With 20 to 40% of annual sales coming from the holiday season, most businesses fourth quarter is pretty important for their bottom line.
The leader of Small Business Saturday and Shop Small Team, Katie Washington shares 7 tips below to take advantage of the earning potential during the holiday season:
1. Create a stellar holiday marketing plan. Start by creating a detailed plan that includes a variety of marketing platforms such as print and online advertising, holiday store signage, direct mail, email marketing and social media. In addition, consider implementing some grassroots marketing strategies to inexpensively target customers in your community. For example, you can partner with other small businesses in your community to hand out coupons or flyers for one another, network at local chamber of commerce meetings (many of the members will be looking for holiday gifts for family members or clients), call VIP customers to personally invite them into the store, post on your town’s forum, post on local “mom blogs” and distribute store flyers in places such as a gym or supermarket.
2. Plan special holiday events. Store events are also a very effective way to drive more traffic to your store during the holiday season because they give customers a reason to shop during a specific time frame. One event you should add to your holiday event marketing plans this year is Small Business Saturday. This is a nationwide initiative on the day after Black Friday, November 30, that encourages consumers to go out and celebrate and support the local independent businesses that are a vital part of their communities.
3. Offer holiday deals and discounts. Consider running special product promotions throughout the holiday season to incentivize customers to come into the store and buy. Some stores even sell a few products during the holiday season at a loss, known as a “loss leader” to lure customers to the store because they know that once the customer is in they will typically buy more.
4. Hire ahead of the holiday rush. Most retailers agree that exceptional staffing is a key element in holiday sales success. If you need to beef up your team for the season, it’s important to start the hiring process as early as possible. Remember to execute a thorough training program for your entire sales team that includes customer service tactics, in-depth product information and tips on handling a large sales volume to get everyone ready and excited for the holiday rush.
5. Make sure you have enough inventory. It’s very challenging to stock just the right amount of inventory to ensure that you have a vast product selection with a mix of specialty items that holiday shoppers are searching for. Plan on doing a holiday inventory assessment to confirm that you have ordered enough across the different product categories to last throughout the season and hit your numbers. If you realize that you still have not ordered enough, it’s not too late to reach out to wholesalers to add to your holiday buying.
6. Use your store windows. Store windows are a powerful marketing vehicle to help you promote and sell specific holiday products. They also serve as great tool to help you attract more customers into the store. Make sure your windows create visual impact, are well lit, have strong signage and that you use vertical and horizontal space to tell your merchandising story.
7. Promote holiday gift cards and gift certificates. There is a lot of research that shows that holiday gift card giving is on the rise. Make sure that your store is top of mind with customers who want to purchase a gift card rather than a specific gift. Promote your store gift cards in all of your marketing efforts. In addition, you might also consider giving a small gift card to buyers who spend over a certain amount in your store during the holiday season.
By utilizing the 7 tips above you should be able to create the opportunity to make this holiday season a record for any previous year.
Have you had ay of these steps not work out for you the way they should and why?