Tips to Prepare Your Small Business for the Holiday Season
At the end of this week the holiday shopping season will officially begin. Queue Christmas music. Black Friday, believed to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, will fall, as always, on the day after Thanksgiving. You may have your shopping list planned, but is your small business ready for the rush?
Black Friday has proven to be incredibly lucrative for retail giants such as Target and Wal-Mart, but you don’t need to own a Fortune 500 company to benefit from the holiday buzz. Efforts have been made to give smaller businesses a seasonal boost, including Small Business Saturday which helps shift some of the attention away from large corporations. Here are some tips to help your business make the most of these busy shopping days:
- Don’t Feel Intimidated by Larger Businesses
Even though larger businesses might have more to offer when it comes to holiday discounts and deals, don’t feel discouraged. You can compete without price-matching, which could prove to be detrimental to your business. Shopping malls and department stores will likely be packed and uncomfortable for much of the season, so make doing business with you as inviting, convenient, and stress-free as possible. Be appropriately staffed and ensure your employees are knowledgeable about your products and services. Workers who can educate potential customers, not just sell to them, will earn trust and respect. This will help build a loyal, returning customer base.
- Update Your Website
Every year more and more holiday purchases are made online. The establishment of Cyber Monday, an online follow-up to Black Friday, is an attempt to capitalize on this trend. You, too, can get in on the holiday internet traffic by updating your website with your holiday hours (even if they are the same), any special deals or promotions, contact information, events, news, etc. Websites that are updated frequently will appear higher in Google search results: one of the most important factors in internet marketing. More traffic to your site provides you with more opportunities for purchases, so make sure your website is fully-functional and aesthetically pleasing. This, combined with online exclusive deals, will keep visitors on your site and lead to a higher conversion rate.
- Show Your Employees Appreciation
The holidays can be an especially taxing time for workers. In the rush of a busy season it is easy to overlook the hard work your employees may be putting in to ensure everything runs smoothly. Holiday bonuses and parties are excellent ways to show them how much you appreciate them, but circumstances don’t always allow for these extras. Publicly recognizing individuals who have done well is a simple way to make them aware that you do notice their efforts.
- Be Aware of Weather Conditions
If you live in an area with particularly cold winters, be sure to watch the weather forecast. If snow storms are on the horizon, closing for a day might be a good option. Business doesn’t have to halt when shoppers decide to stay home. Update your website and social media with an announcement of when you’ll be closed, when you’ll reopen, and a link to your product pages for those who want to make online purchases. Earlier this year, Boston saw a major blizzard that lead to a 50% fall in sales for retailers and restaurants. To prevent this from happening to you be sure to have an online backup plan.