Are you yet into the holiday spirit? As a business owner, you don’t have much time to waste if the spirit hasn’t caught you yet. Holiday shoppers are everywhere. What are you doing to encourage them to visit you at your place of business? It should go without saying that, during this time of year, there are more opportunities than ever to welcome new customers through the doors of your place of business. How are you taking advantage of those opportunities?
Here are four ways to welcome more holiday shoppers into your store:
1. Promote your company’s special holiday hours. Many retailers choose to extend their hours of operation during the holidays. There are even department stores that stay open 24/7. As well, you’ll want to make clear the details of your shipping policies. Clearly, shoppers will want their products to be received before Christmas Day. Making sure that all of your customers are clear about your operating schedule over the next month and a half will be important.
“In ecommerce especially, keeping customers happy and their expectations in check is a big priority,” says Olivia Raymer on EarlyBirdStrategy.com, “Holiday shipping and return deadlines need to be communicated often and clearly. What’s the last day customers can place an order with you that they will still receive it by Christmas Eve — via Ground, 2nd Day or Next Day etc. Depending on your business and shipping service, figure out the cutoff time and let your customers know.”
2. Create a promotion schedule. The next two months will be the busiest of your entire year. It’s wise to create a schedule that sets out what you plan on doing to accommodate all of those extra shoppers. On what dates will you be launching special sales? Do you have a holiday contest of some kind planned? Will you be unveiling a new line of products? Be sure to schedule everything you plan on launching in advance.
“Shopping momentum typically builds through November, goes wild in December, tapers as the holidays come and then surges again with returns and customers buying what they really wanted post-holiday,” explains Raymer, “Build a promotion schedule out – planning what offers and channels will be promoted when. Remember to build in production time for design and content that needs to be created – for example: gift guides or staff picks.”
3. Run a Black Friday promotion. In our last blog, we encouraged business owners to get in on the Cyber Monday craze. By offering products at a discount on your website, you’ll put yourself in a position to cash in pretty big on the biggest online shopping day of the year. Why not cash in on the popularity of Black Friday as well? Doing so is bound to encourage a lot of new customers to enter the doors of your store.
Raymer advises that you acknowledge the tradition one way or the other. “There are a few big shopping days that kick off the consumer-driven holiday season,” she reminds us, “Whether you choose to ignore, participate, or even boycott, these ‘holidays’ will probably impact your business anyway (great sales elsewhere might reduce your orders if you don’t participate), or even acknowledging / boycotting it might be a relationship strategy for your community.”
4. Offer gift cards. Arguably, there will be no more popular item for sale this holiday season. Gift cards are well known for being perfect gifts for the holidays. They solve many problems for shoppers – What size? What colour? What style? What brand? – these and other questions like them can drive holiday shoppers crazy. By selling gift cards, you’ll not only be solving a major holiday shopping problem, you’ll be making a lot of extra money!