Online retail? Yes it works

Gerry – in fact all website owners – use a promo to get more sales now. CHRIS THOMAS

Chris Thomas

By Chris Thomas

OK, before I start I just want to go through my two cents in on the Gerry Harvey debate.

Look, he has a point. When you’re turning over $2.5 billion in sales per year offline, I guess online retail does seem a little lame. I imagine too that when he was in charge of Rebel Sport back in 2006 (which has quite possibly one of the lamest shopping carts in Australia) online retail wasn’t exactly setting his world on fire!

Certainly what he could be doing to leverage more from his website is adding online coupons for various products that people can print out and take in to a store to redeem.

When you don’t actually sell anything online and just show a product catalogue/sample inventory list (as is the case with Harvey Norman’s site) it’s one way to help assess the effectiveness of your website. Right now, they probably have no clue as to whether people who look at the site actually go into the store to buy.

Promo codes are similar to coupons, except they work online and they can be enormously powerful. Especially at this time of year.

Now’s the time to be marketing to your customer database. Let’s face it, the Christmas dollar will be spent more cautiously this year, and you need to grab your share by the scruff.

So why not try a promo code to really get things moving along “sales wise” this Christmas?

The caveat here is that you’ll need some method of redeeming them. If you’ve got a decent shopping cart, then it’ll probably have a “promo code” field.

Promo codes allow your customers to take advantage of special offers or deals, and are a great way to reward your customers for their loyalty and support.

So now’s the time to create a promo code “promotion” and get in touch with your customers with a seasonal offer too good to pass up!

Remember to create a time limit on your promotion to initiate action: “One Day Only”, “One Week Only”, “Today Only”! (by-the-by, Daily Deals creates a nice sense of urgency with their “Today’s Deal” tag against each product – this has nothing to do with promo codes, it’s just a good example of how to create urgency around your offer).

I’ve seen promo codes used in all sorts of other creative ways, from revealing secret pages on a site to enticing new prospects with an offer.

So try and utilise coupons or promo codes this Christmas. Every website owner can do it!

Speaking of promo codes, I’ll be speaking at the Search Engine Bootcamp in Melbourne next Thursday 4 December and I’m delighted to be able to offer SmartCompany readers a 2-for-the-price-of-1 offer.

If you’re into DIY SEO or just weant to learn more about the latest on SEO and PPC then you should attend. Please click here to register and use the promo code “SmartCompany”. Note: it’s only available today (Friday 28 November). Thanks go to Barry Smyth who organises the event for the offer.


Chris Thomas heads Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

For more Online Sales blogs, click here.



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