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.