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Shipping and Payment Options

Holiday Online Marketing

Provide Options for the Credit-Challenged
If your merchandise revolves around Rolex or Louis Vuitton you can blithely ignore economic realities, but for most e-tailers it is important to craft holiday email marketing campaigns with an eye to the dire financial straits of an unprecedented number of American families. More than a quarter of all consumers no longer have credit cards, so promoting alternative forms of payment such as debit cards or PayPal can help you capture this "lost generation." Layaway is swiftly regaining popularity as some e-tailers find that offering some form of prolonged payment plan can help consumers with low income or low credit scores to purchase their products and services.
Ship, Ship, Hurray!
Shipping plays an important role in any holiday marketing and has long presented an obstacle to low invoice amount sales. Consumers will not pay $20 to obtain a $10 item, so unless it can be bundled into a larger order, lower value items continue to not be a factor in online holiday sales. Many e-tailers find that free shipping programs can be a powerful incentive to selling tangible products, as long as the courier or postal costs can be adequately absorbed into the margin of the overall sale.

There are alternatives to free shipping offers, which can also motivate consumers. Allowing your email subscribers and social media followers to set a delivery date in the future can assist them in shopping early. E-tailers with widespread brick & mortar networks have found considerable success in offering in-store pickup. Not only are all shipping costs to the consumer's residence eliminated, but it can also help boost sales during the famous last minute holiday rush for the considerable number of consumers who procrastinate their gift purchases until just a day or two before D-Day and have fallen out of the feasible shipping window.

Consistency is imperative in your shipping option offerings. Consumers will be confused if you offer free shipping on Cyber Weekend but then not again until the second weekend of December. If you're going to take the plunge into a specific shipping strategy, it is best to implement it right across your online holiday marketing rather than forcing your subscriber or follower to hopscotch dates in order to obtain the best shipping deal.