The holidays are quickly approaching. If you own a small business, now is the time to start preparations so you can make the most of this busy—and lucrative—time of year. Not sure where to start? This checklist from the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce has everything you need to get your business ready for the holidays.
One of the best ways to attract holiday shoppers is by decorating your storefront. Put up some festive lights, a wreath on the door, and maybe even a holiday-themed window display. If your budget allows, Forbes suggests hiring a professional holiday decorator to really make your storefront pop. This investment will pay off when shoppers are drawn to your store because of its festive atmosphere.
The holidays are the busiest time of year for most businesses, so it's wise to be prepared. If you typically see an uptick in customer traffic during this time, make sure you have enough staff on hand. Fast Capital 360 notes that you'll also want to make sure your shelves are stocked with enough inventory to meet customer demand. Nothing puts a damper on holiday shopping like coming into a store only to find that it's out of stock on the items you want.
If you don't typically staff your store with extra help, now is the time to do it. This will free up your regular employees to focus on providing excellent customer service. When interviewing candidates, be sure to ask about their availability during the busiest times of day and week—you'll want to make sure they're able to work the hours when you need them the most.
Give your marketing materials a makeover to match the season. This includes everything from your website and social media accounts to physical flyers and signage in your store. If you typically run advertising campaigns, now is the time to start planning them out so you can get them scheduled and launched in time for when shoppers start their shopping.
And don't forget about email marketing. Sending out promotional offers and coupons via email is a great way to reach your existing customers and encourage them to shop with you again this holiday season. For an affordable approach, try making PDF flyers you can attach to newsletters or post on your social media pages. PDFs can be quickly adjusted so you can keep them looking fresh. For example, you can easily add a page to PDF documents in just eight steps, then you can download your newest version for sharing with customers.
It's a given there will be late shoppers since not everyone plans ahead. As a result, there's always a mad dash of last-minute shoppers looking for gifts in the days leading up to the big holidays. To appeal to these procrastinators, offer promotions like "free shipping on orders over X amount" or "15% off all purchases made within 24 hours." With incentives like these, you'll increase the likelihood that last-minute shoppers will choose your business over others when they're looking for last-minute gifts.
It's the season for giving, so consider ways that your business can give back to the community this year. You might donate a portion of proceeds from sales on certain days to a local charity, or host a food drive at your store. There are lots of ways to give back, so get creative. Not only will this make your customers feel good about supporting your business, but it will also help improve your company's reputation in the community.
The holidays are a crucial time for businesses—especially small businesses—so it's important to be prepared! By using this checklist, you'll be well on your way toward making this holiday season a success for your business. From decorating your storefront and stocking up on inventory to creating a gift guide and attracting last-minute shoppers, there's plenty you can do to ensure that this holiday season is merry and bright for both you and your customers alike.
If you’re ready to grow your business with the help of great local resources and partnerships, join the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce.