It might be too soon to hear Jingle Bells on your favorite radio station or to hang the stockings by your chimney with care, but as a business owner it is never too soon to start preparing for holiday sale season.

 

Many retailers, small and large alike, do over 30% of their annual sales in the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That is too big of a percentage and too small of a window to leave anything to chance.

 

At Summa Media, we have worked with many of our clients on holiday sales preparation and have learned a thing or two over the years. While the holidays may understandably look a bit different this year that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for the season. In fact, as a business leader, it means you should be preparing more than ever before to ensure you reach your goals this year.

 

To help you reach your holiday sales targets and come out of the season feeling holly jolly, the Summa Media team is sharing our best practices with you today. Keep reading below to learn more!

 

Preparing Your Store for the Holiday Season

 

  1. Make your store feel like the holidays

 

Whether you own a brick and mortar store or are an online retailer, you need to spruce up your store for the holidays! When people walk into your store or enter your site, they should be reminded that they are shopping for the holidays.

 

Brick and mortar retailers, consider decorating a little bit with festive decor. Don’t feel like you need to put up a tree and decorate everything in red and green if you don’t want to though! Snowflakes, glitter, silver, and gold also go a long way in turning your store into a winter wonderland. Consider turning on some holiday tunes and burning a peppermint scented candle to really set the stage if you are so inclined!

 

Online retailers, consider changing some of your graphics for the holiday season to reflect the time of the year. Work with a team of experts such as the team at Summa Media to make sure that you add just the right amount of holiday flair to your website without overwhelming or confusing your visitors.

 

  1. Sell in bundles and try to upsell

 

The holiday season is the best time to create bundles or give discounts on products that pair well with others in order to incentivize a purchase. Consumers want to give their loved ones gifts they deserve and bundles are a great way to stretch the dollar and add something else they may not otherwise be able to.

 

Consider what in your store might pair well together and build your bundles and upsell opportunities from there. When pricing your bundles out, be careful to make sure you are still turning a profit from the sale!

 

  1. Make your store easy to navigate

 

This again applies to both brick and mortar stores and online retailers. Whether they are shopping in person or browsing online, your customers want things to be easy to navigate and items to be easy to find. There is nothing more frustrating than entering a store and being confused about the layout or about which button to click. During the holiday season when we are all stretched extremely thin, a poorly laid out store is a quick way to lose prospective customers.

 

  1. Use time sensitive offers to create a sense of urgency

 

Time sensitive offers are a great way to convert customers, especially during the holiday season where there is a holiday acting as a deadline. Using language in your promotions such as final chance, only a few left, or sale ends at midnight, help create a sense of urgency in your customers. If they have a particular gift in mind for a friend or family member, seeing that ticking clock on a deal is likely to get them to act quickly before the sale ends rather than taking the time to browse or shop elsewhere.

 

  1. Launch holiday focused paid campaigns

 

We have discussed this many times before, but all of your marketing efforts need to be aligned and this applies to the holiday season as well. During the period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, all of your paid campaigns should be focused on promoting your holiday sales. Take the time to change the verbiage of your campaigns on Google and Facebook to match the holiday season to stay relevant in your customers minds.

 

  1. Utilize cart abandonment emails

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are where shopping carts go to die. Eager shoppers fill their carts with gifts, purchases for themselves, and impulse buys, but are quickly distracted by other promotions or needs. They might leave their shopping cart to think on things or check on another sale and then completely forget about their cart, abandoning it forever.

 

Don’t let them walk away forever. Send a reminder email or two to help jog their memory and encourage them to come back and click purchase!

 

  1. Offer free returns and extended returns

 

The holiday season can sometimes make buyers nervous about returns. They might be concerned that by the time they give their gift, the return window may close, forcing the receiver to live with something they don’t like or need.

 

During the holidays consider extending your return window to New Year’s Day to help ease that fear. You should also consider offering free returns if you do not already for a window of time around the holidays, that way if something doesn’t fit or is the wrong color it can easily be exchanged!

 

  1. Review inventory controls

 

Prior to the holiday rush it is imperative that you review your inventory controls to ensure that you will be ready for the holiday rush. Do you have proper controls in place to let you know when a popular item is running low and needs to be reordered? If not, now is the time to implement a system.

 

Consider investing in an inventory management system in order to help forecast sales and automatically reorder popular items. This will help ensure you are able to fulfill every possible order and your prospective customers don’t look elsewhere

 

  1. Incentivize customers to choose you

 

Why should a shopper choose to purchase with you versus your competitor? What do you offer that your competitor does not?

 

Around the holidays it is popular for retailers to offer free bonus gifts or gift cards to shoppers in order to help incentivize them to choose them over one of their competitors. These little extra bonus gifts often stay with the gift-giver rather than the receiver, making your purchase have a little something in it for them!

 

  1. Have goals and KPIs to measure and track

 

The holiday season is stressful for all retailers and the lead up to the holiday season is even more stressful! Make next year just a little bit less stressful for yourself by setting goals and using KPIs to measure your success in relation to these goals. Understanding the metrics of the season will allow you to see what you did right, what you did wrong, and give you clear areas for improvement in the following year.

If the holiday season has you stressed out this year, you are not alone! Instead of allowing the stress to drown out the joy of the season, consider turning to the experts at Summa Media to help you create your holiday plan and enjoy the season stress free! Contact us today to learn more about our services!

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