Let’s not kid ourselves: the holiday season really starts with back to school. Halloween quickly follows, and then there’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday…it’s enough to make you want to declare a holiday from the holidays. But if you’re a business owner, it’s the most wonderful time of the year to capture those purchases.
According to Internet Retailer, the challenge is the short shopping season – there are only 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas this year.
So let’s get started. Here’s your checklist for what to do now so you can be ready later:
- Get creative with your marketing ideas. As you plan your email and social media marketing messages, think about how you can be helpful during the holidays. Reward shoppers for their early shopping by sending out coupons. Have a business that works great visually? Send short videos that show how to wrap a present in a new way, or post some pictures to Pinterest. You can also hold a photo contest on Instagram and reward shoppers with a gift they can re-gift.
- Adapt to your customers’ mobile lifestyle. How does your website look on smartphones? Or on a tablet? Most digital marketers recommend not making your email messages or newsletters any bigger than 600 pixels wide so they can be seen on most smartphones. Also, make sure your mobile website is simple, with big icons or pictures to click on so it doesn’t take too long to load. IBM estimates that 20 percent of website sales and more than 43 percent of site traffic will come from mobile devices this November.
- Make sure you have enough staff to work during the holidays. Not only do you need salespeople, but you also need people to fulfill the sales and customer service personnel. If necessary, start looking into temporary staffing or paid interns.
- Make suggestions. The holidays are a great time to encourage shoppers to add items to their online shopping carts before checkout. You can also add a pop-up window to see if they have any questions about their orders. Don’t make it difficult for customers to find the information they need, or they may give up and shop somewhere else.
- Don’t get caught short on popular items during the holidays. Check with suppliers now to make sure they’ll be able to get you your top sellers in case of sudden high demand. You can also take preorders so you know how much to order.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva's free TrendCast reports.