It’s a beautiful time of the year, around the corner is Thanksgiving, a plethora of December holidays, and of course New Years. While this is a time of cheer, celebration, and of course, office parties, it also means that you will need to be ready to have both services and products available to clients whether the request comes a month in advance or 15 minutes before they need a present. So how do you prepare your business for an onslaught of customer demands and needs? Not only meet them in their basic needs for your products but be able to fully exemplify customer service so that they keep coming back long after the holiday rush is over. In this article, we will provide tips on how to prepare your business before the holidays hit, how to use the holidays to bring in new customers, and finally what to do in the midst of a holiday season if you find you are struggling to meet your clients.
There is always a small lull before holiday seasons go into full swing, but the work for holidays starts in that lull. A good business strategy knows that staff must be trained, products premade and tested, and a few new products should be ready for display and sale during the height of the season. Before the holiday hits, have these marketing strategies in place and send out promotions to ensure high client turn out. It might also be time to invest in products that help keep track of daily expenses and business transactions. If you are reluctant to use applications to keep track of sales, train personnel prior to the season to keep track of money and a separate staff member to keep track of product. Once the holiday season is in full swing you don’t want to be onboarding employees on how to appropriately run your day to day business. This is also an excellent time to consider reviewing policies and procedures and getting staff input. You want to be clear about your expectations of them during the holiday season, but it’s also important to hear what has been going right and wrong in the daily business this way you can correct any errors before the big boom hits. One thing that gets overlooked is web preparedness. Is your website ready to handle a number of sales that will be happening leading up to the major holidays? Check in with your favorite tech guys to make sure that you are compatible with heavy shopping traffic. After all, this checking and strategizing, accept that you are going to need backup plans. When all else fails you need a fallback plan that you and your customer service representatives all understand. Finally, do you look ready? What are your storefronts like, and what does your website look like? It is important that you promote your business as holiday ready and looking the part is half the battle.
So you feel more prepared now, you’ve upgraded where necessary and created a marketing strategy trajectory. What is perhaps in that strategy is not just catering to your current clientele, but drawing in more potential loyal customers. So how do you utilize holiday seasons to draw in new people? Marketing in a way to target your audience will not only boost a company’s narrative and purpose, but it will give you a chance to be creative in advertising your products and services. By directing your focus at a demographic you can advertise your product as the best gift in town for them. Add excellent customer service, same day shipping if possible, and in-store, deals will perk interest. Create promotions that would draw people in, if possible offer free shipping on orders of a certain price. Customer service can also draw in new clients, offering in-store and website service such as gift wrapping and friendly return policies will have new clients looking twice. In your preparation for the season make sure you are thinking about your all over holiday customer experience from choosing the gift to the potential in store exchange. By ensuring that each step is easy and pleasant for the customer you can keep these new clients and create loyal buyers.
Holiday season has hit big, and you are right in the middle of it. On one hand you are lucky because all the social media you put out prior is working, on the other hand, your workforce is fatigued. Maintaining momentum is perhaps the hardest part of the holiday season during the actual selling and then after the holiday ends. With organization, proper tracking, and excellent customer service, you can create a less stressful environment for yourself, your employees and of course, your customers. In the midst of all the excitement make sure to check in on your website sale needs and the in-store sale needs, do you have the inventory to support both? If you don’t, work with your team on either generating more product or reworking your media strategy to offer similar products. On your website, when you are out of a product, your ‘suggested items’ section becomes crucial to keep the customer on your page. Finally, lean into your backup plans, if a website crashes, a product runs out, or two of your sales representatives have the flu on the last day of your sale, it’s okay to settle for your second best option. When you have ten times more clients and demands than usual it is likely that you are going to need to have backup plans and be okay when it comes time to use them.
Holidays are stressful in both personal and business life, but if you plan right and support your staff, you can minimize stress and optimize your sales. It is important that holiday seasons are followed with check in strategies and assessing with your staff what went right and what was challenging. With what is hopefully a successful and profitable holiday season, consider investing some of the profit into applications and technology that will help you keep better track of inventory and sales. A successful business incorporates this feedback to its regular season sales and looks forward to the next holiday. Valentines Day is right around the corner!