You might feel like a real underdog with all the major retailers slashing pricing and offering FREE shopping this holiday, but fear not. There are numerous ways that small businesses can maximize their profits during the holiday shopping season too, you just need to be prepared. In this article, we’ll talk everything Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. I’ll give my top tips on remaining in the black this holiday.
Thanksgiving is November 22 this year. So game time is Friday, November 23th, Saturday, November 24th and Monday, November 26th. Small Business Saturday is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage holiday shoppers to support their communities by shopping at locally owned businesses. It’s common for the sales to begin before Black Friday starts and extend beyond Cyber Monday, so the time is now to finalize your plan. Often the majority of the deals are available both in-store and online, but as a small business it might make sense to mix things up a bit. Here are a few ideas to get ready for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Figure Out Now What is On Sale. Don’t be afraid to bundle a popular item with slower moving inventory. For online retailers, you might want to develop a code for an extra discount, and at holiday time FREE shipping is a must. Charging shipping fees is one of the biggest causes of shopping cart abandonment. If you sell professional services, consider offering a deal for services paid in advance. My cleaning service offers 10% off for 6 months of service bought up front, and that’s a deal. I’ve seen professional speakers offer a discount for speaking gigs booked in advance too.
Develop a Marketing Plan & Budget for Holiday Promotions. If 4th quarter is your Super Bowl, you need to get together a marketing plan and a budget. How will you get the word out about your special holiday offers? Will you do mobile/text ads? Email blasts? FB ads? Direct Mail? Holiday discount cards? Etc. Run a contest encouraging followers to answer questions like, “What’s the hottest holiday gift this season?” Anyone who answers gets a 5% discount with the winner getting a 15% discount. Post photos of your employees getting ready for the day, and post your business’ story of how it got started. SMBs can also incorporate #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtag in their posts to attract more eyes. The options are endless, but you need to plan how much budget you’ll invest in your marketing efforts.
Order Your Supplies. In order to avoid a holiday disaster, order plenty of inventory, shipping and packaging supplies. You might need bags and extra printed materials for a special coupon for a percentage off to draw shoppers back in for your after Christmas sale.
Install a New POS System. If you are going to use new technology,such as a point of sale system, to transact business in your retail store this holiday, you need to install it now and get everyone trained on how to use it. Long lines are a drag, so you should equip your staff to help customer as fast as possible.
Promote that You’re Participating in Small Business Saturday. Reach out to local media about your plans for Small Business Saturday and encourage them to come by to hear your business’ story. Make sure all your social media pages are up to date and post content about your business’ plans for the day. American Express has set up a whole website for you to provide marketing materials and ideas. Plan an event for Small business Saturday to draw in customers, such as a pop-up shop, kick-off breakfast or partner with several local businesses to sponsors a holiday festival. You can even garner extra publicity if you make it a toy or coat drive for kids. It is a great way for you to get the whole community out to Shop Small on Small Business Saturday.
No matter what you sell, you should be running a sale this holiday season. Don’t be afraid to spend money to make money. Online advertising should be part of any strategy. Even if you focus all your effort on just one product, you could set yourself up for a beautiful new year.