Buy Now, Pay Later
Another popular option is that of deferring payment with services such as BillMeLater
. Using this, a shopper goes
through a quick approval process (you have to provide the last four
digits of your Social Security number, as well as your birthday) and
payment is collected at some point in the future, said Vince Talbert,
the company's vice president of marketing. Integration is fairly
straight forward and requires a merchant account. There are a number of
other similarly formatted payment options, as well.
Five Tips for Tough Times
Finally, Lauren Freedman, head of the e-tailing group, inc.
, echoed what others believe to be successful strategies for capitalizing on a down economy, and adds her own insight. Here is what she considers the top five ways to keep your business afloat in these
tough economic times.
- The right assortment. Regardless of how cheap your merchandise is,
it still has to be of value to the consumer. Freedman notes, "At the
end of the day, retail comes down to product."
- Free shipping. While much has been said about whether or not free shipping is prudent for small Web shop owners, Freedman said that she doesn't expect to see any
change in respect to consumer expectation on this topic, forcing the hold-outs to cave in and join the competition. "We expect that merchants
will lay down the gauntlet in early fall and many others will quickly
follow suit." The holidays always see increased shipping offers, and
that will likely occur again this year. Free shipping is an effective
tactic, she said, coupled with nearly any promotion.
- Give the lady what she wants. Freedman emphasized that top-notch
customer service is something e-tailers must not take lightly.
"Customers expect and elevated shopping experience online." Offer a
visible 800-number and a strong guarantee at the very least.
- Creative promotions. Put on your thinking cap and cook up some
out-of-the-box promotions. A well-stocked outlet, Freedman said, is
perfect for customers on the hunt for a deal. Include daily specials,
as well as recently discounted items. Drive traffic toward it with
- E-mail. Freedman said that communication is of utmost importance.
Merchants must convey new products and services throughout the fourth
quarter. Think creatively while compiling messages and feature
in-product stock. As the holiday season draws ever nearer, she said,
focus on last-minute items and tailor promotions toward the busy
In addition, Freedman referenced a recent study her group conducted
regarding must-have features for facilitating shopping and increasing
order size. Among the tactics that merchants have seen the highest
return on investment are keyword searches, cross sales, seasonal
promotions, "top sellers" and "what's new" features.
Sally Marek Curran is a frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com.
This article was first published on ECommerce-Guide.com.