You may still be clinging to summer, but as a retailer, you know that the holidays are creeping up on us. While the holidays are a time of love, friendship, family, and good will, they are also a time of chaos and overtime -- especially for small business owners. While you may sometimes look at big box stores as the enemy, it can pay off to look at them more as inspiration. Like it or not, major retail chains have holiday marketing down to a science. Here are a few tips to make sure your holidays run just as smoothly.
- Make the deals worth it. Would you race to a store to save... 10%? Neither are your customers. Instead of giving a slight discount on the entire store, figure out what your customers really want, and try to provide deeper discounts. If you're stuck on what to offer, channel your inner Spice Girl and post to social media; "tell me what you want, what you really really want!" to get ideas from your online audience.
- Create a sense of urgency. "Buy now," "shop today," and, "while supplies last," are all important phrases to add to your holiday marketing like in email subject lines, social media posts and print ads. Customers are more compelled to buy when they think that they have a limited amount of time to get the best deal, or that they may get a deal that other shoppers will miss out on.
- F-R-E-E free. Oh, and if you sell online, don't forget that free shipping is a major motivation for customers to click "checkout." Add "free shipping" to your social media bios and graphics like your Facebook Cover Image and pictures on Instagram. Use Canva.com to design holiday and free shipping graphics.
- Get some seasonal staff. The big box stores are always well-staffed during the holidays. Consider bringing on some holiday help and ask friends and family members if they know of anyone who may be able to help cover some shifts. Don't forget to post to your social media accounts that you're hiring. Someone who follows you online might already know your store and the types of products you sell, which might make them a great candidate to help out in-store but also to post to your social media during the busy holiday hours so your accounts don't get neglected, and so you don't miss BIG opportunities to sell using social.
- Create an ambiance. Holiday shoppers love being reminded of the smells, sights, and sounds of the season. Create a winter wonderland with lights, candles or diffusers, and holiday music. Throwing in some fresh-baked cookies for them to see, smell, and taste wouldn't hurt, either! Record videos of your winter wonderland and post to social media, bringing the physical world to the digital world. When posting your video to Facebook, make sure you're uploading the video directly to Facebook.
- Switch up your layout. How often do you move product around in your store? While you may be compelled to stick with tradition and keep everything in the store where long-time customers can find it, it does pay to mix it up every once in a while. By moving products around you increase the chance that customers will see items that they didn't see during their last visit.
- Highlight impulse buys. We've all been there. We've grabbed everything on our list (and then some), and are ready to head home. And then we spot that bright and shiny, gotta-have-it item next to the cash register. It's what we call the impulse purchase, and while it can be a problem for your wallet, it can be great for your store. According to a Harris Interactive poll, "No less than 80% of Americans made an impulse buy in the past year." While impulse buys are usually made on small or complementary items (like greeting cards to go with a gift, or gum to throw in your purse), those small purchases can really add up, especially during the holidays.
Want more tips on boosting sales during the holiday? Click here to register for our free, upcoming holiday webinar!