The holidays are the most wonderful time of year—particularly for business. The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday sales make up a fourth of all retail sales. That’s not slowing down this year, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority (68%) of global small and medium-sized businesses attest that the holiday season remains a vital sales opportunity for their businesses. Consumers are also ready for a thread of normalcy—even if it’s only in their holiday shopping patterns. A quarter are planning to shop mostly at locally owned businesses, while another third (36%) plan to split their holiday spending between local shops and large retailers. So, how can you make the most of the holiday season? Here are six strategies to maximize sales.
1.Enhance your digital presence.
Particularly in 2020, consumers are shopping online more than ever. Around 60% of consumers plan to shop online for half or more of their gifts. To prepare for more online shoppers, it’s time to do a quick audit of your website and shopping portal. Is information clear and readily available? Is the checkout experience seamless? Polish these steps ahead of time to ensure a quality experience for your customers.
Shoppers are also interested in digital gift cards. Sales of these gifts are expected to increase 32% over 2019. If you don’t have digital gift cards available, now might be the time to begin offering them.
2. Send out holiday presale emails.
Presale emails may drive more web traffic and sales action than the same Black Friday and Cyber Monday email hitting a customer’s inbox multiple times. It’s a good rule of thumb to begin releasing your holiday marketing at the end of October or early November. In 2020, Black November became a trend, with retails offering bargains beginning November 1 and making them available throughout the month. However, if you haven’t already capitalized on presales, don’t worry. You haven’t missed out on other savvy marketing strategies.
3. Create social media holiday campaigns.
Social media remains one of the most effective—and affordable—ways to reach customers. According to Shopify’s 2019’s Holiday Commerce study, Instagram is the most successful nonpaid platform to acquire new customers. Its engagement features are particularly useful for connecting with your audience during the pandemic. Think about ways to drive engagement with content. Instead of posting about a new food item you have in your store, post a cooking-demonstration video (or even better, make it live) showing how to use the product. Keep in mind the best practices, such as offering entertainment and escapism, for social selling during the pandemic.
Throughout the holiday season, you’ll want to post more frequently. So, this is also a perfect time to schedule posts announcing discounts, deals, and new products or services.
4. Notify your customers about order deadlines and shipping delays.
One customers’ biggest frustrations with holiday shopping is not receiving their orders in time for holiday gifting. Help avoid this by setting appropriate expectations. Announce via multiple channels (e.g., your website, email newsletter, and social media) order deadlines for items to ship and be received before each important holiday. Keep in mind that shipping companies are already overloaded due to the pandemic, so your shipping deadlines may need to be earlier this year than in previous ones. If your clients are local, consider offering curbside pickup or deliveries, which could boost sales. According to Shopify, cyber shoppers spent 23% more when choosing local pickup or delivery.
5. Incentivize customers to buy early so you can work ahead.
The holidays are often the busiest times of year for small to medium-sized businesses. And you want to do a bit of decking the halls, too, right? In that case, reward your customers for placing their orders early so your work doesn’t stack up. For example, you could offer a contest with one (or more) clients getting their order free if they place it before a certain date. Or offer a free gift to anyone that places their order in November, rather than December.
6. Add a personal touch.
Your customers are getting bombarded with emails and special offers this season. How do you stand out? One way to do so is to make the shopping experience more personal. With the ongoing pandemic, it may be challenging to do so because you aren’t able to have as many face-to-face interactions with your clients as usual. However, the Small Business Administration offers these suggestions:
- If you have physical mailing addresses for your customers, send hand-written thank you notes.
- Create and post on social media a video of you and your staff thanking customers for supporting your business in 2020. This will be especially meaningful because your customers will be able to see the faces of the employee jobs they are supporting with their businesses.
If you’re ready to create a full digital marketing plan that meets the needs of a pandemic-era audience, connect with us, today!