Is your store ready for the holiday season?
Hopefully by now you have products in your shop and are ready to promote them. Ideally you want to come up with a game plan in the spring and start creating designs. But if you didn’t do that, not to worry! I have young kids, one of them special needs, so I don’t have a lot of time for design. In fact my summers are spent taking care of the kids. But once they go back to school I hit the ground running. From September on I am focused on holiday designs.
Here are some tips for boosting your holiday sales.
- Update your store with a holiday theme. Create a holiday look that invites customers to shop. It might mean updating your store banner with a photo of holiday products. Or updating your logo to add snowflakes. If you have an independent site it might mean playing around with the store’s theme colors. To see what I’m talking about, let’s look at an example:
Personalization Mall is ready for the holidays! Let’s look at each element:
- The logo. I know this is their normal logo and not just a holiday thing, but look at how something as simple as ribbon can be artfully displayed around the name.
- Candy cane at the top. A simple design element adds a festive touch.
- The slider image. Amazing product photography with stockings hanging from the fireplace, then an envelope that tells customers “Holiday Wishes are Delivered” and “Shop Christmas”.
- Gift categories. They make it so easy for customers to shop with these gift categories!
You may not be able to create similar elements for your store, but it gives you ideas for what you can do. In fact I recommend you look around. Check out other online retailers and see how their home page is set up. Use their stores as inspiration for sprucing up your own shop.
Once you have your store dressed up for the holidays, it’s time to bring visitors to your store (aka traffic). Unfortunately they don’t automatically show up and start browsing your site. You have to let them know you exist!
Hands down social media is the best way to reach customers for your online shop. I recommend you use one or two and not spread yourself thin. But there’s a problem with using them – you either have to pay for ads or building up a following. Let’s look at a couple platforms.
- Facebook. It’s easy to set up a business page for your store and create posts. Unfortunately those posts won’t been seen unless you pay for ads. Yes that means shelling out money, but it can really boost your sales. There is a learning curve and you will lose money while you are figuring it out. But once you have it down you can sell pretty much anything.
- Instagram. I love Instagram and its visual platform. It’s easy to be seen by potential customers and I’ve gotten easy sales from it. But it takes time to build up your page and followers.
What to do with the holidays around the corner? There is one social platform where you can target customers without spending money on ads. And that’s Pinterest. But you can’t just pin any image to Pinterest. It’s all about how you present your products.
Let me illustrate for you. If I go to Pinterest and I search “Christmas cards”, these are the results:
This is just a snippet, but as you see the photos are top notch. The one on the far left is what you call a long or vertical pin. Let’s focus on that for a minute, here is a close up of the pin:
Notice that the long pin takes up almost as much space as the pins next to it. Very eye-catching right? Vertical pins like these are very effective in getting your products seen.
If I scroll down the page I also see this one:
See how the invitations are beautifully presented? If you take the time to create vertical pins for your product, you will stand out in the sea of online products.
How to create ad mockups like these? If you have Photoshop it’s easy. But if you don’t have it there are a couple other ways. You can buy scene generators and layer your product on top. Creative Market has a lot of excellent ones, including this holiday scene creator: (affiliate link)
Here is an example of the scene creator with an invitation:
If you are a Zazzle designer there is also a free tool created by Colleen Michele.
Click on this link to access her tool. Note you will need to have a Zazzle store with products in order to use this tool.
You first start by creating a collection of your Zazzle products. Then you insert the collection link and press that pink button! Here are some of the mockups I’ve created with her amazing tool.
The examples above show two columns of Zazzle products. But with her tool you can create one column and have yourself a vertical pin. You also have the choice of backgrounds and adding simple elements. In the Ballerina mockup above I added flowers and jewels. Once your mockup is finalized you can pin directly to Pinterest or download to your computer.
One final thought about marketing on Pinterest. Blog posts can be effective in reaching customers. In the example above, when I search “Christmas cards” on Pinterest a few blog posts come up at the top of the results. If we revisit the vertical post above, note that it is an article about making your own Christmas cards. I’ll repost the image below:
If you click the vertical pin, it’ll bring you to the Snowman Crafts website and you’ll see a slideshow of DIY ideas. There isn’t a whole lot of text, it’s mostly visual.
One thing I want to point out and you probably noticed it – there are 25k shares! Not bad for one blog post right? AMAZING.
So as you can see from the example above, having a blog and creating posts can bring visitors. And it’s even more important if you primarily use a POD like Zazzle or Cafepress. If you search Pinterest you will be hard-pressed to see a Zazzle pin at the top of the results. Pinterest views these pins as spammy, you won’t see them unless you pay to promote.
You’re better off placing your Zazzle products on a blog and then pinning that blog to Pinterest.
So there you have it, a few ideas on bringing visitors to your store. But how to convert those visitors into buying customers? That’ll be the next blog post!