guest post by Eva Benoit
The Holidays Are Near: Is Your Business Ready?
If you own a retail business, you already know the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is going to be busy. It’s a time when shoppers are ready to open up their wallets and find the best gifts for their loved ones. There’s plenty of profit to be had if you’re willing to put a little extra effort into your image this holiday season. Here are a few tips on making the most of Christmas cheer:
Get your website together
The vast majority of shoppers start at the same place: online. Make sure your website is dressed to impress. Start now by double-checking that your branding is consistent from page to page and there are no broken links or misinformation. There are few things worse than a customer arriving at the opening time listed on your website only to find your hours have changed. Maintaining a regular blog (with information relevant to your customers) is a good way to keep your website active in the eyes of the search engine giants, meaning you’ll be easier to find in a Google search. If you’re planning on posting a special (more on that below), make sure you have an attractive banner that doesn’t interfere with your customers’ online experience.
With the shopping season in full swing, be prepared to be bombarded by customers. Start by ensuring you have enough hands on deck. Hiring seasonal help is a great way to tend to your customers so they don’t walk out for lack of assistance. If it’s been a while since you’ve hired anyone, take the time to get reacquainted with common interview job interview questions and best practices. The interview process is crucial, even for part-time workers, since you need quality employees no matter how long they’ll be around.
You can use some of your new help to properly decorate your storefront and create eye-catching displays of items you want to push. Create a sense of wonder by adding appropriate signage, lighting, and colors that evoke feelings associated with the season. You don’t have to have a huge budget and, as RetailDoc.com explains, something as simple as a Santa hat propped atop a mannequin is better than nothing. If you have any level of artistic talent, consider painting a colorful display on your windows to draw customers in from the street.
Drive revenue through discounts
It may sound counterintuitive, but temporarily dropping the price on your best-selling items is a great way to attract customers… and their money. Shopify asserts, however, that discounts must be thought out beforehand so you don’t find yourself bleeding money instead of boosting profit. One of the more effective offerings is to provide a free item with purchase. For example, an accessory to complement a Christmas dollhouse or a handful of race cars for a newly-to purchase toy truck.
The holiday season is the perfect time to give back to the community that keeps your lights on. Coincidentally, charitable deeds happen to be great for your image. Consider hosting a toy drive or sponsoring X number of children from local schools who may not receive Christmas gifts otherwise. As much as you want to attract new business, remember your past customers. A hand-signed holiday greeting card is a great way to acknowledge their contributions to your success. A percent-off coupon or free gift voucher will also be appreciated.
‘Tis the season for buying. Give your customers what they want by making sure your seasonal interactions are a smooth now as they are the rest of the year. Keep your website up to date and make sure you have plenty of hands to help out. Keep in mind that Small Business Saturday isn’t the only shopping day of the year, and even if you failed to make plans up until now, it’s not too late.