With Black Friday and Cyber Monday come and gone, the holidays are officially upon us. While the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends getting started on a holiday business plan as early as June or July (!), if December snuck up on you, don’t fret. Below, we’ve laid out some last-minute tips to make sure your business isn’t left out in the cold this year.
Spruce up your space
Recommendations to give your online presence and physical locations the ‘Santa’s Workshop’ treatment would be fine and well if it were still August. On December’s doorstep, however, business owners can be forgiven for taking the less-is-more route. Changes as subtle as a switch to holiday music, a small cash wrap display, or some outdoor lights can go a long way towards helping customers get into the holiday spirit. Visitors will appreciate the season’s acknowledgement—and any effort is better than none.
During the holidays, people reflect on the things for which they’re grateful; customers should be at the top of that list for every single business. If you’re using a loyalty program, CRM tools or email marketing software, reach out to your customers and let them know how much you appreciate them. If you don’t have those set up, consider offering an easy-to-implement seasonal discount or another logistically simple gesture of generosity as a token of your gratitude. Consumers will remember which businesses took the time to say thank you and which did not.
Start thinking about the next holiday
If you didn’t fully prepare for this holiday season, don’t beat yourself up. Think about what you might want to do or do differently next time. For example, what do you wish your business had been prepared to offer customers for the holidays? Would a gift card program have helped drive customers to your business? (Yes, it would have. More on that here.) Thorough planning with plenty of lead time will have your business sitting pretty when the next holiday rolls around and beyond.
On that topic, you don’t need to wait until next Thanksgiving to start seeing dividends from this effort. Valentine’s Day and President’s Day are fast approaching holidays ripe for promotions and discounts, but also consider celebrating more offbeat holidays like National Pizza Day (February 9) or National Dress Day (March 6). While the sales bump might not be as pronounced as Black Friday, these sorts of holidays are a great time to experiment and hone your holiday programs so that come next November, you have a field-tested game plan ready to go.