The holiday season is a critical time for any small business.
Many small businesses generate significant profits from this busy season, enough to last the following slow months of the New Year. But with a struggling economy, it is even more important that small businesses take the measures necessary to maximize profits as much as possible.
The following are some useful steps for small businesses getting ready to endure and survive the holiday rush:
Before the Holidays:
It is never too early to start planning for your holiday marketing campaign. Many small businesses are starting their holiday promotions earlier to raise customer awareness and loyalty. Try to integrate seasonal keywords that would target your audience, and demonstrate your business’ preparation for the holiday months.
2. Stock Accordingly
One of the worst scenarios for any business is to run out of stock. In a busy holiday day, this situation can become exponentially worse, as frustrated customers are directed to other businesses. Order supplies early, and try to focus on items that would potentially become best-sellers.
3. Start Preparations Early
There are a number of ways you can prepare for the upcoming holiday traffic. Have you scheduled your staff in advance? Is your equipment updated and maintained? Does your store have enough shipping and operation supplies? By failing to take adequate preparations for the holiday season, small businesses can find themselves in a desperate, frantic predicament.
During the Holiday Rush:
1. Targeting your Audience
Unless your budget can allow for television commercials, print media, and radio spots, your small business may be hard-pressed when competing against major stores and retailers’ .However, there are a number of ways in which your small business can effectively and affordably market to audiences. Social media marketing campaigns can increase consumer awareness and drive traffic to your site. Online advertisements and email marketing campaigns also serve as cost-efficient means to promoting your store.
2. Maintain Inventory
Small business owners should ensure that they have enough inventory to meet demands. Determine which items are the best-sellers, and focus on those during your final holiday months. By identifying the best-selling items, small business owners can maximize sales and holiday profits. In addition, small business owners should plan their inventory stock so they minimize excess inventory, once the holiday season is over.
3. Promotions and Sales
One of the best ways to drive foot traffic to your small business is to offer holiday specials and sales. One example to offer sales is to email special coupons to your customers, available to use during a holiday weekend. Another way is to offer coupons that activate once the customer revisits the store at a later date. These promotions will give your customers incentive to enter your store, and allow you to increase your profits.
After the Holidays Months End:
Even after the holidays are over, there are still steps you can take to prepare for the upcoming months and the next holiday rush.
Continue to develop customer loyalty by offering outstanding customer service and incentives, such as a rewards program. Keep in mind the customers that are redeeming holiday gift cards and promotions.
Also, small businesses can continue to offer sales and promotions through post-holiday sales and clearances.
While the holidays are a super busy time for most small businesses, having the right marketing plan in place prior to will make them seem not so bad.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects’ vehicle insurance and business credit cards, writes extensively for business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.