6 ways to cash in on the holiday shopping rush
Is your business ready to make the most of the seasonal increase in foot and web traffic? This time of year offers businesses an excellent opportunity to do more than increase sales for a couple of months. If you plan ahead and play your cards right, you can build engaging long-term relationships and customer loyalty. Check out these tips to get new and existing customers to spend more this season and keep coming back throughout the year.
1. Sell to the “market of one.”
Today, customers expect their favourite stores and brands to know them well enough to anticipate their wants and needs, and new technology makes that easier than ever. Offer the individualized experiences they expect with insights from your payment processor, such as suggested products based on past purchases. Be sure to emphasize this personalized feeling with customized touches, like free gift-wrapping, exceptional customer service and handwritten thank-you notes included in online shopping packages. You can even send your best customers a holiday card in the mail.
2. Take your marketing to the next level
Get customers excited about holiday shopping and keep that enthusiasm going until December 24 with fun and festive promotions, exclusive discounts, sales and loyalty perks. You don’t have to take out expensive ads — digital marketing through your social media channels and e-newsletters that advertises deals and contests is effective and budget-friendly. Be sure to offer special reasons to shop during key days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday, as well as mid-week lull periods.
3. Expand your selling channels
With more consumers turning to online shopping or doing online research before buying something in store, it’s essential that you make it easy to shop small online with a site that’s optimized for ecommerce and mobile. Making your customers’ online shopping experience smooth and hassle-free will help boost your sales online and in store. Ask yourself: Is it easy to browse through my product offerings? When I’m viewing an item, am I offered recommendations of products that others have purchased at the same time? Is my checkout process quick, easy and secure? Is all of this still true when I browse my website on mobile or another smart device? Have a friend or family member go through your website as well — they might find issues you’ve missed because you’re so close to the project.
4. Order inventory ahead of time
Anticipate holiday orders by boosting your inventory of popular items that tend to sell out. Check with your suppliers for their own internal deadlines and shipping times, which may be longer than expected during this busier time of year. Don’t forget to have enough basic office supplies, too. Think shipping supplies, packaging, stamps, staples and pens — essentials you definitely don’t want to have to run out for when you have a lineup of customers waiting to cash out.
5. Partner with other businesses
Remind customers of a key benefit of shopping at a local small business — supporting the community. Consider partnering up with a local charity or sports team to donate a percentage of seasonal profits to their worthy cause. You can also help your community by setting up a toy or food drive drop-off location in your store. As a business owner this costs you next to nothing, but it will encourage foot traffic, help your neighbours in need and help you and your customers feel like you’re paying it forward.
6. Double check your payment processor
Before the holiday rush gets into full swing, ensure that your payment processor is up to the challenge. Whether you’re accepting payments in person, online or on the go, customers expect state-of-the-art security and the ability to pay with credit, debit and electronic gift cards, as well as more innovative payment methods like Apple Pay and Android Pay. At Elavon, we extend powerful payment solutions for all payment types and processing environments, ensuring that your business, whatever the size, remains well connected. We protect your business with secure solutions and an exceptional uptime service rate of 99.99% and 24/7 support — meaning anytime you have a problem, we’ll be there to help. We also offer secure mobile and wireless payment processing solutions to protect data both in transit and at rest.