By: Mia Huntington
Senior Vice President & General Manager, Elavon Canada

Every year, Canadians use the second Sunday in May to show their love for their moms and mother figures with flowers, cards, gifts and special meals. It’s one of the most popular holidays — crossing cultural and religious boundaries, there are about 10 million mothers in Canada with 80% intending to celebrate the day. For retailers and restaurants of all sizes, this translates to an opportunity for increased traffic.

Whether you’re a small business with a local storefront or have recently opened up an online shop, it’s a smart idea to find ways to celebrate Mother’s Day this year. Here are five ideas to help you make the most of the increased demand for goods and services.

1. Share gift ideas. Consumers are always looking for ways to simplify their lives and purchases, and shopping for something special can sometimes be tough. Providing them with suggestions on gifts mom will like is ideal for the busy shopper. Set up a Mother’s Day section on your website or in store with a curated selection of recommendations. Offering free gift-wrapping or gift boxes is another great way to go the extra mile for your customers.

2. Highlight special offers with your marketing campaigns. Everyone loves a good deal, and Mother’s Day is no exception. Consider special offers and discounts for your customers on great gifts for mom. Some retailers even team up with other businesses to offer a combo package. For example, if you’re a spa or salon owner you might work with a shoe retailer to offer discounted foot massages with a purchase of over $100. Or if you sell goods for women such as clothing or candles, you might team up with a sports club to offer a discount. Be sure to communicate these deals in your marketing — everything from e-newsletters to social media to signage helps get the word out and increases interest.

3. Create special menus. Among those who celebrate the occasion, a survey last year found that half of those will do so at a restaurant. Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for brunch reservations and second busiest day for dining after Valentine’s Day. It’s also the biggest group dining day of the year, with the average reservation being for four guests. Give the surge in happy diners a unique offering with special menus for brunch, lunch or dinner. Don’t forget to set up the special items in your POS system so you or your servers can quickly and efficiently punch in the many orders.

4. Prepare for a boost to your business. While there’s no “Black Friday” equivalent for Mother’s Day, most businesses begin planning the event in early April, with a big promotional push just before the weekend. Get ready for this increase by scheduling extra staff when you expect to be busiest. Also, make sure you’re always following key security tips to make sure your customer’s personal data is secure, especially when it comes to their payment information. Make sure your payment processor uses state-of-the-art encryption and continually updates your system to the latest internet technology standards.

5. Evaluate your efforts. Once the crowds have cleared out, take some time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t so you’re prepared for next year. Which gifts were the most popular? What promotions were people most excited about? What days did you get the most traffic?

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