Preparing Your Business for the Holiday Shopping Season

Preparing Your Business for the Holiday Shopping Season

The level of success you are able to achieve during the holidays can either make or break your small business. For many enterprises, sales between October and December represent a significant portion of their intake for the entire year. That’s why it is so important to do everything you can to maximize your chances of translating the gift-giving spirit into solid profits.

Learn from History

Because the past is the best predictor of the future, it makes sense to look back on trends from preceding years and react accordingly. To that end, use your point-of-sale solution’s analytics tools to see what sold well and what didn’t, and then learn from the data.

In a similar vein, recall your advertising and promotional campaigns, resurrecting what worked and rejecting what didn’t. If you have an ecommerce site, track what pages and product categories resulted in the most sales, replicating the best.

Get Creative for the Holidays

At a time of year when competition is particularly cut-throat, set your business apart from the rest by giving your creativity free rein. Think about your strengths, tailoring promotions or offers that put your assets in the best possible light. You can lure your customers in using various enticements: discounts, coupons, upgrades, free shipping, bundles, free gifts, and partnerships with other companies.

Decorate for the Season

Celebrate this festive time of year by sprucing up your brick-and-mortar or virtual shop. You don’t need a degree in interior design to succeed. When in doubt, do a bit of competitive research, using what your competitors are doing as a springboard to get your own creative juices flowing.

Be Transparent About Shipping Deadlines and Holiday Hours

Time seems to speed up as the year draws to a close, and it’s all too easy for customers to leave their shopping to the last minute. You can help them avoid being too late by posting your holiday hours, return policy, and shipping schedule prominently both in-store and on your website. Be clear about when the last day is that they can ship items using various methods to ensure that they arrive on time.

Start Planning for Next Year

Even though the line at your register or mobile payment processing system might be longer than usual, you should still take the time to think of each buyer as a long-term customer. Cultivate lasting relationships by handing out coupons that encourage shopping during the more relaxed months of January and February.

Your mobile payment processing system or stationary point-of-sale solution may contain customer loyalty capabilities that enable you to easily set up a rewards program that will keep people returning throughout the year. Once the new year begins, you will have the opportunity to warmly welcome them to your customer community as you figure out ways to keep them interested and engaged.

For many retailers, the holidays can generate up to 30 percent of their annual sales. By learning from past experience, using educated guesses to predict future trends, and being creative and welcoming, you can embrace the spirit of the season while benefiting financially at the same time. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.