The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports November and December are the most lucrative time of year for retailers. These two months may be even more impactful for small businesses, since holiday sales can make up as much as 40% of annual customer transactions for small and mid-sized businesses.
A successful holiday season means attracting new customers, making sales, and building relationships to carry you through the rest of the year. With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to formulate your plan to attract customers. Here are cost-effective steps to take now to ensure a lucrative holiday season for your small business.
Set Sales Goals
Many shoppers begin shopping for the holidays in November, so it’s important to plan and execute on your sales and marketing strategy now. Set sales goals and calendar any promotions you wish to offer during these months.
Optimize Your Web Site for Mobile
An increasing number of customers are coming to your site from mobile devices. “Cyber Monday” (the Monday after Thanksgiving) is the online equivalent of the brick-and-mortars’ huge “Black Friday.” The NFR projects $105 billion in online sales this holiday season, with an estimated 127 million shoppers predicted to shop on Cyber Monday. Of these Cyber Monday shoppers, 25 million said they would “specifically use their mobile devices” for purchases.
Your retail web site must be mobile-optimized if you want your customers to find you and stay to shop. A responsive web design will pay dividends, so take steps to make that happen and you will reap the rewards of greater engagement and higher sales numbers.
Participate in Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was created to support local small businesses and help boost their sales. Look to American Express for some free resources available to you to promote Small Business Saturday, including free store signs and social media updates.
Consider how to reach out to customers on this special shopping day. Some local businesses offer Small Business Saturday promotions to show customer appreciation. To give back support to your community, you might consider making a donation to a local charity. For example, a local pet store might make donations to an animal shelter for each purchase made.
Another way to engage your customers on Small Business Saturday is to make their shopping experience fun. Some businesses offer refreshments or freebies such as a branded tote, while some might offer a raffle or a giveaway. Brainstorm your own unique ways for your business to promote Small Business Saturday with the intent of developing a broader local customer following for your brand.
The boon of Facebook is the ability to attract a vast number of customers with only a minimal investment. Outside of traditional search engines, Facebook is the site which generates the most traffic. Check out these holiday specific ideas to make Facebook your friend this holiday season.
Spread the Love Over Social Media
Facebook is a true powerhouse, but don’t neglect the importance of connecting with your customers on other social media sites. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all offer opportunities for interacting and building relationships with existing customers while targeting prospective ones.
How do you best use social media to engage? The easiest way is with interesting, shareable content. If a fun photo gets shared, then you have reached out to new customers in a visual, memorable way. Also consider a call-to-action (“Share this post if you like our product!”) or engaging in conversation (“Do you like the boots on the left? Or the right? Comment with your fave!”) to encourage dialogue which will lead to a relationship.
No matter which platforms you choose for social media and which methods you use, be sure to link to your webpage. If your social media audience likes your content, they might be encouraged to become customers.
Now that you know the tips to attract customers during the holidays, you’re well on your way to terrific sales this season, which can help your business see success over the coming year.