Given the past year, the pandemic, and with many businesses turning towards the digital and online space, we can almost guarantee that the holidays and online shopping will look much different this year.
Not only do we have to consider the holidays, but we also have to keep in mind things like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
This means that your small business needs to be prepared!
Here are twelve ways to prepare your small business for the holidays:
1. Analyze past sales/data Use this information to: + Identify Areas of Improvement + Determine Inventory + Create Seasonal Offers/Discounts + Set Revenue Goals
By conducting past sales analysis, you have a much better chance at doing things like correctly predicting materials needed for inventory as well as having the ability to curate more personalized offers to customers in order to convert them and increase sales.
In addition, when you analyze the history of your sales, you might start to see a pattern or a trend correlated with repeat or loyal customers, which again, can be beneficial to you so that you can curate personalized offers and specials specifically for them.
2. Set realistic goals
Keep in mind that these don’t necessarily have to be goals in revenue or profits.
For example: + Increase in Customer Retention + Increase in Customer Engagement
+ Increase in Brand Awareness
+ Increase in Website and Social Media Traffic + Able to Donate to a Charity
3. Budget and secure capital
The holidays may mean an increase in inventory which means an increase in how much you must spend to acquire said materials for inventory. Therefore, you want to begin to budget and forecast necessary capital and profitability or return on investment of said materials.
+ Analyze Past Sales Data + Forecast Materials + Budget for Materials + Begin to Plan/Schedule
4. Update Website
Your website is a ‘living thing'. What this means is that it will constantly need to updated. There might be changes and improvements within your business and this should be reflected on your website. In addition, it's always a good idea to have a browse through your own website and ensure that all buttons and links are functioning properly.
Ways to do this: + Ensure that it's Mobile-Friendly + Update Descriptions + Update Prices + Update Forms/Subscriptions + Ensure Contact Info is Current + Ensure Socials are Current + Ensure Links/Buttons Function Properly
5. Update Technology
In addition to your website, consider other technology within your business that can use an upgrade or improvement.
For example: + Ensure Systems Function Properly
+ Test Checkout and Payment Processes
+ Test Mobile Features
+ Test Usability and Search Functions
+ Upgrade Security Software (if necessary)
+ Invest in Cloud-Based Software
6. Create Content
The holidays are a lot as it is, and we all have a lot going on with gifts, making plans, family, friends, celebrations, small business stuff, and you have to create content on top of all of this! Start to plan, create, and schedule your content ideas now so that it’s one less thing to worry about once the holiday season begins.
7. Create Unique Offers
Be sure to do something or provide an offer that makes you stand out from the rest. Find something special that you can offer to your customers/clients. Consider ideas like: + Special Gift Wrapping + Special Gift Boxes + Something Special for Early Shoppers + Free Holiday Lessons or Holiday Workshops + Partner/Collaborate with Other Small Businesses
8. Order Supplies
You want to ensure that you have what you say you’re selling! This means make sure that your inventory is stocked and up to date! + Order Inventory Based on Past Data + Count and Stock Inventory
9. Retarget Customers
You already know what appeals to your loyal customers based on their past buying habits and buying history. Therefore, you can do things such as create campaigns or special offers specifically for your repeat customers. + Create Campaigns + Special Discounts/Offers to Repeat Customers + Special Gifts to Repeat Customers + Newsletters to Inform Repeat Customers of Upcoming Sales
10. Search Engine Optimization
It’s clear that online shopping is easily becoming more and more relevant. Which means that search engine optimization (SEO) also needs to be relevant to you and your small business. This is because keywords help your potential customers/clients to find your website through organic searches. What you can do: + Identify Keywords Relevant to Your Industry + Use Keywords on Website + Create a Blog and Use Keywords in Blog + Utilize Keywords Throughout Content + Update Website + Update Blog and Content Often
11. Plan for After-Holiday Sales
Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean that you get to relax. This is because people are very much still shopping and looking for after-holiday sales and deals. Shoppers are also looking forward to returning and exchanging gifts. How to Prepare: + Offer After-Holiday Sales/Discounts + Get Rid of Old Inventory + Be Very Clear on Shipping & Return Policy + Engage with New Customers + Thank Returning Customers
12. Go Above and Beyond
The holidays can be stressful, but you don’t have to be.
Focus on being kind and spreading a smile (especially with the challenging past two years we’ve all had). + Be Transparent with Customers/Clients + People Remember How They Were Treated + People Remember How They Felt + Positive Experiences Create Customer Retention
For more ways to improve your website and content or social media strategy, check out our website services and our carefully curated portfolio of past projects for ideas on how we can help you to bring your conceptual ideas to digital life.
written by: Adriana Leos Chief Creative Officer