Online shopping in the UK has increased dramatically over the past few years, as these figures from the office of National Statistics (ONS) at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/rsi/retail-sales/december-2014/sty-overview-of-internet-retail-sales-in-2014.html show. Whilst the figures for 2015 are not yet available, it is fair to assume that, if there was an overall increase of 11.8% from 2013 to 2014, then the increase for 2015 will be at least comparable.
In fact, online sales for the textile, clothing and footwear industry accounted for around 14% of total online shopping in 2014, making the increase in that sector closer to 17%. This being the case, it is understandable that businesses in that sector look at different methods of attracting online shoppers; special seasonal promotions can work in many situations.
Corgi Hosiery, a UK manufacturer specialising in luxury items such as cashmere socks and wraps, or personalised jumpers and monogrammed socks in gift packs, uses seasonal promotions in this way, with not only the normal Christmas special offers, but additional promotions for Valentine’s Day and other special occasions, when potential customers may be looking for something a little different as a present. More information on their range of British socks and other hosiery and clothing items can be found at http://www.corgihosiery.co.uk/.
Retailing catch names
A recent trend that has migrated from the United States is “Black Friday”, which falls in November on the day following Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday of November). It has become customary in the UK too for retailers to have special offers on this day – a custom that has had a mixed reception with some stores, with shoppers scrambling (or even fighting) for the best bargains.
One way of avoiding this physical scramble is to shop online and another retailing term “Cyber Monday” has emerged for the Monday after “Black Friday”, to encourage customers to shop online, with businesses extending special offers over the whole of the weekend.
The power of the “Unsubscribe” tab
One of the potentially annoying considerations when shopping online is to receive hosts of unwanted advertising e-mails after making a purchase and it is always worthwhile to check your order where there should (at least with reputable companies) be an option to unsubscribe from marketing e-mails.
In many cases, the boxes allowing marketing information, not just from the company from which you have just ordered but also partner organisations, have been ticked by default, which can have irritating results. If you have forgotten to make it clear that you don’t want marketing communications, it is usually possible to unsubscribe when you start receiving the e-mails.
Ploys to attract customers
Whilst many companies can rely on the quality of their products to continue to attract customers, there are a number of marketing ploys commonly used, including:
Implying that a product is in very short supply – (words like “last few remaining” or “when it’s gone, it’s gone”. Of course, it may be true that there is a shortage of a particular product, but it is not always the case.
“Closing down sale” banners were used by a local company for years. It was with some surprise that I noticed a few weeks ago that they had actually now closed down – or at least moved to new premises.
Using terms like “special preview”, “secret sale” or “privileged customers only” to whet the appetite and encourage customers to think they are having exclusive access to goods.
All in all, for online retailing, there is nothing that works as well as having a good website, with easy navigation and clear images and information, including details on how to order, backed up by a solid reputation for quality and customer service. A winning formula!
About the author: Having worked as a marketing specialist for a number of years, Glenda Wright has now become a freelance consultant and writer of relevant features, which she finds fits in better with family life.