelling Free Shipping this year.  By using a timed shipping event, you again will inspire your customers to take action now.

three Be Transparent About Scarcity. Have you ever shopped for an item that was hard to find? Low on stock? High on demand? Do you remember how you felt (and what you did) when the sales person told you “Only 1 left.” If you’re like most people, upon hearing the words “Only1 left” you snapped up your desired item.

Your customers feel the same way. Yet most people will never tell their customers that they are running low on stock until they run out. If you’re getting low on some best selling inventory, let your customers know:

“Only 1 left in stock!”

“Our best selling sweaters that sell out every year.  Only 5 remain.”

“Grab this year’s top toy.  10 in stock, gift wrapped and ready to ship today.”

Look at it this way – your potential customer has arrived on your website.  They see the toy they want.  They know it’s a top toy for the season.  You have 10 left, they’re pre-gift wrapped and ready to ship today.  Why would your customer go anywhere else? Make your offer compelling and be transparent if you have hot holiday products that are selling out.

four Offer a Post-Thanksgiving Coupon Incentive. Every order you ship out this week should contain a holiday coupon with a post-Thanksgiving coupon incentive.

Think of it from your customer’s perspective. They’ve made a purchase from you this week, their item arrives shortly before or immediately after Thanksgiving.  They are in full-shopping-mode. They’re delighted with their purchase and your customer service.  In the box, they see a holiday themed coupon good for 20% off their next order when placed before December 10th (or any date that you pick). It’s at this “Point of Reconnection” (something I teach about in the Business Center at WhatDoISell.) that you can have your greatest impact.

lightedholidaytrain Ok let’s shift gears a bit and talk about how you can boost your online sales with some hot new inventory.

Granted it’s too late to order holiday inventory from your suppliers.  In fact I strongly caution you against it at this point – because most suppliers are out of their hot products for the season and even if they promise delivery in time for Christmas, most often orders get delayed due to things beyond their control.

So how do you get the hot holiday inventory?

Let’s move to tip #5…

five Take Advantage of Retail Resale™ Opportunities. I love Retail Resale. In fact when I first start my ecommerce business back in 2002, I started selling by products I’d sourced through retail channels.  I used to get name brand children’s shoes on sale locally and turn them around for a 60% profit.  In fact one Christmas, I’d pegged a pair of Elefanten patent leather boots as the rage for  little girls that year.  I knew they were selling like hotcakes all over the web – so I did a bit of driving, bought several pairs in various sizes and made a quick & easy $800 profit.

BTW, Retail Resale™ is a term I coined several years ago to describe this process of buying merchandise from retail stores and reselling it on your own web properties. Retail Resale™ is not a long term sustainable business model for a full-time business owner, but it is a great way to generate some S.T.E.P.s™ (Short Term Ecommerce Profits™) or to source hot products that you can’t get anywhere else.

You can’t buy XBox Consoles wholesale from Microsoft, but you can pick up some special holiday console builds retail and turn those around on eBay for a nice profit.

Retail Resale™ is perfect for online sellers who don’t have a lot of holiday inventory.  Or for those that just want to create an additional stream of income during the holidays.

And here’s the great part – you can take advantage of all the pre-Thanksgiving sales, along with the Black Friday sales to get terrific deals on products you will then be able to sell to your global base of customers.

Pick One and Go For It!

Even if you choose only one of these 5 tips and implement it, you’ll be ahead of the game. Making money during the holidays is about taking action, not making it perfect.

Which of these 5 strategies are you going to implement today?