The holiday season is usually the busiest period of the year for many small business retailers. The opportunity to capitalize on the holidays in the APAC region has never been greater and is continuing to grow – Real Average Annual Disposable Income per Capita in the Asia-Pacific Region is up over US$500 in the past four years (Euromonitor).
For many it is an unparalleled opportunity to drive sales and turn large profits but many are likely already feeling snowed under by the ramp-up of the busy holiday season. So how do small retailers deal with the added pressure, and opportunity, this holiday period? The below list of tips and actionable advice on what retailers can do now to get ready for a profitable holiday acts as a blueprint for success.
1. Create a plan
Consumer demand means plans may change based on a variety of factors out of your control such as the weather. Forecast worst and best case scenarios. How much product is needed? What are printing and shipping deadlines? Local pack and ship services can help save time and money.
2. Use technology
Create electronic copies of all your flyers, business cards, advertisements, etc. beforehand. Digital files can easily be sent to print using any web browser, supported mobile apps or file sharing services. Also if your promotional material is digital it encourages it to be shared around social media helping expand the reach of your message.
3. Leverage key events
Plan to take part in small business events and encourage shoppers to choose small businesses for their holiday shopping. Word of mouth from your existing customers is a very powerful tool in driving new sales.
4. Stay organized
Keep a creative and up-to-date office calendar in clear view for employees to see. Print a dry-erase or laminated, oversized calendar and include important dates such as your busiest days, the office holiday party, approved vacation time, key delivery dates, shipping deadlines, etc. You may also want to consider a shared electronic calendar which can send live changes and updates to your employees.
5. Customize your look
Every other business is also trying to capitalize on the buzz around the holidays so you need to make yourself stand out from the crowd Create marketing materials that set you apart from competitors. Design custom holiday materials for your website or other online properties and create e-coupons that can be sent out via email and social media. There are templates and samples are available online to help with your seasonal needs.
Focus on Your Customers
6. Be engaging
Eye-catching, colorful and clear storefront signage is a great way to attract new customers during the holiday season. Eight in ten consumers enter a store and 68% make a purchase after noticing an eye catching sign. Create custom holiday signage that is bold and bright with a simple message.
7. Say thank you
Reward loyal customers. Use your customer mailing list to send out holiday e-cards that not only thank them for their continual business, but include coupons or discount announcements that will keep them coming back for more. If your time and list size permit, try using personalized messages to your most valuable customers. By building customer advocacy you drive positive word of mouth – there is nothing as powerful for a small business than a recommendation from friends or family.
8. Get personal
Set goals to reach out personally via phone call or personalized digital communications to your customers beginning mid-January to begin discussions on their plans and needs for the New Year. Being proactive and consistent in your outreach helps them think of your business when the need arises.