From “Small Business Saturday” to “Buy Local” campaigns, customers are more interested in spending money with small businesses than ever before — and this is especially true during the holiday season. October, November, and December are some of the most profitable months for small businesses. In fact, nearly 40 percent of annual small business sales happen in the last two months of the year. This influx of profits comes with additional tasks and projects, and you don’t want to fall behind on your overflowing to-do list.
While you might have summer on the brain, it never hurts to plan ahead. Here are a few tips to help you plot out your strategy so you can maximize your holiday benefits.
Upgrade Payment Methods
Many holiday shoppers enjoy a slow, meandering stroll, while others are hoping to get in, get what they need, and get out as quickly as possible. In order to balance these differing needs, make sure your small business is using the most shopper-friendly payment methods available. For instance, cordless terminals from top-rated POS systems like Vend, Square and Clover help power through transactions by allowing customers to scan, tap or swipe a card. Plus, if there are any payment disputes, these POS brands will handle them, freeing you up to help more customers find the gifts they’ll love.
Hire Seasonal Help
Bringing in temporary or short-term workers can do wonders for customer satisfaction during the holiday season, not to mention helping business owners manage their stress. Even though these jobs aren’t permanent, you want to make sure you hire friendly and reliable employees. If you need to update your interviewing skills, be sure to brush up on the right questions to ask and body language to look for when talking to candidates. The last thing you want is to deal with a high turnover rate during the holidays, so try to find some high-quality short-term employees.
Anticipating seasonal help now also requires having a plan for scheduling shifts. You don’t want to alienate permanent employees who will want time off before and during the holidays, so it’s important to plan ahead for how you will build your schedule. Shift scheduling is made easy when you tap into a platform like QuickBooks, and if you’re not using it now, it’s high time to get started. This service offers a wealth of features like instant and repeat scheduling capabilities, easy record-keeping and notifications in real time.
Plan to Decorate Your Store Front
The more festive you are, the more customers you get. Tis the season to be jolly, no matter which holy festival you and your community celebrates — Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa. Plan ahead to get into the spirit by gathering holiday decorations early. Find items you can hang in your store, and create a clever storefront design that will grab shoppers’ attention. Interactive displays will encourage customers to pause and linger in front of your store, while elegant ornaments will show that your store has gifts and stocking stuffers that will make friends and family feel really special.
Connect with Customers
While reaching out to new customers is important during the holiday season, keeping your current customers happy might be even more beneficial. Email is the king when it comes to communicating sales, deals, and specials, but during the holidays, a nice card in the mail, in addition to a friendly email, can really get shoppers excited about your business.
And don’t forget about social media. Take the time to connect with customers, be quick to answer messages, and encourage them to tag and share their interactions with your business. Better yet, connect with a reputable agency to help with your social media marketing efforts. With the help of professionals, you’ll be in a better position to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to your online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Give Back to the Community
The holidays are about more than transactions — they are about the spirit of giving. Your business enables people to share that spirit with their loved ones, but you can also give the gift of holiday cheer by supporting a cause that’s important to your community. You can donate a portion of all holiday sales to a nonprofit or charity that helps in areas most people support, such as education, animals or children. You can also hold a toy drive so customers who bring in an unwrapped toy for a needy child can get a discount on their holiday purchases.
We’re in the midst of the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean getting your company ready for the hustle and bustle should take away from “the most wonderful time of the year.” Follow these basic suggestions to help you get your small business ready for the “happiest season of all.”
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