The holiday season can boost your business not just for the next couple of months but year-round. As a growing number of individuals purchase your products (or receive them as gifts), word will spread about who you are and what you have to offer. You should also see an uptick in positive product reviews; these boost trust in your business as people who aren’t familiar with your company will see that you offer good products/services at a good price.
If you feel unprepared for the holiday season, these tips are for you. These pointers can help you showcase your business in the best possible light during this all-important time of the year. What’s more, they can also boost employee morale and help you avoid common hassles and problems that arise during this time of the year.
If you feel you are fully prepared for the holiday season, all power to you! Even so, don’t skip over the tips below, as they can inspire you with new ideas and better ways of doing business. There’s something for everyone, and you can easily tweak or adapt these ideas to meet your needs.
- Put Your Brand in Holiday Mode
Customers expect to see your business enter “holiday mode” as soon as Halloween is over. If you haven’t decorated your store or office for the season, now is the time to do so. Your style of decor should be in line with your products and appeal to your target audience. If you have children coming into your store, choose decorative items that are safe and can’t be ruined by little hands.
Even online stores can (and should) get in on the action. Adapt your logo to give it a “festive feel” while retaining the original design that helps customers recognize your brand.
Tweak your website template or, if you use WordPress, consider installing the Super Snow plugin. Don’t forget to adjust your social media profiles as well. Add a Santa hat to your profile image and/or update your Facebook or Instagram cover picture. Be sure to add plenty of holiday-themed posts with visuals that will bring out the holiday spirit in those who come across your social media channels.
- Order Inventory Early
Is there anything you need that you haven’t ordered yet? If so, order it now. The Transportation Secretary is warning that the current supply chain problems are going to be around for some time, and stores are already having a hard time filling orders in full.
What’s more, businesses aren’t the only ones concerned about shortages of in-demand products. Shoppers are too, and many are doing their shopping early in order to find what they need or want with relative ease. Stocking products early can help you generate sales while giving customers a positive impression of your company’s efficiency in meeting client demand.
Maybe the items you sell, or the items you need in order to produce your products, aren’t in short supply. Even so, ordering needed items early is a wise idea. There is a shortage of truckers, which means it could take longer than normal to receive your orders even if you are ordering items that are readily available.
- Organize Staff Schedules
Do you have enough employees to handle the heavy holiday workload? If not, you’ll need to find more part-time employees or temp workers who can handle tasks such as stocking shelves, manning the cash register, handling customer service calls, filling online orders, keeping track of inventory, etc. Start advertising for needed workers now. Many businesses are having a difficult time finding workers, and you don’t want to be scrambling for personnel at the last minute.
Now is also a good time to organize your staff schedule. Each person who works for you should know their work hours. Ask your employees if they have special requests regarding time off, and work these into your schedule as best you can. Be clear about opening and closing hours, so everyone knows what to expect.
Additionally, it’s wise to have a backup plan if something goes wrong with your original schedule. You don’t want your entire business to be disrupted if one or two employees get sick or have to deal with a family emergency. Make a list of temp employees you can call on to take extra work, or make space in your own schedule to handle extra jobs if the need arises.
- Choose Your Promotional Offers
It’s customary for stores to offer holiday discounts and promotional packages. However, that doesn’t mean you should do what you’ve always done. If you’re having a hard time ordering products, and/or inflation is already taking a bite out of your profits, you may want to avoid promotions to ensure your business can turn a profit on holiday sales. Alternatively, you may opt to scale back promotional offers while still providing holiday discounts and/or freebies. After all, customers are accustomed to seeing special deals at this time of the year and may opt to shop elsewhere if they feel you aren’t joining in on the holiday spirit.
If you do decide to offer one or more promotions, you’ll need to decide what you will offer and when you will offer it. An “early bird” shopping discount can be ideal if you want people to start coming to your store right away. On the other hand, some people prefer to wait until the last minute to shop, so a “last minute” shopping deal could also be a good option. The latter strategy is a good idea if you have items you need to clear from your inventory in order to make room for new products in the coming year.
Another idea would be to offer a different deal each week to appeal to a wide range of potential customers. This strategy can be a good option for online stores that want to generate visits via email and social media marketing. Piquing your audience’s curiosity with regular new deals is one good way to generate interest in your products, especially if you are a relatively new business or are trying to promote a new product line.
- Don’t Forget Your Marketing Plan
Once you’ve created a festive mood in your business, ordered your products, hired extra help for the holiday season, and decided on your discount offers and promotions, it’s time to create a marketing plan for your business.
First, you’ll want to consider your target audience. If you are offering new products/services during the holiday season, these may appeal to people outside your target demographic, and you’ll need to decide how best to reach the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Next, you’ll have to identify which forms of advertising offer the highest return on investment. Flyers could be a good option if you have a local store and want to attract local customers. Running a contest or giveaway on Facebook can be a great option for companies targeting people who like to use social media. If you run an e-commerce business, you may want to purchase Google Ads and/or Facebook Ads. Email marketing is effective for brick-and-mortar and e-stores alike. Costs are minimal and the ROI can be high, but you’ll need someone on your team who can create and run a successful campaign.
Preparing your business for the holiday season isn’t just about maximizing profits. It’s about looking for ways to spread holiday cheer to your customers and employees alike. Planning ahead helps you stock what your clients need while ensuring your employees’ needs are met so they can better serve your customers. It also allows you to have time to relax, enjoy the holiday season for yourself, and set aside some time to draw up a business plan for the coming year. Everyone wins when you take proactive action to prepare your business for the holiday season as early on as you can.