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Up Your Holiday Sales Game: The Secrets of Selling Online

Originally posted on

Online holiday spending is at an all time high but is your site as optimized as possible to get the most money from your potential user?

Holiday season is around the corner. We’ll soon be seeing autumnal themed storefronts, pumpkin spiced beverages at Starbucks, and even tinsel in a couple of stores that want to get in on the action particularly early.

But this season also brings with it a certain level of stress for both customers and the stores at which they are spending their money.

Holiday shopping affects both consumers (B2C) and the retail stores stocking up for the holiday via their wholesalers (B2B), requiring them to carefully plan ahead.

Businesses who prepare for the holiday season early, however, will no doubt reap the benefits. As suggested by a recent survey, one in three people starts their holiday season shopping as early as September.

Arriving in store for holiday shopping can be fun and exciting but the reality most consumers face is that shopping in-store is time-consuming, costly, and often incredibly stressful. Businesses with an online store provide consumers with ease and comfort.

For consumers shopping online, especially around the holiday season, this means avoiding standing in line and pushing through the crowds. Online prices are also often a lot more attractive than those in store as there are offers and discounts that are only available online.

Additionally, since consumers are already browsing online catalogs, they are more likely to pass another item which they did not necessarily anticipate on buying but picked up as an impulse purchase simply from being online.

In fact, on the business side, there are benefits too. There are various ways to turn a profit through selling online, but to actually increase profits is another story. By focusing on Average Order Value (AOV), in other words, the value of products in a customer’s basket, businesses can increase their profits. The formula is simple - get customers to spend more during a shop, and profits will rise.

So how can you actually increase your AOV? The routes might be different, but they all lead to the same place more profit for your business.

Offer Card Based Installments

One, if not the most effective, way of increasing average order value is by offering customers an option to pay in installments. Presenting consumers with an opportunity to pay in smaller increments, pulls them in. Only having to pay a small amount upfront is an attractive proposition even though they know they will eventually pay the full price.

In fact, one company who has successfully done this, Glasses USA, increased high ticket items sales by 12 percent in just six months by offering card based installments through Splitit. The American online retailer of prescription eyewear used Splitit to offer their customers an interest-free payment plan using their existing credit cards.

Card-based installments allow consumers to put more in their online baskets, which is especially important during the holiday season. Businesses aren’t the only ones benefiting, however, as customers are able to spend more at one time due to their payments being split.

Upsell and Cross-Sell

A customer visiting an e-commerce site expects the purchase experience to be as convenient as possible. Using an upsell technique, sellers can direct customers to similar, higher-priced items based on their cart or order history, or cross-sell by also offering products from different categories to increase total spending.

"These suggestions are based on previous purchases and choices customers have made, allowing them to trust that the displayed items and offers closely match their needs,” says Oren Ezra, Pepperi CMO. “We have seen wholesalers increase their average order size by 10 percent to 20 percent just by implementing upsell and cross-sell promotions "

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Almost every E-commerce business or online store offers discounts and promotions. It’s a good way of selling older stock, and a way of making consumers buy more. The best way of approaching this is by ensuring there is a feeling of urgency. This increases the likelihood of your customers making a purchase.

As consumers, we have a tendency to procrastinate, leaving our shopping carts full and even disowning them for a few days. How many times has it happened to you? Load up your Amazon cart, leave it for a few days before coming back to it and re-evaluating what’s inside.

In the same way that limited edition candy, cosmetics or clothing fill us with a sense of urgency, making us want to buy them before they run out, so too can limited-time offers be used to convert customers from browsing in the store to actually make a purchase. “20 percent off all Christmas lights” might make customers browse the specs and details of a product but “20 percent off all Christmas lights, until midnight” offers a more pressing call-to-action.

The holiday season is tough on all of us. But planning ahead and implementing the aforementioned strategies will allow you to prep your business for the upcoming holiday season successfully.


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