With holidays just around the corner, small business owners are prepping their businesses for what is hoped to be a prosperous season. The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) has no shortage of retail clients and to help them, and you, we’ve put together a list of 8 tips to heat up cool weather sales!
1. Email marketing – if you don’t do it already, start now! Great template based tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact are available at little to no cost. Emailing is still the number one way to reach your clients online and create loyalty with your customers. Have a plan for the holidays, schedule emails right up until Christmas, and even after that for any sales you might have!
2. Stay active – in the community that is. Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event showcasing small business owners on November 24th. It’s the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so be sure to encourage customers to save their spending for shopping local on Saturday. Make sure you’re active and take advantage of all the free business marketing tools you can find here.
3. Deck the halls- or at least the showroom. Make sure your shop has a seasonal feel as it tends to make consumers more in the spirit of giving (read spending). Think twinkle lights and cheerful music!
4. Prepare the troops – refresh your employees on procedures. Giving your staff a run through of policies and procedures prior to the holiday rush is a good idea so they can handle any situation that comes their way. Things to think about:
– discounts being offered
– how to deal with theft
– what to do with returns
– gift card sales
These are just a few of the basics that are often forgotten during the rest of the year. A well informed staff makes a successful season and happy customers!
5. Party – reasonably and retail-ly. If you haven’t already, hold a holiday open house. Get neighboring businesses to participate through giveaways or staying open late with you; it’s a win-win for all. Make it special and offer exclusive deals. If you’ve already had your open house, make sure your employees feel special by way of a holiday party just for them.
6. Give back. Rally the team and volunteer at one of the local shelters, food drives or other organizations that need assistance during the winter months. Not only are you making a difference, you’re also showing the community that you are a socially responsible business.
7. Keep it social. As a B2C (business to consumer) business, you should already have a business Facebook page up and running. If you don’t, here’s a free webinar recording from the WBDC on how to do right. If you are active, don’t forget to post pictures of new merchandise, have a social media exclusive sale and engage your clients as much as possible! And be sure to double check your reviews on sites like Yelp.com – nothing like a poor review to turn away potential customers.
8. Don’t forget about the men! Although women are the purchasing decision makers for most households in the United States, don’t forget about their counterparts: husbands, boyfriends and sons. Get your message out that you can help them find that perfect gift and offer a worry free shopping experience! This is particularly successful when you have a high number of return clients. Nothing is better than unwrapping the perfect gift and not finding a gift card.
Try at least one or two of these ideas if you’re not already. Did we leave anything out? What do you do to make your business most successful during the holidays?