6 Tips To Prepare Your Business For The Holiday Rush

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. For businesses, this marks the start of one of the hottest spending times of the year. Whether you’re selling online or offline, it’s the best time to improve the shopping experience for your customers to increase your sales.

Here are 6 tips to help ensure your business makes the most of holiday spending on your website and in your store:

1.  Know When Your Customers Are Coming

Consumers love starting early when it comes to holiday shopping. It is best to be prepared, the earlier the better. Big box retailers already have their holiday promotions online!

Thanksgiving is a big time for shopping in the US with “Black Friday” followed by “Cyber Monday” online. In Canada, shoppers go crazy for deals the day after Christmas for “Boxing Day.”

Wherever you are, you need to know when your customers are most likely to buy, and promote with those times in mind. Make sure you’ve got enough stock and staff to cover the holiday boom and prepare your website for the increase in site traffic.

2.  Promote The Season

Celebrating the holiday season in-store and online will create a unique shopping experience for your customers.

Create a feeling of holiday spirit by decorating your retail store, giving out holiday treats, and switching out the images and promotions on your eCommerce website.

Encouraging the holiday spirit in-store and online will help build your relationship with your customer and get them in the buying mood.

3.  Create Holiday Categories

Creating new product groups that are holiday specific will make your store stand out from the competition. You don’t need a bunch of new products, just a festive spin on how you market them.

You can organize your products using known holiday staple groups such as “Stocking Stuffers”, “Gifts For Him” or  “Office Party Approved”.  Within these groups, you can beef up product descriptions that are holiday-friendly showing how one product is an awesome gift for that special someone or a great gag gift for a work holiday party.

If you’ve got an eCommerce site, creating categories and new descriptions will help boost your SEO so your customers can easily find you on the web.

4.  Offer It As A Gift

Giving a gift doesn’t stop at the sale. Gift need personalized touches. Give your customers the option to customize their purchases either with gift wrapping and a special message. They’ll appreciate the fact that you’re helping them not only pick the right gift but ensuring the full package is perfect. If you can, make gift-wrapping free as an incentive for your shoppers or as an extra convenience if they spend a certain amount.

5.  Be Clear About Holiday Restrictions and Returns

Holiday restrictions can range from holiday business hours to shipping deadlines. If your customer is shopping online for a last minute present, make sure they’re aware of shipping cut off times. You can even go as far as estimating the time of delivery as an extra convenience. Whatever the reason, make sure your customers are aware of these changes.

Make it easy for your customers or gift receivers to return or exchange their item. Some stores extend their return policy to run until after the holiday season and some don’t allow returns and exchanges until after the holidays are over. Whichever route you take, make sure your customer is aware either through store signs, personalized emails or an updated return policy page online.

 6.  Set Up Multiple Payment Methods

One customer survey showed that just by adding one alternative payment method could increase sales by 14%. If given a choice between your store and a competitor, a customer will most likely choose to buy from the business that allows them to pay with their preferred method.

The holiday season is always a crazy time of year, these 6 tips will help you be prepared. For more on eCommerce tips for the holiday, check out 7 Ways Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment