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How to prepare your business for the holiday shopping season

November 19, 2013

The holiday shopping season is an excellent time for small businesses to boost their sales. Being prepared is important during this time of the year, and with these tips, your small business will thrive during the holidays.

As the holiday season approaches, so does the busiest shopping season of the year. For many businesses, this means there will be an increase in the demand for their products or services. In order to provide optimal customer service, it is necessary to start getting your business prepared for the holiday season. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the busy holiday shopping season, so that you can make sure your business is a success:

1. Start advertising early – With holidays such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Hanukkah and Christmas all around the corner, the sooner you start marketing your holiday sales, the better! Big brands and department stores start rolling out their holiday marketing campaigns early, which mean small and midsize businesses should follow suite.

According to Chase’s 2016 Business Leaders Outlook, 40 percent of small business owners expect the holiday season to start sooner this year compared to last year. If you are planning on waiting until December to start your holiday marketing campaigns – it might be too late! Start marketing your holiday promotions as soon as possible in order to see optimal results.

2. Target your customers – With Black Friday and Cyber Monday growing more popular and competitive each year, the consumers are doing their homework. Prior to their holiday shopping, they are educating themselves on where to get their products at the best price point. Make sure you are targeting your customers through social media, in-store and through online marketing so your customer knows what you have to offer.

3. Hire seasonal employees – There’s a strong chance that you’ll see an increase in in-store traffic during the holiday shopping season. Make sure your staff is trained in handling larger crowds, responding to customer complaints and knowledgeable about your products or services. You should never turn customers away because you are understaffed! In order to accommodate holiday crowds, considering investing in seasonal hiring. Having additional employees working during the holiday hustle could take your holiday efforts from good to great! If you can’t afford to pay for extra full-time employees, seasonal hiring can be a cost-efficient alternative.

4. Focus on loyal customers – While it is valuable to try and recruit new customers, make sure that you’re still trying to target your existing customer base, too. Let your current customers’ satisfaction with your store be a driving force in attracting new traffic around the holidays. If you keep your consistent customers satisfied, they’ll likely recommend your business to their family and friends. That’s free marketing that you can’t stand to lose out during the holidays!

5. Extend holiday business hours – Although it might be tough, consider extending your business hours. Opening early and staying open later can be extremely beneficial, and your customers will appreciate having the extra time to shop. If extending your business hours means making more sales, it will be well-worth it!

6. Update your business’s website – Make sure your website is up-to-date prior to the holiday rush. List business hours, share pictures of holiday inventory and include details about upcoming sales. If you provide your customers with this information, they’ll be more inclined to make purchases from your business!

Make sure your small business succeeds this holiday shopping season by getting started on holiday marketing campaigns, seasonal hiring and other efforts as soon as possible. Take advantage of the holidays by getting started on holiday preparations as early as possible! We hope that with these tips, your small business will have its most profitable season yet!

Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in November 2016.

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