With the holiday season right around the corner, preparing your business is paramount. Minimizing stress is a major priority, so getting started early on preparations can help reduce stressors and headaches while increasing productivity and profits. Since the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year, taking advantage of all potential revenue outlets will increase your sales.
Shoppers are hunting for the best deals and discounts as they research gift ideas for loved ones. This opens up opportunities for your business to utilize digital marketing strategies and campaigns as holiday gift-hunting has shifted to online shopping. During the 2020 holiday season, a recorded 73% of people planned to have holiday presents delivered after shopping online. As soon as the leaves begin to change color and the weather gets a bit colder, people are ready to start their holiday shopping. So get ahead of the rush and begin your holiday business planning by following these eight tips.
1. Review Last Year’s Sales
Overlook your business’s previous year of sales and determine what products your customers preferred, and which ones they disliked. After comparing previous years’ sales, you should be able to come up with a forecast for this year’s potential profits. Also, speak with your staff and managers to get a better understanding of what was successful the previous year and what you can streamline to be better this year.
2. Plan Marketing Campaigns and Incorporate SEO Strategies
Utilizing marketing campaigns, digital marketing tools, and SEO strategies is crucial in this digital era. Each business may have a preferred form of marketing, so try out different channels and experiment with Facebook and Instagram ads, email campaigns, direct mail, or radio and TV ads so you can discover what works best for your business.
Incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) into your digital marketing strategy is a must in today’s age. SEO is looking at current trends to determine what people are searching for, so you can align your business with what’s currently popular. As you produce content, make sure it is relevant to your target audience and primary keywords.
Nothing says the holidays like ample amounts of promotions, discounts, and deals for shoppers to get excited about. Plan out your business’s promotions so you know when they will be launched and when to expect the crowds.
3. Prepare Your Website
Making sure your website is up to date and running smoothly is important so your customers can easily find the information they’re looking for. Your website should be organized and ready to navigate, so shoppers can find products or information without any problem. Be sure to list holiday hours and promotions to help avoid unnecessary phone calls and questions.
4. Prep and Plan for What’s to Come
The holidays pack a punch and the rushes can be enormous for your business and your staff. Ease the stress and add necessary additions such as curbside pickup, online ordering, or delivery services.
Stocking up on supplies and inventory early on is also important since suppliers may be overwhelmed with orders and there may be delayed delivery times. Make sure to stock up on store necessities such as toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, and other needed items.
And even though you may think the busyness will stop after the holidays, be prepared in case it doesn’t. Get ready for returns and exchanges, as well as another rush of shoppers looking for markdowns and discounts.
5. Hire and Train Seasonal Workers
If your business has the budget and the demand for seasonal workers, begin hiring early on so they're fully trained for the upcoming season. Hiring extra staff can help ease the burden on your original team and allow for more time off. If you need an extra hand with digital marketing and promotions, temporarily hire a freelancer to assist.
6. Establish Vacation Policies, Store Hours, and Request-Off Deadlines
Implementing vacation policies and request-off deadlines is necessary so your employees have structure and a good understanding of what to expect for their own schedules. Also, determining your store’s holiday hours of operation in advance will give your employees the chance to work out their personal schedules and find coverage if needed.
7. Boost Employee Morale
The holidays can be rough on everyone and it can be easy to get burnt out. Plan a few ways to boost employee morale, such as rewarding those who pick up shifts last minute, planning a holiday party, or putting together Secret Santa. Setting up incentives to encourage the staff to work holidays shifts or overtime if needed, can benefit your business, as well as your employees.
8. Decorate and Maintain Your Holiday Spirit
It might be hard to maintain your holly-jolly smile the whole season, but don’t be a grinch! Decorate for the holiday season and add personal flair that enhances the atmosphere of your business. The first thing you see when you walk into major stores is the abundance of holiday decorations. This gets the customer in a mindset of planning for the holidays, which usually ends up with them spending more money.
‘Tis the season to be prepared and profitable! As the busiest time of the year approaches, checking your to-do lists twice and determining what you need to accomplish is necessary. Set yourself, your business, and your staff up for success when you plan accordingly. Whether you need to make changes in your operations or need to amp up your digital marketing presence, doing so before the holidays will result in a successful season for your business.