Business

Deck the Halls of your Small Business with Increased Sales

6 easy tips and tricks to take advantage of this holiday season.

prepare your mall business for the holidays
The holidays are an opportunity--a stressful, stressful opportunity. (Image courtesy of Azoth Capital)

We’re coming up on that time of year again--holiday parties, big dinners, and, most important to small business owners--the holiday spending rush. And it’s no wonder that owners are coming up with holiday campaigns as early as September; statistics show that 20-40% of sales for small business occur in the last two months of the year. There are lots of easy ways to increase your business’s visibility (and therefore sales, assuming you’ve got a decent product or service to offer), including:

  • Having a sale
  • Email and social media campaigns
  • Holding an event
  • Decorating your shop window for the holidays

Whether you’ve been planning for the end of the year consumer frenzy since July or you haven’t done anything yet, here are 6 easy tips and tricks to increase your revenue at the most crucial time of the year.

Find Out What Sold Last Year

sales graphs
Planning means an adequate amount of looking back as well as ahead.

Forbes recommends looking at what sold well last year to know what to feature by season. Sort by highest dollar amount and then by quantities sold during the last holiday season. These are the products and services that you’ll want to promote in discount sales, social media and email campaigns, so it’s good to output them to a list.

Check your inventory or contact your supplier (if you have one) to make sure the inventory you want to feature is available. You could make a case to your supplier for a discount on a greater quantity of inventory. It’s good to get into the habit of knowing what sells well in every season to maximize sales all year long.

Hold a Holiday Sale

discounts, discounts everywhere meme
Before you say, “well, duh,” read on for exactly how to hold your holiday sale to maximize your number of customers. (Image courtesy of Never Say Die Beauty)

Yeah, yeah, obviously hold a sale, everyone loves a sale. And we do it because it works. But there is a method to the madness, a way to get more customers into your store. How? Keep these tips in mind when planning your sale:

Offer one large bargain a day.

Offering big discounts (30% or more) on some popular item or brand name item will bring holiday shoppers in if you’ve got some brand name or popular item that everyone is looking for (and you’ll know what that is after looking at last year’s sales)

Make it a discount, not a thing.

Sure, you can offer everyone a free pair of socks with their purchase, but what if your buyers feel they have enough socks for the holiday season? On the other hand, no one can resist a good discount.

Make sure your discount is worthwhile.

Shoppers these days are used to being spoiled by their businesses. A 5% off discount is not going to get buyers storming through your doors. On individual items, the bigger the discount the better--buyers will compare.

But make sure the discount is worthwhile to you, too. If you offer a $10 off coupon on a future offer with no minimum purchase necessary, people could just continually get free items and coupons. This could really eat into your profits. Protect yourself and your profits with some conditions worthy of a customer coming in, but that won’t eat entirely into your profits. For more of a guide on how to do it, check out these 5 marks of a great sales event.

Hold a Holiday Event

two children sitting on santa's lap
Who doesn’t love coming to see Santa Claus--or any kind of holiday entertainment, for that matter? (Image courtesy of SusanvilleStuff.com)

There are a whole slew of vendor events going on this holiday season in Columbus alone--from vendor shows to pop up shops to downtown events. But even if you’re not signed up to join in on one of these organized events in your city, there’s nothing stopping you from holding your own event in your store.

Go traditional and have Santa Claus visit, or get a little more creative (and a little more relevant to what you’re selling). If you’re a health store, offer a free smoothie workshop to drum up sales, and offer gift certificates to spread the word. If you’re a brewery, offer up a special discounted holiday brew class. Our number one piece of advice: consider what kind of event you would go to. No turnout = no sales.

For some more advice on how to do it right, check out these mistakes to avoid while planning an event.

Get on Your Advertising Game

santa pointing at floating message icons
Email and social media campaigns are winning out over traditional mail campaigns--and they’re free! (Image courtesy of InSite Media)

There are two routes to go this holiday season--email and social media campaigns--and we suggest taking advantage of both of them. Social media is hot right now, almost 40% of the world’s population is on social media, but not every platform is equal in terms of reaching your customer base, as different demographics are on different platforms. For tips and tricks on which platforms to use and how to use them for the benefit of your business, check out this article on maintaining a social media campaign.

As for email, it still dominates as the world’s number one most disruptive method for reaching your customer base. Pretty much everyone has an email. The key is getting them to look at it. And in this age, it’s about making your customer base feel special.

Hopefully you’ve already got an email newsletter going. But you can also send out special emails with personalized offers that have not been offered to the general public. Or an email a day with the special bargains from your holiday sale that you’re holding. Whatever you do, be sure to add your customer’s name in the subject line. It makes the email more personable and more noticeable, which will get your customer clicking on it.

30 creative email ideas for your holiday email marketing
And if you need a little more inspiration on exactly what to send in those holiday emails, try any one of these 30 ideas. (Image courtesy of Constant Contact Blog)

Decorate Your Shop for the Holidays

shop decorated for christmas
We are suckers for a beautiful holiday display! (Image courtesy of Downtown Memphis)

Take advantage of the extra foot traffic this holiday season and create a gorgeous, show-stopping storefront that draws potential customers in. Moving parts are always a plus--moving trains are classic and catch the eye.

But bringing them to the storefront isn’t enough. Offer them something when they get there. A cookie and a small drink, an enticing smell (unless you sell beef, then that would be weird), a poster of your sale that you’re doing (have we sold the holiday sale enough to you yet?). Something to get your customer base walking into your store and buying.

If you don’t have a storefront (as some of us ecommerces do not), spruce up your website with some (tasteful) holiday designs, maybe leave a cute holiday video. But also make sure to play up any sales, holiday events or anything else enticing your customers to shop with your company this holiday season. (We’re also very partial to those videos where you can put your employees’ heads on dancing elves. Don’t know if they’re still in style, but man, they were great.)

Use their Phones to Get Them In

men in suits walking while looking down at phone
Most people look like this these days. Stop them in their tracks with proximity marketing. (Image courtesy of The Financial Express)

You can make a Macy’s level holiday window display but it doesn’t matter if your customers are walking by staring at their phones.

But by using proximity marketing that broadcasts your desired messages (sales, events, you get it) to phones within a certain distance using iBeacon or Smart Antenna, you can get your customers looking up and stepping into your store.

Smart Antenna is especially enticing as it operates using bluetooth and wifi and does not require consumers to download an app like iBeacon does.

Take advantage of the numerous gift giving holidays out there (it’s not just Christmas out there!) by getting your business in the holiday spirit! And if you’re in the spirit of gifting yourself with some new real estate for your business, hit up these HER commercial listings for some holiday shopping.