It’s coming. The most wonderful time of the year. Also, the most revenue generating time of the year for many small businesses. A survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics revealed that consumer holiday spending is projected to increase by 3.4%, to an average of $967.13 in 2017.
We know how the holiday season has a way of sneaking up on you, so we’re providing these tips for ensuring your business enjoys a happy and prosperous holiday season this year.
Spend a little to make a lot.
Depending on your budget, it could be very worthwhile to invest in seasonal help. This way you make sure you can give your customers the best service because you’re not stretched too thin handling the tasks of 2 or 3 people.
Temporary, seasonal help will give you the opportunity to focus on the added activities of the season, while your employees assist with tasks such as answering calls, sharing on Facebook, restocking supplies and so on. Wouldn’t you rather invest temporarily in acquiring new, loyal customers, than risk getting a reputation for bad service or inadequate inventory?
Amp up your advertising.
Yes, amping up your advertising means spending more money. Or does it? You could spend more money and place more digital ads and send a direct mail piece or two. Consider the ROI of a direct mail campaign before you rule out the “front-end” expense. Or, if you’ve kept your customer and lead email lists clean, you could send a promotional email, which would cost you little or even nothing. You could also start a social media contest and get some sharing happening. And have you thought about those little buck slips that you could slip into your customers’ bags announcing a certain special sale on a certain day for certain loyal customers whose certain friend, if they bring one, can also get in on the sale?
It’s the holiday/shopping season. Boost your exposure to make sure you get your share.
Schedule your holiday sales. Now, move them two weeks sooner. And later.
Statistics show that people are shopping earlier and earlier for the holidays. RetailMeNot survey revealed that by November 1, 45% of consumers have starting their holiday shopping in the U.S.
Similarly, don’t miss the boat by not promoting after-holiday sales events. People wait for sales on inventory to purchase many items they’ve put off during the year.
E-commerce is your friend. And your customers’.
According to Deloitte, e-commerce sales may increase for the 2017 holiday season from 18 to 21%. And digital? Up by 14.3%.
Hopefully, you’ve been able to maintain your business website and you’re all set up for digital payment. E-commerce retail sales will represent 11.5% of all holiday retail sales. A big chunk of that comes by way of m-commerce by smartphone. (That’s a hint about making sure your site is mobile friendly.)
Consider your competitors.
Sometimes the best ideas for drumming up holiday business can be found by eyeing your competitors. If you noticed your competitors running a holiday special that worked for them last season, put your own spin on the same idea this year. There’s no shame in using a great idea to benefit your own business, but there could be some increased revenue! You can be sure that your competitors are watching you, too.
Use diversity to your advantage.
America is a country of diverse cultures. The holiday season encompasses not only Christmas and New Year, but Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, also. Appeal to diverse consumers by recognizing all the season’s holidays, not just one.
Create a memorable holiday shopping experience.
Consumer experience online and in your brick and mortar business is an oft-overlooked aspect of marketing. How consumer experiences your business will play into whether they become a loyal customer who shops with you all year through. Here are just a few suggestions:
In your business:
- Use ambient scents to evoke optimal emotions.
- Ensure your customers have enough space to move about.
- Be sure your lighting is sufficient.
- Use well-placed, clear signage.
- Keep your space clean.
- Make your products easy to find.
- Merchandise your products creatively.
- Check out should be uncluttered, fast, and friendly.
- Get mobile friendly A.S.A.P. If you are mobile-friendly, go to mobile-first.
- Make sure your website page load time is as fast as possible. Page abandonment hits 25% after 4 seconds and only gets worse.
- Use your home page to promote holiday specials and link to the products.
- A clear menu should be easy to see and use.
- Checkout should be seamless and fast.
- Checkout should collect key customer information for future marketing.
- Send purchase confirmation to an email address or provide the option to print a receipt.
The holiday season presents small businesses with a rich opportunity to not only bring in more sales but for increased exposure to the community. It’s also an opportunity to enrich your relationship with your customers through warm holiday engagement that lasts the year through.
If you need additional insights or help with your small business marketing this season or anytime, be sure to contact your local Valpak representative.