The holidays are just round the corner, and many small business owners are banking on this time of the year to end strongly and launch into the new year. While people are more generally inclined to shop during the holiday season, not all businesses benefit from this time when customers are less stringent with their wallets. The businesses that capitalize on the increased shopping activity are those that position themselves well, and the discussion below shares two strategies that can put your small business on track to reap the rewards of this holiday season.
They say that good luck is when opportunity meets someone who is prepared. The holiday season offers opportunities of increasing sales. How prepared are you? The following can help you to be prepared so that the holiday season comes with increased sales for your small business.
Order inventory in advance
If the Covid-19 period has taught the business world anything, it is that everything must be planned out and executed in advance. If you need inventory to sell during the holidays, order that inventory well in advance so that the supply chain issues, such as delayed delivery due to increased demand for shipping services, don’t affect your holiday sales plans.
It should be an “unforgiveable sin” for a customer to visit your website or brick and mortar outlet only to be told the product they need is out of stock. How will you even forgive yourself for letting a customer go simply because you didn’t have the foresight to order inventory in advance?
Analyze your customers
Today, there are plenty of automation tools that you can use to analyze your customers as you prepare for the holiday season. For example, Google has an analytics tool that you can link to your ecommerce site so that you get a report about customer demographics, buying patterns, best selling products, and so on.
Armed with this analysis, you can then confidently select the different techniques that you will use to boost sales during the holidays. For example, you will know which products to order more of in anticipation of increased sales, and you will know which target clients to focus upon while marketing your products during the festive season.
Be prepared for spikes in demand
Another important aspect of preparing to boost your sales during the holidays is by ensuring all your systems have the capacity to handle an above-normal load. Can your customer care team handle double or triple the calls they normally get? Can your website handle a 10x spike in online orders? Can the logistics company you use take a lot more deliveries to your clients in a timely manner?
It would be a shame if your website crashed just as lots of visitors were taking advantage of a short-time offer that you promoted! Create extra capacity in all your systems and avoid disappointments due to being overwhelmed.
Design your marketing plan
Today, there are lots of options to choose from as you design a marketing plan for the holiday season. For example, which channels do you plan to focus on; is it Instagram, Google ads, Facebook ads or YouTube? What promotional materials are you going to use; hardcopy/physical fliers, banners, or what?
Select the most appropriate promotional materials for your industry and get these ready before your targeted marketing gets underway.
Set a marketing budget
The ideal situation is to have an unlimited holiday season marketing budget, but this isn’t possible, especially for small businesses having lots of demands competing for the available resources.
You therefore have to set a realistic marketing budget that will deliver the desired ROI without starving other aspects of your business, such as paying suppliers and meeting your payroll needs.
Having a set budget will also help you to choose where to concentrate most of your resources. For example, if you discover that TikTok is good for attracting followers but Instagram performs better in converting visitors to buyers, the logical decision is to channel a little more resources to the platform which generates sales, and a little less to the platform that brings followers (who can later be converted into buyers). A firm budget helps to set priorities and stick to them.
Execute with maximum effectiveness
Of what use is laying out the best holiday season marketing plan and then keeping it for “future use”? After preparing as outlined above, get laser-focused on implementing what you have planned by doing the following;
Start early, end much later!
Who sets the rules about “the right time” to start your Christmas promotion? It is your business, and you set the rules. That said, start your campaign as early as possible so that you have a chance to make an impression before your target customers before competitors crowd the space and drown out your efforts.
Remember, your promotion isn’t just for what customers will use during the holidays. Rather, you want them to buy during the holidays. So, get your promotion rolling as early as possible and watch the sales roll in before your competitors get started!
You also don’t have to end your campaign when others are ending theirs; you are in charge, and your campaign can end weeks or even months after others have called it a day! It is your business, and you decide how long your promotion will last.
Create time-sensitive offers
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a strong sales driver, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t benefit from this natural tendency. Create time-sensitive offers in order to drive sales during the holiday season.
For example, if you are offering a 20% discount on one of your fastest moving products, bump up that discount to 30% or something like that for a limited time (a certain hour during the day, for example) and watch the orders pour in if you promoted that campaign adequately!
These time-limited offers can take different forms, and you can spice things up by adding a countdown timer on the landing page to get adrenaline running in your prospective buyers!
Create helpful gift guides and include products or services you sell
The holidays are characterized by quite a bit of stress and pressure as people scramble to buy gifts for this person and the other person at the last minute (in plenty of cases). How can you help out while at the same time boosting the sales of your business? Create helpful gift guides.
Gift guides offer customers suggestions about the right gifts to choose for different people, and those ideas are good for building authority and trust among customers. Ensure that your gift guides are super targeted so that they can be valuable. For example, you can write “a Christmas gift guide for 9-year-old hyperactive boys” and go ahead to make gift suggestions for that type of child. Site visitors are likely to know someone who fits that description and if you have just the right product that can be gifted to such a person, sales are likely to soar.
The practical steps that you can take to boost sales during holidays are nearly endless. The key to succeeding is to make maximum use of the preparation stage so that you narrow down your options (or even test lots of them in advance) so that only winners get implemented. What are you waiting for? Get to work and ensure your small business ends the year on a high note!
To Your Success,