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Holiday Marketing Ideas

And so it begins with Target announcing that it'll open its stores at midnight on November 25 (Black Friday).

Maybe you're just a small business or sole proprietor with limited shelf and store footprint, or you have an online business that's just starting up. Here are a few thoughts about making the upcoming shopping season the best experience for your customers:

Ease of use - make it easy and simple for customers to get in contact with you (telephone, email, Skype, Twitter, Facebook) or to shop at your store; make the research of the product with your online storefront easy to read on multiple formats (this means, no heavy use of graphics or Flash presentations); and add the personal touch of having a live person responding to these inquiries.

Comparable benefits - if you can't match or beat a competitor's low pricing or free shipping offers, then the next best alternative is to have better qualitative benefits such as superior customer service, faster turnaround times (from ordering to delivery), or alternative methods of shipping (maybe time isn't that big of a factor just as long as it gets to its destination within a reasonable amount of time; there is however, a big difference in shipping costs between FedEx, UPS, and USPS).

Get and respond to feedback whether it's positive or negative - Publishing a customer satisfaction survey link using Google Spreadsheet Forms or SurveyMonkey are a cost-effective way of capturing things you want to know about your products and the consumers that use them. You can use a free URL shortener like bit.ly or tinyurl to save on character printing space. Bit.ly even allows you to make custom urls if you have an account with them, for example: http://bit.ly/mktgurlblog

Final note:

Take industry revenue estimates with a grain of salt before comparing the potential of its impact to your niche market. In 2005, Forrester Research estimated that online retail sales would grow from $172 billion in 2005 to $329 billion in 2010. Then, in 2010, Forrester Research suggested that US online retail sales would grow by an average of 10% per year until 2014 from $172 billion to $248 billion. However, the US Commerce Department reported that 2010 e-retail sales in the US to be $165.4 billion. 

ComScore draws on online purchase data from its panel of about 1 million U.S. online shoppers. Commerce Department estimates are based on a quarterly survey of more than 11,000 U.S. merchants.
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