Christmas is that golden time of the year for many entrepreneurs. While people doing business in the traditional brick and mortar style have mastered the art of Christmas sales, implementing many Christmas business ideas, and eventually bringing in big profits in a span of just a couple of weeks, their online friends tend to completely overlook the possibilities.
Day-in and day-out more and more people prefer shopping online to physically going to a store and wasting significant amounts of time standing in queues. While this physical-to-virtual shift is changing the landscape for entrepreneurs someof customers still remain the same.
One habit I’m talking about in particular is simply the habit of doing really big shopping before Christmas. Yet now, a big part of it is done online. And this creates some great opportunities for you and your online business.
Doesn’t matter what you sell
I know that the scope of online businesses is massive. You can be selling everything from big and heavy physical products to purely virtual information products, or downloadable software. Not even mentioning all kinds of services you can offer (also ranging from ones that require some physical work to things like online consultancy over Skype).
No matter what you’re selling you can successfully capitalize on the Christmas craze. People are just more likely to buy in that time of the year. My opinion is that years and years of consumer lifestyle have imprinted this behavior in us. Each year we simply feel that some money needs to be spent.
If you’ve been on the market for a while and have been selling your products or services for a number of months successfully then I’m sure you can increase the numbers and sell even more in the Christmas time.
It’s difficult to predict anything for new businesses though. If you’ve been around only for several weeks and don’t yet have a steady level of income and profits then your Christmas performance can depend on many factors, and the results may vary.
Before I show you my Christmas business ideas let me just quickly explain …
The #1 reason why Christmas offers work
There’s just one main factor – scarcity. Whatever you offer people see that it’s just a “Black Friday offer” or a “Christmas offer”, so they know that the offer will disappear soon, and if they want to take advantage of it they have to act now.
Limited time is just one element of scarcity, there’s also the other one – limited supply.
Customers realize that every offer is limited by supply. If they are in Walmart looking at a big plasma TV with a great price tag on it they know that Walmart does not have an unlimited supply of TVs.
Christmas is a superb excuse to show scarcity that is both limited by time and (naturally) by supply.
5 Christmas business ideas for online entrepreneurs
1. Sales and bargains
People love those all throughout the year, but additionally, they also feel that Christmas season is the time of the biggest sales and bargains. You’ve been there too, just recall the last Black Friday. Some offers in the major retails store on that day are just insane.
This year it’s time to participate not only as a customer but also as an entrepreneur. If you already have a product base on the market then you know what margins work for you, and how many products you have to sell to be profitable.
You can use this knowledge in your Black Friday and Christmas sale. If you’ve never tried it before you should consider lowering your margins so you can sell more items, and, in the end, bring in a bigger profit anyway. This works really well for many entrepreneurs because again, people buy a lot during the Christmas season, and they actually expect to see a sale.
This is really easy to do for an online entrepreneur because tweaking your website to showcase the sale is a lot easier and a lot cheaper than rearranging an actual real life store.
You can start by choosing two or three products, lowering their price and placing them on display so every visitor to your site can see the sale. You can also use scarcity and say upfront how many items are available.
In this case scarcity is both good for increasing customer response and it’s your protection against selling some too many items than you can handle.
2. Packages and bundles
This is an approach in which you can leave the price intact and make the offer interesting by including bonuses.
This can be very easy to do for everyone selling information products, software, or anything where the development price of a single item is the same as a 1000 items.
By bundling a couple of products together you can create a really attractive offer. If you combine it with scarcity it may just become impossible to resist for your customer base. Especially if you’re marketing to a list of existing customers who know/remember what the previous prices of those products were.
For physical products it may be a little more difficult and you probably won’t be able to leave the price intact. In most cases you’ll be forced into presenting a bigger price tag but it still has to be smaller than it would be if someone were to buy each product individually.
The rules of presenting such an offer on your website are the same. Make sure that it’s clearly visible and that the content of the bundle is clear. Also, the amount of money saved by buying the bundle is probably the most important information for a customer, so make sure to focus on this element.
3. Good products for a gift
Continuing this list of Christmas business ideas let’s talk about two sides of Christmas shopping. We buy stuff either for ourselves or for someone else. While the former is relatively easy (we usually know exactly what we want), the latter can be a difficult task (cause we never know what other person wants).
As an online entrepreneur you have to spend some time on deciding what products might work well as gifts. Sometimes you’ll have to create/make/order new ones.
Generally, the most basic, simple, broad, and general purpose products in your niche work best.
Let me just give you an example. If you have an online store selling computers and computer parts then such general purpose products are things like: keyboards, computer mice, external disks, etc.
The goal here is to find something that is likely to be appreciated by your typical customer’s profile.
This may not be easy for information. Convincing someone to buy an information product as a gift for someone else might be hard, but it all depends on the niche, so trying your best is still worth the effort.
This brings me to my next point.
4. Gift cards
This is an easy way out for everyone who has absolutely no idea what to buy for a gift.
Gift cards are extremely easy to create when it comes to online shopping carts. In most of the cases your shopping cart software already provides the possibility of creating gift cards (or gift codes).
An online gift card works on a very simple principle. The receiver of the card gets a unique code (a sequence of numbers and letters) which they can enter somewhere inside the checkout process, so they get the selected products for free or with a big discount.
The most common approach is to create gift codes for specific amounts of money (like $50 or $100 being probably the most popular ones), and then to display them as a separate product in your offer.
One more trick is to sell the codes with a discount. So for example, you could offer a $50 gift code for $48, and a $100 code for $92. That way the customers have yet another reason for making the move.
5. Leading with one extra cheap item
This technique has been mastered by countless traditional stores. The principle is simple. You select a product, a popular one, and significantly lower its price to the point where it becomes a brain-dead-must-buy offer.
Sometimes you can even go to a point where you offer the product at a price beneath its profitability level … if you feel brave enough.
The idea is to attract people with this offer, and bring them to your site (surely, some advertising helps with that). Once they’ve entered your online door they will inevitably see a number of other products they can buy, which hopefully, they will.
So in the end, you’re not making much money (or no at all) with your leading product, but you are making money on other offers. That being said, this is probably a possible approach for entrepreneurs who have been present in their niches for a while now – so they can predict the possible response to some extent.
Again, doing this online is very simple. You need to make sure that your leading product is properly displayed and that surrounding products are somewhat similar and equally useful to the buyer. Since you have full power over your site, doing this shouldn’t be difficult.
That’s it for the 5 ideas. This post is probably too long anyway, so it’s time to end. However, feel free to comment, share your opinion, and your own thoughts about possible Christmas business ideas and strategies for online entrepreneurs.