Sell More By Adding Variety

People buy more jelly beans when they’re offered an assortment of colors. This is true even if all the jelly beans taste the same. In experiments involving thousands of consumers, researchers at several major universities concluded that the more choices shoppers have, the more they buy.

Sometimes buying a product is difficult because of the variety of models–with options, add-on items, and services–the customer must choose from in order to obtain a complete solution. Promotional materials for these products must present the choices clearly and take advantage of opportunities for cross-selling and unselling.

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Preparing Your Small Retail Business For The Holidays

Years ago I owned two small retail businesses. I was very young and had little retail sales experience. I wish I had someone who could have spoke into me at the time who could have helped me be much more prepared than I was for the holiday season. We weren’t staffed properly, we didn’t have enough inventory – and so much more. Each year at this time I always think about those times and reflect about what I “could” have done.

Don’t get caught thinking what you should have done, but instead take action now. Here’s how to make the most of the season:


Prepare for the rush

For many retailers, November and December offer their busiest period. Make sure you are prepared for a potential flurry of extra shoppers by training staff members on how to manage the rush. Emphasizing exceptional customer service can make a big difference to stressed-out holiday shoppers. If you don’t think your current staff will be enough, consider taking on temporary help.

Ecommerce retailers should make sure their websites are in tip-top shape, with user-friendly features, clearly explained purchase policies and any special promotions featured prominently.

Promote the holiday spirit

This can be as easy as applying a seasonal theme to your website or putting up decorations in your bricks-and-mortar store. It can also involve giving away free candy canes with every purchase or arranging for staff to wear Santa hats. Encouraging a holiday spirit will help nudge people into opening their pocketbooks, boosting the numbers recorded by your accounting software.

Adjust your marketing approach

Get people ready for the holiday season – and let them know you’re ready – through marketing. This could involve taking out ads in the local newspaper or utilizing special holiday circulars or flyers.

If you have a budget for SEO marketing, begin thinking about how consumers’ search terms may change over the holiday season and adjust your efforts accordingly for higher conversions. If you send out an email newsletter to customers, endow them with a gift-giving theme, such as “top 10 presents for dad.” Include customer testimonials for maximum effect.

Remind people of your business by distributing holiday-themed promotional items featuring your name and logo, such as a calendar for the coming year or an inexpensive Christmas tree ornament.


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Creating Loyalty with Your Customers

I often get asked from small businesses what are some unique ways to get marketing exposure. I’m surprised when I go through a list of questions with them to learn things they aren’t doing. The biggest thing that I find is that many small businesses don’t properly handle data management with their current customers.

Your current and past customers are some of your best, and most loyal customers. You might be saying “But they’ve all ready bought from me”…….. Exactly! They’ve all ready purchased something from you, or used your services. Because of that, they’re most likely to either do business with you again, or tell someone else about you (both good and bad).

Staying connected to your customers creates a loyal relationship that money can’t buy. The more you stay connected to your customers, the more they know and are familiar with you. Studies show that the more we (as consumers) are familiar with a product or company, the more likely we are to buy, do business with, and share our positive results we friends and families.

There’s a multitude of ways to connect with customers…… email marketing, social media, loyalty based invectives, promotions etc. Start today by making a plan to connect with your customers on a consistent basis. Do your research, ask questions, and don’t be afraid. After you make a plan, begin to execute it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so start small. You’ll create loyalty that will have your customers coming back to you for years to come!

Make Promotional Offers Make Since

I went to the mall with my wife recently to do a little Christmas shopping. I was amazed at some of the promotional offers that some of the stores where giving out. It was quite amazing actually. But then there were also stores that had promotions that were weak. Some of their offers were 10% off. 10%? really? Why bother. If you’re going to have a promotional offer, then have a promotional offer. If your offer is weak, then you’re better of by not providing one at all. You maintain better perceived value when you hold to the actual cost of something, than to have a Meaningless romotional offer. Most consumers look at weak promotional offers as insults. They take a “Do you think I’m stupid” approach.

The lesson here is this…… When you design a promotional offer, make sure it makes since. Don’t just have an offer to have one. Maybe you need to move some slow merchandise. Then sell them at cost with a purchase of a certain amount. Whatever the offer is, make it count. Don’t insult customers, especially new ones.