If you’ve ever walked along the streets of Manhattan around Christmastime, then you must have seen the festive window displays outside your favorite department stores. This is a tried-and-true sales method that’s been in place for more than a century, and the idea behind said windows is to draw customers in by creating a stunning visual representation of the material necessities offered inside.
Owning an online store isn’t all that different from owning a brick and mortar establishment. While eCommerce merchants may not have to create beautiful, physical window displays for their customers, they do have to dress their store and its social profiles for every occasion.
Take Valentine’s Day, for example. Lovers in love all over the country will flock to online marketplaces seeking gifts for their sweethearts. E-store owners need to prepare for this, and one of the best ways to do just that is through the creation of original holiday-themed graphics and marketing content.
It’s not just Valentine’s Day you need to worry about, either. Every major U.S. holiday (global holidays included if you sell internationally) represents an opportunity to increase eCommerce sales and grow your business.
The following five tips have been carefully designed to help online store owners create virtual windows using high-res graphics and strategic marketing tactics. Enjoy, and if you have anything to add to this article, please do so in the comment section below.
Tap into your inner artist
If you have no artistic ability whatsoever, you may need to hire a graphic designer. The Internet has become a vehicle driven by rich multimedia content, and there’s no way you can survive as an online store owner without custom graphics, high-res images and beautifully designed newsletters.
If you know how to use Photoshop, than maybe, just maybe you can skate by on your skills. That being said, there are some tricks to make sure your store and it’s extensions are dressed to the nines for all major U.S. holidays.
The homepage of your 3dcart site acts as the window to your online store. It needs to be pretty, inviting and inspirational enough to entice new visitors to open their pocket books and spend. After all, competition is fierce, particularly around the holidays, so if you fail to create a welcoming/festive environment, rest assured that someone else in your industry will.
Dressing your homepage for the holidays is a lot easier than you think and all it really takes is a few new homepage sliders overlaid with some creative marketing copy. If each banner is properly executed, they will be the first thing a customer sees when they enter your store; the first thing that commands attention. This will not only increase sales, it will also keep your website both current and competitive.
(Front and Company)
Now that your homepage is sporting some festive attitude, let’s turn our attention toward social media. If your brand is represented on Facebook, Google+ and/or Twitter, it pays to create unique cover photos and background images for each. It's also important to rotate these images in accordance with the season. Your customers will appreciate the gesture and you'll create a more engage-worthy socialsphere.
(3dcart's Halloween Graphic for Facebook)
An awesome newsletter is key
Amidst the growing demand to advertise on social media as well as the world’s most popular search engines, there remains a thing called email and it’s the best marketing tool you have.
When trying to escalate your profit margins, be sure to create an awesome bi-weekly/monthly newsletter that advertises your store’s special promotions.
Take the Gap, for example. They're one of the best companies in the world when it comes to creating newsletter campaigns that convert.
As you can see, the Gap’s newsletter is not only beautiful to look at and easy to read, it’s also all about the customer. By advertising your promotions up front and showcasing products throughout, they’ve been able to create an amazing newsletter that you can all now envy and emulate. For more examples of eCommerce newsletters that are doing things right, check out the following slideshow.
Become an engaged advocate
One-way social marketing is dead. If you want to thrive as an online store owner, you need to treat your social profiles like they, too, are a window to your store. After all, each social account you maintain is a portal for your brand, and today’s marketing climate forces you to make it an active one.
If a customer takes the time to post on your Facebook timeline, take the time to respond and do so immediately. The same is true for Goolge+. Twitter is a different animal altogether but the concept remains the same. If someone sends you a tweet, tweet back. If a customer voices a complaint, reach out with a human touch and let them know you’re there to help.
Online advertising is also a window, albeit a much smaller, less visible window unless you’re willing to spend beaucoups bucks. However, advertising your store and its products across social media, major online market places and popular search engines is vital to your business’ success and longevity.
In short, if you're not already engaged in online advertising, get on it. Your competitors are, and there’s no excuse for you not to follow suit.
If you want to advertise online but don’t know where to begin, consider the fact that 3dcart now offers $75 in free Facebook Ad Credits, $75 in free Amazon Ad Credits, and $75 in free ad credits on the Yahoo Bing network. All of these incredible offers can be accessed by logging into your 3dcart Store Manager and navigating to Marketing --> Advertising Credits. From there, simply follow the on-screen prompts.
Review and revise… everything
Whether you create a large online window or a small one, all of your efforts will be for naught if you make a mistake and fail to catch it before raising the veil. That’s why it’s so important to perfect and refine your displays long before they go live.
This may seem like an obvious piece of advice to most, but you’d be amazed at the mistakes I’ve seen when it comes to brands attempting to execute online window dressing.
One misspelled word, one unclickable call-to-action and the amazing holiday-themed promotion you worked so hard on will be useless.
Bear in mind that excellence is directly tied to trust in the e-sales game, and if your holiday window displays and promotions are riddled with errors, how can you expect an online consumer to spend their hard-earned dollars inside your store?