September is here, and the unofficial countdown to the holiday season has begun. I always advise small business owners to plan for the holiday season early, but it’s even more critical this year. Given the unique challenges we’re facing (from the economy to hiring to a resurgence of health concerns), you need to jump-start your holiday sales strategy if you want to hit your goals. To guide you in some key areas, I’m offering ten holiday sales tips that will prepare you for your busiest, most profitable season yet!
10 Holiday Sales Tips
Here are ten actionable holiday sales tips to prepare your small business for the holiday season.
1. Set Clear Goals
Begin by establishing what you want to achieve this holiday season. Are you aiming to increase sales by 20% or to acquire a specific number of new customers? A targeted goal will guide your strategy and give you a metric by which to measure success.
Setting goals gives your team something to work toward. Share the goals in a team meeting and make them visible in the workplace. This way, every effort can be aligned with these overarching objectives and you can create a focused and driven work environment.
2. Choose the Right Products
Deciding which products or services to promote is a critical next step. Look at previous sales data to identify your bestsellers or high-margin items. Check out the trends and predictions to select items that will be in demand this holiday season.
Once you’ve picked your main products, align your marketing and stocking plans accordingly. Consider your supply chain constraints and lead times for restocking. More on that next!
3. Stock Up Now
Given that we are still experiencing supply chain issues, now is the time to order the inventory and shipping supplies you’ll need for the season. Don’t wait until the last minute and risk getting caught in a pinch.
Calculate your projected needs based on past sales data and current trends. Make sure to account for lead times and potential delays and have a contingency plan for out-of-stock scenarios. This is crucial for meeting customer expectations and maintaining a smooth operation.
4. Develop Limited-Time Holiday Offers
Nothing creates a sense of urgency like a ticking clock. Plan some limited time offers that are exclusive to the holiday season, such as:
- Small Business Saturday: Celebrate your standing as a small business by offering a special one-day deal.
- Bundle Deals: Package complementary products or services together at a discounted rate.
- 12 Days of Christmas: A different product or service featured at a discount each day leading up to Christmas.
- Doorbusters: In-store only deals for the first few customers who walk in.
- Gift Card Bonuses: Purchase a gift card for a certain amount and receive an additional gift card for free.
- Countdown Deals: A series of products go on sale for a limited time, with a countdown clock emphasizing time sensitivity.
- Last-Minute Shopper Specials: Discounts aimed at those who shop a few days before the holiday.
5. Choose Your Marketing Channels Wisely
The holidays are a time when everyone’s bombarding customers with promotions, deals, and discounts. So, deciding where your marketing dollars will go the furthest is important. Are your customers primarily engaging with you on social media? Or are they avid email readers? Or is it best to catch them with direct mail?
Anayze data from your previous holiday campaigns to identify which channels had the highest conversion rates. This will help you allocate your budget and efforts more effectively. And don’t forget to check where your competitors spend their money. You want to be where your audience is, but you also want to find those less crowded spaces where your message can truly stand out.
6. Prepare Marketing Content
Before the holiday rush kicks in, start working on all the marketing materials you’ll need. We’re talking about those catchy email campaigns, social media posts, PPC and social media advertisements, and the accompanying graphics. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday are huge opportunities to start the holiday sales season strong, so you’ll want to be prepared well in advance.
Get your design team involved early. If you’re doing this solo, plenty of user-friendly design tools are available to help (like Canva).
7. Assess Staffing Needs
If you expect a surge in sales, you’ll need the workforce to handle it. Assess your current team’s capabilities and figure out how many more hands you’ll need on deck.
Once you’ve identified your staffing needs, create precise job descriptions and start the hiring process early. Remember, you’re not the only business ramping up for the holidays. Act now to attract the best talent before competitors snap them up.
8. Optimize Your Website for Sales
Nothing turns a customer away faster than a slow or clunky website. Before the holiday traffic hits, ensure your website is up to speed—literally. Test all your purchase pathways and check that your pages and shopping cart are mobile-friendly.
Also, make sure that your website can handle increased traffic. The last thing you want is for your site to crash during a peak shopping period. If necessary, consult a web development expert so everything is optimized and ready to go.
9. Create Holiday-Specific Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs aren’t a new concept, but tailoring one specifically for the holiday season can amp up your customer engagement. Consider offering double points or a special “Holiday Rewards Card” that customers can fill up with each purchase to redeem for a gift.
Not only does this incentivize repeat purchases, but it also builds excitement around your brand for the holiday season. Make sure to advertise your holiday loyalty program well in advance to get both your regulars and new shoppers on board.
10. Implement Customer Service Improvements
Top-notch customer service can set you apart from competitors. Consider extending your customer service hours during the holiday season and ensure your team is trained to handle high-stress situations.
Whether processing returns efficiently or solving problems promptly, good customer service contributes to customer retention. A happy customer is more likely to become a repeat customer, and word-of-mouth is invaluable.
Holiday Sales Tips: Get Started Now!
The holiday season has the potential to make or break your annual revenue targets, so preparation is key. From setting your goals to improving customer service, each area mentioned in this article will help you have a successful holiday season. Don’t put off what you can do today; start working on these holiday sales tips now to make this your most successful holiday season yet.