8 Easy ways to gear up for holiday shopping season
The last two holiday seasons looked very different from previous years, and this one will likely look different too. How can small business owners adjust to this 'new normal' and maximize their sales this holiday season? Here are some ideas.
1. Meet your customers where they are
Some holiday shoppers are happy to go back to the mall, while others are more cautious. You probably made some changes to your business model to accommodate the pandemic – curbside pickup or delivery, for example – so consider keeping those going for customers who may want to use them.
2. Combine forces with other businesses
If there are other businesses that serve the same clientele that you do, consider joining with them for promotional activities or a special event. You could offer complementary products in a bundle or provide a discount for shoppers who go to each store. If the businesses are geographically close, you could host a holiday shopping event together.
3. Extended hours and private shopping events
Consider staying open later in the evenings during the busy holiday shopping season. If your business lends itself to doing so, you may want to host a private shopping event for your top-tier customers. Open your store by invitation only, serve refreshments, and help your regular customers get their holiday shopping wrapped up in style.
4. Make gift-giving as easy as possible
There are lots of ways to make choosing and buying the perfect gift easy and quick, even for those who don’t really like to shop. Gift cards are always a quick solution, especially for procrastinators. Put yours in a box with a bow on it so it feels more like a present. Bundle products together in a gift basket or bag for an elaborate-looking gift that’s ready to go. Offer gift-wrapping services, or pre-wrap popular items for shoppers to just grab and go.
5. Have a flash sale
If you find yourself in mid-December with a big gap between your sales and your goals, a flash sale may be in order. Choose a few of your most popular items – or those you really want to move – and put them on sale for one day, or even just a few hours. Promote the sale on social media and in your brick-and-mortar location if you have one.
6. Promote everything on social
Keep your social media platforms working hard for you during the holiday season. Post gift ideas, promotions, events, store hours – anything that will catch the eye of your customer.
7. Promote Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving – in 2022, it’s November 26. American Express has been promoting Small Business Saturday since 2010 to bring attention to small, local businesses, and to encourage consumers to ‘Shop Small.’ Many small businesses offer special promotions on this day, similar to the ‘Black Friday’ sales that happen at the mall on the day prior.
8. Send a holiday greeting – for Thanksgiving
Getting out in front of your customers for the all-important holiday shopping season is critical, but it’s a crowded field out there. If you wait to send a ‘Happy Holidays!’ greeting in mid-December, you may have missed your opportunity. But the holiday shopping season starts in earnest right after Thanksgiving, so a Thanksgiving message may be just the thing. It gives you the opportunity to express your gratitude to your customers and also to get in front of them just as they’re starting to think about holiday shopping.
Some of these ideas to boost your holiday sales may apply to you, while others will not. But even if they don’t, they may help get you thinking outside the box for ways you can bring in some extra business before the end of the year.