Is Selling Christmas Trees on the Web a Good Idea?

December 1st, 2005 by Bob Bly

So far, it seems not.

Mark Host, a recent Fordham University graduate, launched www.nycxmas.com to sell Christmas trees online with $20,000 of his own savings and a $10,000 loan from his dad.

To date, he has sold only five trees.

But as an article about Mark in the 12/1/05 issue of the Daily News notes, most people don?t buy their tree until mid-December.

So it?s too early to say whether the business will work.

Now, many of the readers of this blog are Internet marketers, so let me ask you guys:

What advice do you have for Mark to make his Internet-based Xmas tree business a smash success?

And what can he do with the site to make money on the off season ? which for Xmas trees is every month of the year except December?

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2005 at 2:28 pm and is filed under Online Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

21 responses about “Is Selling Christmas Trees on the Web a Good Idea?”

  1. Mike Duffy said:

    Two questions which need to be addressed before a good answer can be made:

    1. What distinguishes buying a tree from Mark vs. schlepping down to the local street vendor? As Seth Godin would say, “What’s the story?”

    2. How is he driving awareness of his site? Seems he needs some “offline” marketing (such as PR) as well.

    It seems that buying a tree is a very “hands-on” experience (my wife wants to be sure there aren’t gaping holes and it’s not too tall). These issues need to be addressed as well.

  2. Mike Duffy said:

    Having looked at the site, let me add that there’s nothing compelling “above the fold” (the most compelling selling point is “delivery, assembly, removal”). The copy doesn’t make a call to action (you can probably help him out there more than I, Bob).

  3. J. Lance said:

    I didn’t venture so far as to even visit the site as my immediate response was one of being alienated as a potential client. Perhaps the largest turn-off for me is effectively “x”-ing out the very meaning of Christmas – Christ. “X-mas,” along with any other shorthand abbreviations for Christmas serve to alienate a potential client base by demonstrating neglect for the sanctity of the season.

    Attention to detail, it appears, parallels the saavy Mark Host’s business plan. I hope Fordham University isn’t professionally backing Mr. Host…

    Criticisms aside, kudos to Mark for stepping up to the plate and taking the Entreprenurial plunge!

  4. scott libby said:

    Hello, I’m looking into starting a similar business in the Boston, Northern northeast region. I own a landscaping business, greenhouse and do taxes in the off season to augment my annual income, also bartend in Boston. Check out my current landscaping website http://www.libbyslandscaping.com I’ll post updates there if I end up doing it.
    Also I agree with the last poster “xmas” sounds cheep… although it is not a defimation, as explained in my high school history class, X is the greek letter for “Chi” pronounced k-I. So this makes it chimas I guess.

  5. Michael said:

    Wow. You guys are harsh. Who cares whether it says “Xmas” or not? It’s shorthand. It’s a business, not a church. Lighten up, and buy a tree from this kid — he does a great job and has CHEAP prices. The last poster, I’m afraid, while has strong opinions, does not know how to spell.

  6. Leopold O'Donnell said:

    Location – Location – Location

    The web has proven to be a great place for commerce and the exchange of ideas. Having said this it is also a great place for bad ideas.

    It doesn’t matter how you spell it, your average family is not going to be looking on-line for a Christmas/Xmas tree / Chanukah-bush.

    This is a lesson to all entrepreneurs out there to research their market a little more deeply and determine which of the many marketing channels is the most effective.

    Neither good copy or design is going to save this one; there’s just no “foot traffic” on the web for purchasing Christmas trees. Maybe there’s a B2B angle, but I doubt it.

    I’m sorry this fella has lost money on this venture. For every good idea there are dozens of bad ones – keep plugging.

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