International sales – newbie or seasoned pro?
We’ve put together a list of ten small but effective things you can still do in the run-up to Christmas to ensure you get the most out of this busy time of year.
1. Make your delivery information visible
Customers always want information fast, but when the Christmas rush is on your site visitors can become even more impatient. One of the biggest questions involved in purchasing anything online over the festive season is: will it arrive in time for Christmas?
A large banner on the homepage or handy info box on your product listings pages gives your customer the key information they need – without them having to hunt it down. This also helps you capitalise on the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), by incentivising customers to make a purchase before they miss their chance to get it in time.
2. Create an offer that encourages repeat custom
You can take steps now to drum up business in the New Year by offering those who make a pre-Christmas purchase an exclusive discount for use in January. This increases your pre-Christmas sales and will also help to give your cash flow a boost at the start of 2018.
3. Put your contact details somewhere obvious
Shoppers have a lot of questions during the Christmas period, so you need to make sure they know how to get in touch with you. If a customer can’t resolve their issues or concerns, they’ll likely go somewhere else instead.
You need to make sure your contact details are in a prominent place so that a customer with a problem can’t help but notice them.
4. Improve your ‘about’ page
You may see a last minute spike in traffic as shoppers look around for those final few gifts – or their entire present hoard if they’re particularly disorganised. You need to make sure that new customers feel confident buying from you.
Your ‘about’ page will go a long way to building that trust. Make sure you’re communicating your brand values and stressing your key selling points. Remember: an about page isn’t just your story, it’s why you are the right business for them to shop with.
5. Run a last-minute email campaign
There’s still time to put together a newsletter, create a special offer, and entice your subscribers to buy. Your email newsletter is where you’ll find some of your most loyal customers – many of whom may even be expecting such perks around this time of year.
6. Automate your foreign exchange needs
With the increased demands on your time and resources over the Christmas period, the last thing you want to be worrying about is money and repatriating the earnings from international sales. If you use an overseas collection account and are manually withdrawing deposits, you’re wasting time that, in the festive season, could be better spent elsewhere.
So why not free yourself up by automating these withdrawals? Our collection accounts offer different ways of getting hold of your funds. You can choose to have every payment repatriated home as soon as it lands in your account, or have a transfer triggered only when the account balance reaches a certain amount.
7. Prepare for sales on Christmas Day
Christmas is a time for family; for spending time in the company of those you love and cherish – or at least, it used to be. Now, apparently, it’s a time for spending your cash gifts.
Over half of all Christmas Day purchases are from customers buying for themselves. Ten percent of those sales are people buying something they wanted as a gift but didn’t get, while 5% of 18-24 years olds buy something that they have seen someone else showing off on social media.
8. Tweak your returns policy
A flexible returns policy can be a big incentive for customers to buy from you, so think about whether you can change the terms to make them more favourable. Can you extend your returns deadline, for instance? A lot of retailers do this, as they know that the product needs to be given to the recipient and for them to get around to sending it back if they don’t like it.
9. Check the weather forecast
Adverse weather conditions can affect delivery times. While this may not be your fault, it helps to manage your customers’ expectations if you display some kind of update on your website, social media and email newsletter should the weather delay your chosen delivery networks.
10. Protect against currency risk by securing favourable exchange rates
Fluctuating exchange rates can cause havoc to your bottom line by taking a chunk out of your profits or inflating your costs. Use tools such as forward contracts to pin a strong exchange rate in place and use it up to a year in the future. A stop loss order triggers an automatic transfer should the markets weaken to a specified level, while a limit order does the same thing but when the market strengthens to the target rate.
All these tools are useful for budgeting and improving cash flow visibility.
Give yourself the gift of more sales this Christmas
Put these ten suggestions into practice and you’ll increase the value you get out of the lucrative Christmas period. From better managing your cash flow to incentivising business at the beginning of the New Year, each will make your Christmas that little bit more special.