The winter holiday sales season is just around the corner. Are you ready?
About 15 years ago, I learned the power of online shopping when I worked as an editor for a regional book publishing company. To promote the books, I relied on traditional marketing tactics, working directly with bookstores. In addition to taking out a few ads in regional magazines, I, usually along with the author, traveled throughout North Carolina for signings and readings. It was a time-intensive process for small gains. Typically, we would sell about 10 books at each stop. While it was fun and rewarding, it didn’t pay the travel costs.
On the advice of a book distributor (and against her own best interest), I submitted books to Amazon. After all, it was a burgeoning online bookseller from which I ordered my own books, but I wasn’t sure how well a regional book would sell online. At the time, the publishing industry was — and still is — undergoing profound disruption because of the growing stiff competition from the internet. (Sound familiar?)
The results were more phenomenal than I ever expected. Book sales rose significantly, and, even sweeter, brick-and-mortar bookstores invited us to more signings.
I realize peddling books is very different from selling sleep products, but the parallels between a bookseller and a sleep products retailer in an increasingly digital world are closer than you might think.
This issue’s cover story by Sleep Savvy contributor Julie A. Palm about Cyber Monday — one of the biggest online shopping days of the year — illustrates that, even though the way consumers shop has changed radically over the past 15 years, the fundamentals of sales have remained the same.
First, during the winter holiday sales season, visibility is more critical than the rest of the year in attracting consumers — whether online or in a physical store. Obviously, the lines between the two are blurring more and more every day, and the advertising noise escalates in November and December.
Second, while books are common holiday gifts, why shouldn’t bedding products be, too? Palm writes: “There’s no reason bedding retailers can’t claim their share of winter holiday sales, and even a sliver is significant.” It’s understandable if a customer doesn’t feel comfortable giving a mattress to a loved one, but pillows, protectors and sheets make the perfect present. (Who doesn’t love new, crisp sheets?) These products sell well online and in-store. Develop an advertising plan that conveys that message.
Finally, make sure your house is in order. As Palm points out, freshen up your website to make it current, enticing and easy to navigate. Offer promotions and discounts that don’t decimate your bottom line. And maintain a clean, attractive store, especially for those click-and-collect shoppers.
Let me know about your Cyber Monday sales. I’d love to hear from you. Who knows? Maybe someone will publish a book about your success.