I know what you're thinking... "is it really that time again?" The holidays have a reputation for sneaking up on us and while the holidays are an exciting time it can also be stressful time for business owners. It's a chance to try new things, offer seasonal or new products, and reach a completely new audience.
Whether you sell goods or services, you can benefit from the change in weather and hopefully have a successful holiday season. Here's how to get your business ready for the holidays.
The Start of the Season
While there is no official "holiday shopping season," your audience will be in the holiday spirit from Halloween to New Years. Having said that, there will always be early and late adopters.
If you're preparing your business for the holiday shopping season, I recommend starting in late October to early November and developing a holiday marketing strategy that will last until January.
Holiday Shoppers' Mindset
When it comes to holiday shopping, I've discovered that most of us buy for one of three reasons:
We're out shopping for others. These are usually items that we can wrap in shiny paper, tie with a bow, and place under the tree or send in the mail.
We're shopping deals for ourselves. These might be products or services, but they're usually big-ticket items. Personally, I'll hold out on a big purchase for months if I suspect it's going on sale during the holidays. Your audience is probably thinking the same
We're overspending for emotional reasons. The holidays have a tendency to make us feel all the things. Whether we're just chasing that rush of serotonin or we're just in holiday spirit of all things gifts, our emotions play a huge role in our spending habits.
As a business owner, your job is to make the most of this mindset shift without taking advantage of your customers of clients. Provide what they want, but don't necessarily pressure them into buying things they don't need.
How to Prepare Your Business for the Holidays
1. Market Research
You can read all the articles about holiday shoppers and do all the background research you want, but your marketing will fall short if you don't understand your audience. Post some Instagram polls, talk to previous customers, and get a sense of what your target audience is looking for during the holidays. Build your marketing campaign around what makes you stand out from the crowd.
2. Holiday Schedules
It's time to plan your holiday operating hours. Will you be open for an extended period of time? Do you intend to close your company for a few days? Make sure to inform your employees about holiday hours and your expectations for them during the holiday season. Request that your team request any holiday time off by a specific date so that you can plan employee schedules accordingly. Also, don't forget about your holiday... The season can be hectic but it's important to make time for yourself and family as well.
3. Promotions or End of Year Sales
Discounts and sales are associated with the presence of end-of-year holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's a great time to offer discounted products and services to your existing customer base, which is always a good marketing tool! Take advantage of this by sending targeted incentives (like coupons and exclusive deals) to a preferred customer list. It may be a good idea to inform your clients of any pre-holiday promotions while promoting the business. But don't go overboard. Remember, you want to make a profit too!
4. Stock Up
Check last year’s orders to anticipate how much of basic supplies you’ll need, whether that’s shipping supplies and packaging, paper towels and toilet paper for your restrooms, or branded gift cards for holiday shoppers. If this is your first year in business, your network may be able to guide you through your first holiday ordering season. Remember to order early to avoid rush shipping charges later in the season. Being prepared can help you meet your customers’ needs with ease.
Have fun with it! Even if you feel like the Grinch around the holidays, add a little extra flair to help you stand out during this busy season. Plan a late-night or early-morning decorating party for your entire team. Order takeout for your team, blast Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You," and watch your business transform in a matter of hours.
6. Set Goals for Next Year
To make the holidays even more hectic, a brand new year is weeks away... Don't put off thinking about the coming year until January. Instead, set aside some time before the holidays to plan out your goals for the coming year. If your holiday season is slow, you can use the extra time to make plans or set intentions. If you have a busy holiday season, you'll already have a plan in place for when things slow down.
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