Retail Times’ e-surgery with eSellerPro: mastering seasonal events

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Retail Times has teamed up with e-commerce software supplier, eSellerPro, to launch an e-surgery for online and multi-channel sellers. With Christmas just around the corner and the January sales and other key events hot on its heels, Keith Bird, CEO at eSellerPro, answers questions on the art of seasonal retailing

Keith Bird: start your planning in January

Keith Bird: start your planning in January

Q: Have I now missed the boat on maximising my revenue at Christmas?

A: While the majority of planning for Christmas should have been done by August and activity begun in October, there are still a few last minute tips retailers can put in place to maximise sales in the last few weeks. Ensuring all products are listed in categories helps consumers easily find what they are after, while creating specific gift pages will help generate gift ideas.

Furthermore, 15 days before Christmas many consumers may still be looking to complete their shopping lists. This is a great time to send an email out offering free shipping or other deals to encourage last minute sales.

Q: As a retailer operating across a number of different platforms, seasonal events always put tremendous pressure on our inventory and business. What’s the best way to prepare for these seasonal peaks?

A: While Christmas is no doubt a busy period for retailers, January should be just as important. At the beginning of the year you should make time to review the past year and set objectives for 2012. In January you should plan for the whole year, taking into account all seasonal events. Only when you have this overview, can you make plans that encapsulate all seasonal peaks.

Q: As a smaller retailer, we do not have that much budget to spend on large marketing campaigns for all seasonal events. As a result, what would you say is the best marketing strategy for seasonal events?

A: Email marketing is increasingly neglected, however the value it can bring to seasonal marketing cannot be under-estimated. To maximise the effectiveness of email marketing, retailers should send out reminder emails 45 days before the seasonal event, send out any promotional or discount offers 30 days in advance, and then 15 days before the occasion send out an email offering free shipping or other deals to encourage last minute sales.

Q: When selling primarily on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, driving traffic to our products is quite difficult with so much competition, what’s the best way to do this?

A: Multi-channel selling is all about the customer and making products accessible wherever, whenever and however they want them. Providing a great user experience and customer service is the best way to drive and retain traffic. Steps to achieve this include creating FAQ, shipping and about us pages. These help to build credibility and allow the customer to make an informed decision. Similarly using small sentences and images helps to ensure the experience is a simple and engaging as possible. By using an e-commerce ERP solution such as eSellerPro you can remove the back-office worries and focus on what really matters – the customer.