7 Ways Businesses Can Start Preparing for the 2015 Holidays

7 Ways Businesses Can Start Preparing for the 2015 Holidays

by Brette Sember, Esq., October 2015

Shoppers will spend more than $55 billion this holiday season. It’s time now to start planning for the business holidays so that you can meet demand and capitalize on this busy time of year. Shopping starts at Halloween, so the sooner you are ready, the better.

Year Round Preparation

Holiday marketing is a year round job. Throughout the year you should work on building your email list so that you can reach potential customers. Preparing for the holidays includes watching trends throughout the year so you can predict what items will be hot this year.

Inventory Is It

You can’t sell it if you don’t have it in stock. Prepare for the season by building up your inventory. If you handcraft products, it is essential to have them made in advance. Look at what you sold last year and isolate what the most successful items were. Plan to sell these again and then think about what new items might be similar but different enough to sell big this year.

Site Smarts

Important small business advice for Cyber Monday is to be certain your site can handle all the traffic it will get. Make sure you have enough bandwidth so there are no interruptions. Skin your site with Cyber Monday graphics so that customers will think you are offering great deals. It is also essential that your web site has a mobile version since many shoppers are doing all their shopping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday on their phones.

Plan Ahead

Stock up on packing materials, shipping containers, and wrapping paper so you are prepared to ship orders or wrap gift items. Invest in an inventory control system that will allow you to track orders from purchase to delivery. Practice your order fulfillment system so you work out any kinks before prime shopping season.

Communicate Well

For your online business, clearly state the last shipping day before Christmas. You don’t want customers to be disappointed by missing gifts. Make sure your return policy is also clear so there can be no questions. Be available to answer customer service emails and calls throughout the season in a timely manner so that you don’t miss out on a sale.

Discount Dividends

One of the best holiday business tips is to use discounts to get customers. Offer a one-time discount for new customers. Entice existing customers with return customer discounts. Offer small discounts for customers who check in on social media when in your store (so they help you spread the word to potential new customers). Ask customers to provide their email address so they can be notified of your ongoing sales and specials.

Prepare with People

One of many small business tips is to hire additional holiday help so that your brick and mortar store is well-staffed and you have enough people to keep your site up, answer customer questions, and handle all shipping in a timely manner.

Promote Your Sales

One of the holiday marketing tips you need to know is that customers begin preparing for holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. Leverage all the ways to market your business through social media, local ads, email campaigns, and brick and mortar signs weeks before Black Friday. Tease your Small Business Saturday sales well in advance with signs in your store and ads. Post photos of sale items on Instagram and create Facebook and Twitter campaigns to slowly release your sale prices a week before Black Friday. 

Holiday sales preparation is crucial to your success. With some preparation, you can make 2015 your best holiday sales year ever.