‘Tis the season to be jolly. Indeed, holiday shopping season comes early this year. It’s going to be very busy for retailers for the next 4-5 weeks – but hey, it’s all worth it!
Small business owners: I’m sure you are getting ready for the holiday shopping season. Thanksgiving is just several days to go and what follows will be as interesting: The Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
I’m personally looking forward to Small Business Saturday, as its focus is more businesses than consumers; I often use the information I read about Small Business Saturday to gauge U.S. small business’ sustainability in the market.
At this time, you might still be preparing to make the most of the shopping season. While you are at it, please allow me to share some simple ways which – hopefully – can help you increase your sales. Don’t worry – they are doable, and you can implement them right instant – seriously.
1. Respond to order faster
In holiday shopping season, everything seems to move in fast-forward. Why? Because everyone is busy shopping for the celebrations. Why don’t you help them out?
Indeed, if you want to boost your sales, this is the right time to give what your customers want: Respond to their order faster. How? Here are some ideas:
- Let your customers order now and pick up later – this way, you can reduce queues and cut your response time in half.
- Use mobile/portable Point Of Sale to take customers order while they are queuing.
- Change your store layout – simply move around displays, tables, etc. in such a way that customers can queue better; indeed – better queue, faster service and less anxiety.
2. Take that calls, for God’s sake!
From my own experience, 80 percent of the stores I’ve ever called during rush hours don’t pick it up. The reason is very simple: “We are too busy to pick up the phone.” Well, maybe they forget, but quite often, large orders are made via phone. If you don’t pick up your phone, someone else will: Your competitor. You can’t afford to lose sales this way.
I don’t know how you can make it work, but for God’s sake, have someone to stand-by and always take the calls, will ya?
3. Upsell, upsell, upsell
Don’t offer discounts; you’ll probably increase your sales, but with less profit margin, I don’t think it’s ideal. Besides, most retail stores do it – why should you? Think outside the box: Behold, the power of persuasion via upselling.
Upselling is nothing new; but for some reasons it’s often overlooked. Well, don’t overlook it! Simple offers like, “Would you like this product with that?” can open many doors to increase sales and profits.
4. You can’t do it all alone
Partnership with businesses offering complementary products has always been recommended, but I think the impact would be greater especially on a holiday season. Why?
Because, again, shoppers are very busy during these times, and when they shop with you and get your recommendation to another store offering complementary products, you help your customers to save time. Your partners can do the same; this is powerful, because joining forces mean you combine your customer base, and in retail, more customers (almost) always mean a good thing.
5. The simplest of all: Ask for referrals
Ask, and you shall receive. Small business owners often think that great service and great product will always get customers spread some words about their business. Well, although it’s quite the case, in reality things are not always work like that: Customers often “forget” to let their friends, family and colleagues know about your business.
Why don’t you remind your customers to tell their friends and family about your business? Perhaps you would want to consider sweetening the deal, giving a discount coupon for your customers’ next visit if they promise you to spread some words about your business.
Believe it or not, your customers will appreciate your gesture, and – chances are – they will tell people they know about your business.
Over to you
So, there you go: I truly hope that you find my tips useful and inspiring. As always, don’t take my words as advice; be sure to consult with the right experts before you take action.
All you need is a couple of phone calls and briefing with your staffs – and you are ready to go. Let’s get started today – don’t tarry!