5 Ways to Grab Your Share of Holiday Retail Spending
by Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
- Created: November 17, 2011, 2:30 am
The holiday shopping season is already upon us, and as soon as Thanksgiving passes, it will hit full swing. The good news for small retailers is that it's not too late to grab your share of holiday shopping dollars—but with Black Friday just a week away, you do need to act fast.Here are five things you can do right now that will make a huge difference in your holiday retail sales:
- Get involved with Small Business Saturday. Sponsored by American Express, this nationwide initiative to encourage consumers to “buy local” and support small, independent businesses in their communities on the Saturday after Black Friday. This year, that’s November 26, so there’s no time to lose. Visit the Small Business Saturday site and Facebook page to get ideas and tools to help you market Small Business Saturday to your customers and get involved. You can get in-store signage, email marketing tools and even free Facebook ads to let your customers know about the event.
- Get found. A survey by Internet Retailer found that 36 percent of all holiday shopping tasks this year will take place online. You don’t have to sell products online to benefit from that, however. The shopping tasks cited include researching products, looking for stores and checking prices, which means even a brick-and-mortar location can benefit by using consumers’ online searches to drive traffic. To make sure stressed-out shoppers find your store when they’re researching retailers or out driving around, make sure your business has a presence on local search and review sites such as Local.com, Google Places and Yelp.com. Encourage satisfied customers to review your business—the more information is online about you, the higher you’ll come up in search engine results.
- Get social. Another way your store can benefit from consumers’ constant presence online is by ramping up your social media presence (you do have one, right?). One of the main reasons consumers follow businesses on social media is to get discounts and deals, so use Twitter and Facebook to let customers know about specials, sales and promotions your store is offering. It’s not all about the deals, though; once consumers are already following you, use social media to share the holiday spirit and get people excited about shopping in your store. Post pictures of your festive décor, great gift ideas, employees wearing holiday hats or customers at a party in your shop.
- Get ready. Sure, consumers are focused on price this year. Given the economy, can you blame them? But the holiday gift-giving season isn’t just about dollar figures. Create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in your store that encourages customers to linger. Use creative window displays to lure people in, and music, scents and décor to keep them shopping inside. Whatever your brand, put a holiday twist on it and have fun.
- Give great service. It’s all about customer service at the holidays, and here’s where a small business can truly excel. Go out of your way to provide a personal touch. If you’re hiring extra help, look for warm, friendly and relaxed people who can put customers in a good mood even when lines get long. Make sure your staff is well-trained and well-versed in all your products and prices. Empower them to make their own decisions to keep customers happy—the holidays are no time to go “by the book.” Go above and beyond with little touches like wrapping purchases in festive tissue or sending thank-you notes to follow up with customers after they buy. Little things mean a lot, especially during the busy holiday season.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rievaand visit her blog at SmallBizDaily.com. Visit her website SmallBizTrendCastto get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.
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