Small businesses usually see a surge in activity and sales during this time of year, but that may not be the case this year.
With the economy in flux and the market taking consistent hits, many small businesses are unsure of their Christmas prospects. Many are just getting ready for the influx of customers the same way they have in the past.
To help you be as well-prepared as possible, we have outlined the four most important changes taking place right now that will affect the Christmas market in the long run.
The cost of living, as well as the price of petrol and groceries, all appear to have increased. Since the prices of today’s necessities are higher than they were a year ago, shoppers will need to cut back in other areas to stay within their budgets.
In other words, you shouldn’t count on repeating the record sales you set during the holiday period last year. You must think ahead to the potential effects of inflation on sales and on your typical customer. As shoppers reevaluate their spending this holiday season, your pricing strategy may help you attract a new customer. Perhaps you should do some price testing as well. An increase in prices could counteract a decline in demand. To attract more customers, however, you could try offering discounts. Having the option to try out different prices now can really help you push things in the right direction as the year comes to a close.
The key to a prosperous holiday season for stores lies in maintaining a healthy stock balance. For instance, you might decide against increasing stock if your data indicates a decline in demand. You could try starting the season with enough supplies and seeing how that goes instead. It’s fine to wait to place an order until later; in the meantime, you can promote and sell the other products in your store.
It’s also important to do a headcount of your staff. Even if seasonal hiring is the norm for you, take your time and make sure you find the right people for the job. You shouldn’t put too much stress on your employees, but you shouldn’t keep idle hands on the payroll either. You can keep your business running efficiently through the holidays and beyond by automating routine tasks.
While you may be tempted to scale back your marketing in anticipation of fewer sales this holiday season, that would be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Your competitors will still be advertising, and if you scale back you won’t even be considered an option by consumers.
In times of economic uncertainty, people turn to distractions, and one of the biggest distractions today is social media. Your audience is active on social media sites, scrolling through content, which makes it a perfect avenue to showcase your products and holiday promos.
If you’re going to make some room in your budget by not ordering as much inventory or hiring as many people as you would have in the past, it’s not a bad idea to put that spend towards social media advertising. It’s a great way to get your product and brand in front of the right people as well as expand your reach beyond the expected foot traffic (if you have a storefront).
A more cost-efficient way to utilise social media is to build out a social media calendar and fill it with a strategic holiday promotion push. Make sure your existing network is aware of the great deals you’re offering and direct them to purchase pages or lead magnets with each post. Or, you can double down on your social ads by filling your profile with additional resources and information, which can help encourage on-the-fence buyers to seal the deal.
As previously mentioned, you may be scaling back on hiring additional holiday staff this year. Now, that may be a choice, or finding reliable staff may simply be difficult right now.
Either way, if you need some additional help this year, utilising marketing automation is a great way to keep your team lean while still adding a few extra sets of working “hands.”
You can use your marketing automation tool to send out your holiday campaigns to prospects, which can increase conversions and sales while you’re busy prepping for in-person customers or other holiday sales-related tasks.
Labor shortages are nationwide and span almost every industry, so it’s safe to say that delivery and shipping times may be extended due to low staff. What’s more, online shopping has increased exponentially due to the pandemic, and the online buying trend will only continue for the holidays. Typically with online purchases, people can be a bit flexible with turnaround times, however, if they’re buying gifts for the holidays, that flexibility goes out the window. If you’re in the eCommerce industry, make sure you’re prepared for delayed shipping times, otherwise, you’ll have some angry customers on your hands.
You may be wondering what you can do since you’re at the mercy of logistics companies. A solution could be to offer in-store pick-ups.
This holiday season may not look like it did in years past, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. There are things you can do to prepare in advance for impressive sales and happy customers no matter what economic challenges pop up as we round out the year. For more assistance with your marketing needs and using marketing tools to increase your sales and conversions this Christmas, get in touch. To find out how we can help visit our services page or book a Free 30 Minute Discovery Call today!