American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010. With the changing shopping trends, the bulk of holiday shopping will be done online.
Here are a few tips to make the best of/ survive the holiday season.
Timing Is Everything
The end of September is when the stores start rolling out their holiday merchandise and playing that awful Christmas music. It helps get people, who are channeling their inner Grinch, like me, get in the mood for the worst time of the year. Since everyone has shopping on the brain, it is a great way to entice consumers to spend their money at your establishment.
You need to know your best shopping dates. Is your business strictly e-commerce? Then Cyber Monday is for you. If you are a physical location, Black Friday is what you should be focusing on. If you are a bit of both? Do different sales each day.
- Cyber Monday should be strictly online deals for in-store pickup or shipping. Offering free shipping is a nice perk for customers. Especially in the world where free 2-day shipping is the norm and expected.
- Customers need to know the last day to make a purchase to ensure delivery before Christmas.
Take advantage of dates that other retailers are not promoting and stand out from the crowd. Especially to the last-minute shoppers.
- Green Monday, the Monday before Christmas.
- Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas is another shopping day that most other retailers are not promoting, doing so helps you stand out from the crowd and especially appealing to the last-minute shoppers.
Beat fraud with top-of-the-line security.
The holidays are a busy time for hackers and fraudsters. Let your customers have peace of mind by making sure everything is secure, updated and compliant. Make sure that your equipment is capable of doing the necessary encryption for all transactions.
Make your website mobile-friendly.
More and more shopping is done online and from a mobile device. Making sure that your website is mobile-friendly is a must. Not doing so, could cause you to lose out on quite a bit of revenue. According to Google, 64% of shoppers use mobile search on smartphones for product ideas before heading to the store. Having an omni-commerce payment solution, like Converge allows you to accept multiple payment options; Being able to take credit and debit card payments as well as newer payment methods that customers expect like Android and Apple Pay. Converge is flexible and secure and allows the use of online shopping carts.
Is an “App” worth it?
Businesses that do have apps will swear by them. Having an app is not feasible for all merchants, but if you can, you really should. Apps allow merchants to connect with customers in more direct ways, by using push notifications for sales, or saving up points/rewards. Exclusive in-app sales are the driving force to keep customers checking for exclusive in-app discounts and updated content. more than half of all internet traffic shopping is done from a mobile device, it only makes sense to take advantage of that by having mobile-friendly pages and/or an app.
A Few Ways To Help Boost Exposure
- Start trying to get as many reviews as you can, most people will research a product and check reviews before making a final decision.
- Taking advantage of ad campaigns, offering giveaways, hosting open houses, customers can use their business cards to enter into a drawing for a gift certificate or a free item.
- Online exclusive deals, promotions.
- Different incentives for online vs in-store.
- Offer pre-packaged gift sets
- Having gift wrapping is a huge plus for customers that larger stores don’t offer.
Having to compete with bigger businesses who have a bigger budget is hard, merchants need to get creative with their advertising. Considering offering things that are unique to your business is a magnet for customers to want to visit your establishment and take advantage of a more personable shopping experience that consumers crave.
How much does that “experience” really matter?
From a customer’s viewpoint, if the experience is negative, 90% of online shoppers say they have or will hurt a retailer in response to a bad post-purchase experience, ranging from sharing their frustrations on social media to never purchasing from that site again. “ Millennials, in particular, are happy to go public: 30% will complain in an online review or social media post after they experience post-purchase issues”.
Some of the most common complaints to be aware of include; late delivery, expensive shipping, tracking issues, confusing return policies and lost or incorrect items
Fun Facts For The Day
- RetailMeNot reported the average customer is ready to spend around $700 on the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- When you shop local, that money stays local. It was reported that spending $100 at a local business results in $68 that stays in that community, compared to the $43 for national and franchised businesses.
- Local money stays local. Spending $100 at a local business reportedly results in $68 that stays in the community, compared to $43 for national and franchise businesses.