Tips For Preparing For The Holiday Rush
This holiday season might be a bit different this year thanks to the pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be all surprises. There are so many ways you can prepare your business for a successful holiday season, pandemic or no pandemic. With that being said, we’ll help you understand what steps you need to take when it comes to your sales, marketing, and operations departments to set your business up for success.
Show Your Current Customers/Clients That You Care
Customers always like to feel appreciated, especially around the holidays when everyone is feeling warm and fuzzy.
Whether it’s special thanks emails, holiday cards, a loyalty giveaway, or customer appreciation sale/promotion, being proactive and going the extra mile will show your customers you truly value them and will help maintain the relationship long-term.
Promote Your Products/Services
The holiday season is the biggest time of year for shopping, so now is the time to really go all out promoting your products and services by offering holiday sales, discounts, and promotions. Also consider introducing gift certificates, so your loyal customers can share the love with their friends and family.
Pivot To Social Media Platforms
If you don’t already have a social media presence, start now. If you do have social media pages set up, but don’t use them that frequently, start amping up your efforts with regular posting right away.
Beyond just generic posts, use your social media to promote specials and certain brands you sell, offer promotions, host virtual events, and show off your company culture. This not only helps increase brand awareness, but can help drive traffic to your website and increase leads.
Facebook is ideal as it’s the most widely used platform, but Instagram is also great.
Still not convinced? Here are a few statistics that may change your mind
- 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media would recommend that brand to their friends and family
- 54% of social media users use social media to research products they are interested in
- 68% of all U.S. adults have a Facebook account
Promoting Your Brand Via Social Media Giveaways
Social media giveaways are also a great way to promote your brand.
However, don’t just give anything away. For a giveaway to produce the kind of results you’re looking for, you should be giving away a product or service from your brand. Because, while IPad giveaways can get a ton of attention, they don’t leave a lasting impression because the people who are entering aren’t usually interested in your brand.
Instead, create a post offering a free product or service to one lucky customer, and make it a requirement for all participants to share the post with their followers.
Or, you can also connect with an influencer to launch and promote a giveaway to their followers. Either way, this is a relatively inexpensive option to help get your brand in front of a wider audience.
Invest in Tools That Support Your Business
Having a strong team to help run your business is great, but, as you’ve probably learned, there’s only so much humans can do. From CRMs, to project management, chat functionalities, etc., investing in digital tools and cloud software to help manage your various departments is essential and will help you scale your business.
Start an eCom
It’s no secret that customers are moving online and taking their business with them, especially around the holiday season.
Here are some stats to back this up:
- 76% of consumers now prefer buying holiday gifts online
- Online holiday shopping revenue in the U.S reached $124 billionin 2018
- The percentage of retail sales that come from eCom is expected to rise from 8.9% in 2017 to over 15% in 2022, totaling nearly $892 billion
For businesses that operate primarily from a brick and mortar, get ahead of the curve by launching your own eCom website to support your storefront.
When transitioning to online sales, make sure you are being fully transparent with your customers throughout this process. This includes being upfront about shipping costs and delivery times, along with refund, exchange, and cancellation policies.
5 Tips for Operating A Successful eCom
1. Ensure Customers Will Have The Best User Experience
Customer experience is key to maintaining long-term relationships with your clients. Make sure your website has a strong UX and is mobile friendly.
2. Automate Selling, Shipping, and Fulfillment
Automate these areas of your business to help streamline processes and avoid human error.
3. Create Strategic Holiday Marketing and Promotions
Offer holiday promotions to help draw people to your website and gain sales. These must be planned out and launched months in advance for them to be effective.
4. Ramp Up Customer Service And Support For Holiday Traffic
As holiday traffic to your site and storefront increases, it’s vital that your team is equipped to support this. Improve your customer service processes and ensure that you have enough staff on hand so that customers aren’t being left in the dark.
5. Measure The Success Of Your Holiday Campaign
Looking at your analytics is key to determining whether your marketing efforts have been successful so you can know whether to tweak or maintain your strategy going forward.
While marketing is important, it’s also crucial that your team is able to handle the influx in sales you’re going to experience right before the holidays.
Here are a few tips for improving your internal operations.
One of the worst ways to lose a customer’s business is to promise or even promote the availability of an item that you don’t actually have in stock. Therefore, when sales are on the up during the holiday season, inventory management is more important than ever.
Rather than risking potential human error, automate your inventory management system to ensure you have an accurate account of every product in stock.
Organize Staff Schedules/Hire Seasonal Help If Required
Now’s the time to turn your business into a well-oiled machine. Make sure staff schedules are made and organized ahead of time and that any time off is booked well in advance and communicated with whoever is making the schedule. And, if you find that things are starting to get a bit hectic, hire seasonal help to take some of the stress off your team.
Optimize Your Downtime
Once the holiday rush is over and you’re taking some much deserved time off, take the time to reflect on this year’s holiday rush and evaluate your business’ strengths and weaknesses, what worked and what didn’t, and how you can do things differently going forward.
Communicate With Your Team
Communication and making sure everyone is on the same page is key to ensuring things run smoothly with your business and reducing the risk of hiccups from occurring. Let everyone know the business goals for the holiday season and what is in store, what’s expected of them and their roles, and who’s able to take time off (and when).
Whether it’s sending frequent emails to all staff or scheduling regular meetings (either virtual or in-person), checking in every once in a while and keeping everyone updated is vital.
Support Your Team
Everyone within your team will be overloaded this time of year, so make sure everyone feels supported and be understanding about delays. You’re all in this together, so teamwork and communication is more important than ever.
Need help building your holiday marketing plan? You’ve got enough on your plate during this time to tackle it alone. Consult with a professional digital marketing agency to help bring your marketing strategy to the next level and grow your sales.
From building a new website to setting up paid ads, developing a social media strategy, and even producing video, a full-service marketing agency will have your business ready to handle the holiday rush.