5 Tips to Maximize Your Holiday Sales

The holiday season is the time when many businesses turn a profit. A well-organized business owner can get ahead of the curve and earn enough money over winter to carry the shop through the lean early-year months.

Tip 1: Plan Early

According to the National Retail Foundation, over 40% of shoppers will start their holiday purchasing before Halloween. This means that you should start thinking about your holiday sales campaign at least two months before the actual season starts. A great way to reach out to your customers is by offering them promotions that run for the whole season, for example “10% off all electronics in December”.

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Tip 2: Plan for Both Early Bird Shoppers and Last Minute Sales

Most big-ticket items are bought early in the shopping season so you should advertise sales on pricier items first. Last minutes sales can include deeply discounted big-ticket or trendy items to encourage impulse buying. These sales strategies may also include items that don’t require shipping such as gift card codes or subscriptions to a monthly service.

Tip 3: Offer free shipping or shipping upgrades

Customers love the words “free shipping” and some even include it in their search terms. If you want to offer this service during the holidays, there are ways you can still make a profit. First, you can slightly raise the overall price to offset that cost. Secondly, you can offer free shipping only for purchases over a certain amount, or on bulk orders. This strategy encourages multiple purchases. As the holiday season comes to a close, you can also offer a free upgrade from standard to express shipping to attract shoppers who are still looking for that perfect gift just days before Christmas.

Tip 4: Implement Loyalty Programs

One of the most effective ways of reaching out to customers is by offering an enticing loyalty program. You can encourage them to sign up for your program by offering bonuses like discount codes or early access to holiday sales. You can also offer them a special “sneak peak” at your holiday discount schedule. There, eager and financially savvy customers can find out in advance which items will be on sale and when. If you’re using this strategy, be sure to offer a wide range of items throughout the sales period to appeal to customers with every personal taste.
Tip 5: Have a Strong Online Presence

More and more customers are turning to online-only shopping for the holiday season because of its convenience, 24/7 availability, and ease of browsing the store’s entire catalog. Even if your small business is only in a brick and mortar store you’re sure to be missing on many potential customers if you don’t have a website. The costs for a website vary significantly depending on complexity and whether you want to hire a professional designer (starting around $2,000 and up). It’s also possible to DIY for much less, and there are a number of template services that offer monthly rates. This strategy works best for smaller, boutique businesses or business owners who already have some web design experience. A good breakdown of current prices is available at FitSmallBusiness.com.

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You can’t predict the twists and turns of the economy, but you can maximize the chances your business will have a great holiday season. First and most importantly, start planning months ahead of time. Create a sales and promotional program that will attract both early and late shoppers. Create a strong online presence to market to new customers and better serve online shoppers. Finally, consider implementing perks like loyalty programs, free shipping, and shipping upgrades.

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