These days, holiday shopping events aren’t just for the big departments stores. On the contrary, small businesses all across the country are joining in on the fun and excitement. Not only are shops signing up to participate in Small Business Saturday, during which holiday shoppers patronize their favorite local stores, but companies of all sizes are also developing and optimizing strategies to boost holiday sales figures.
Here are some essential marketing strategies to help small businesses win big at this time of year.
Optimize Your Website
To ensure a successful holiday sales season, you should spend time optimizing your website. While more consumers than ever before are shopping online, users won’t linger long on a site that is slow or cannot be easily navigated. Slow loading times are one of the top reasons that consumers abandon sites, in addition to experiencing problems finding what they need.
Additionally, devote time to making your e-commerce site mobile-friendly. Not only do many shoppers purchase goods from their smartphones or tablets, but businesses can also use mobile location services to offer customers regionally-appropriate discounts and deals.
Reward Superstar Customers
It’s not uncommon for businesses to hand out coupons and other special offers during the holiday season. Some business owners, however, often make the mistake of giving their best rewards to one-time shoppers instead of loyal customers. In celebration of the holidays, you should make an effort to thank those patrons who consistently visit your store or website.
If you can’t afford to offer significant discounts or coupon offers, consider sending out printed “Thank You” cards or even emails letting customers know you care. A few words can go a long way toward showing your appreciation and gratitude.
Create Sales Bundles
Some friends and loved ones are notoriously hard to shop for. If you want to boost your business’ holiday numbers, consider creating convenient sales bundles that group together a few of your best-selling items in one package. Depending on your store type, you can assemble specially tailored collections of gifts for moms, dads, grandparents, kids and even pets.
For best results, gift-wrap your bundles using attractive paper and ribbons and showcase them in your store’s windows. It’s also a good idea to create bundles that ring in at different price points, so all your customers can find appropriate gifts that are within their budgets.
Offer Reliable Shipping
If you operate an e-commerce business, getting customers to make purchases is only half the battle; owners also need to take steps to ensure orders go out on time. As a small business owner, the pressure is on to compete with Amazon.com and other large retailers who offer free shipping among other perks.
While you might not be able to get your goods out the same day, you can endeavor to be accurate about delivery dates and issue tracking numbers so customers know when orders will arrive. Further, SMBs should try their best to avoid backlogs as the season progresses.
Additionally, you should strive to expedite your return process so it’s easy and affordable for customers to send back goods that don’t meet their needs. In the long run, shoppers who have a good experience returning items are more likely to buy from you again.
Make Use of User Photos
Looking for a creative marketing strategy to employ this season? Consider making use of user-generated photos and content on your website. Not only are consumers happy to see themselves showcased online, but the company also enjoys free advertising.
To try this technique, invite your satisfied customers to send in photos of themselves wearing or using your products. Then, post the images on your site and share them on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
The holiday season is a time for coming together, and this trend applies to small business owners as well. To give your Christmas sales figures a boost, consider teaming up with other local businesses to cross promote one another’s services.
For example, if you own a cheese shop, you could include coupons to the local wine supplier with every purchase. Additionally, shops in the same region can hang each other’s fliers, carry brochures and even host sidewalk sales and other shared events.
Consumers might complain about seeing seasonal decorations out in stores too early, however research shows that people start their holiday shopping efforts as early as October. By launching your holiday marketing campaign now, you can make sure your small business doesn’t miss out on any lucrative sales opportunities in the coming weeks.