Ideas that Click: Stand Out with Customers This Holiday
How Your Business Can Leverage Technology To Capitalize On Increased Consumer Spending
By Maureen Link
No matter what industry your business is in, the winter holiday season gets busy. According to the National Retail Federation, the winter holidays account for nearly 20 percent of total annual consumer sales. In 2013, U.S. holiday celebrants spent more than $600 billion on gifts, food, decorations, and more.
Even if your business doesn’t directly serve consumers, chances are your clients’ businesses do. The question becomes, how can your business help, and how can you capitalize on the increase in spending activity.
There are several ways you can leverage technology to navigate your business through the holiday rush and get a healthy piece of the increased spending.
Do the Prep Work Now
Start building your holiday plan now and organize your resources. Thorough preparation includes anticipating staffing schedules and stocking up on inventory. Beyond that, determine whether your software is adequate to manage payroll and human resource issues, as well as to track inventory.
A holiday prep checklist should also include an evaluation of how well your existing technology will support an increase in demand. Will you need to increase bandwidth or add a phone line for a couple of weeks to handle additional incoming sales or service volume?
Tune Up Your Website
Local businesses are relying more and more on their web presence to compete with national and e-commerce competition. Leveraging online technology, small businesses can inform and engage customers, and allow customers to shop at their convenience. Websites provide a great opportunity to present a professional and credible image in the marketplace.
This is the time to update your website to feature products like gift baskets or gift cards that are most popular during the holiday season. Make sure your website includes all details a customer would need to make a purchasing decision. That could mean adding the size and dimension of a product or store hours.
Send Useful Holiday Greetings
Since consumers spend more at this time of year, communicating with them is key to getting more dollars through your doors. These communications should be consistent and informative, and social media and email newsletters are effective tools for achieving both goals.
This is the time to remind previous customers about your business and that you provide a product or a service that can be useful during the holiday season. Educate these customers about your business beyond what they know from their last experience. A catering company may wish to promote its Thanksgiving Day menu, or an auto parts store may want to send information on the importance of snow tires and how antifreeze works. Newsletters and social media should also be used to announce holiday promotions, including free shipping, free gift wrap, or any other information on how your business is relevant to your customers’ lives during this time of year.
To attract new customers, you can launch a holiday referral program. Leverage social media and newsletters to provide details on how your business will reward current customers with discounts for referring their friends and family. Make sure signing up for the program is simple and that customers can easily Like, Share, and Favorite the program on social media.
One Last Thing
One last thing to consider is that it may be a busy time for you and your business, but it’s also a busy time for your customers. Providing basic conveniences for customers at your place of business can help them get more done while making purchases. Consider offering customers WiFi so they can check in with work from your waiting room or dining room, or having TVs tuned to cable so they can stay updated on weather and other important events.
Topics: SMALL BUSINESS
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