The EZ Guide to Getting Your Piece of the Holiday Pie
While holiday enthusiasts are stuffing themselves with pumpkin and pecan pie, businesses are vying for a piece of the figurative holiday pie—the chance to cash in on the holiday gift-buying frenzy and round out their year with better-than-average sales numbers.
The National Retail Federation recently released a report suggesting that holiday retail sales for November and December 2019 will see a healthy rise of 3.8% and 4.2% respectively over the same months in 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
Read on to discover how your business can get a bigger piece of the holiday pie.
A Deeper Look at Holiday Spending
If you want to optimize your holiday marketing strategy, evaluate your consumers’ behavior and holiday spending habits. To uncover this information, let’s take a look at three important components of consumer holiday shopping behavior: When, What, and How.
Years ago, the day after Thanksgiving represented the first day of holiday gift-buying and Black Friday was the “unofficial” launch to the season. Today, consumers are starting earlier, some as early as the summer months. In fact, the term “Christmas in July” has become a staple in some households, and businesses are also using it to sell off their holiday merchandise early or re-sell last year’s merchandise.
In fact, nearly half of small business shoppers start their gift buying before November 1. Once the trick-or-treat bags, ghosts, and goblins retire to the basement the gift-buying begins. Don’t wait until the turkey gobbles to begin promoting your products and services. Plan to promote as early as November first so that you can capture those excited first-in-line shoppers.
When small business shoppers were asked which factors compel them to shop at a particular store, they indicated that quality, selection, and free shipping were the top three factors. Also, people who shop at small businesses plan to spend $300 more than shoppers who typically flock to big box retailers.
Consumers love small businesses, and they prefer quality and a diverse selection rather than the same brands the big box stores carry. Take advantage and focus your marketing on the quality of your goods, your unique selection, and your expertise.
Also, take advantage of Small Business Saturday over the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Small Business Saturday was started by American Express in 2010, and it celebrates small businesses, encouraging consumers to “shop small.” In 2018 spending Small Business Saturday topped $17.8 billion.
To get a piece of the Small Business Saturday pie, start now and create a marketing strategy to encourage your customers to come out and support you. Partner with other local small businesses in your area to advertise products in your stores. For example, if you run an athletic store and there is a fitness club nearby, advertise the club in your store. In exchange, the fitness club can sell or advertise your products.
We discussed what consumers want and when they will start shopping—but how you develop a marketing strategy that will get your products noticed and make your brand attractive enough to boost holiday sales is a little more complicated. In the next section, we will discuss some best practices and clever marketing strategies you can implement right now to prepare your business to generate more revenue this holiday season.
Start Early and Plan
Hopefully your inventory is fully stocked in preparation for the holiday season. The next step is to work on your marketing campaign by outlining exactly what your campaign will look like and what resources you will need to execute.
Here are some questions to answer as you are mapping out your plan:
- Which strategies will we implement and why?
- What type of content do we need?
- Do we need to do any preliminary strategy testing?
- Are we clear on our target audience?
- Do we have enough resources to execute these strategies?
- Do we need to contact influencers to help spread our message?
Create a calendar and timeline to organize when and how you will carry out the tasks. Use programs like Trello, Basecamp or Teamwork to create tasks and deadlines, and assign them to key people. Also, schedule follow-up meetings, and assign action items to keep everyone accountable.
Tip: Sometimes campaigns don’t work out the way you expect. Have a backup option in place if a campaign doesn’t generate positive results. Assemble 1-2 lower priority campaigns you can implement should any falter.
Don’t expect your off-season ads to perform as well during the holiday season. Consumers are in a different mindset, and they may respond to different messaging. Plan your ad campaigns early, and consider testing now, so you are ready when the holiday season hits its prime. If you don’t prepare now, you will be trying to figure out what works—at the exact time when you should be posting your best ads to get maximum exposure.
To optimize your holiday ad campaign and get prepared, create new ads weeks in advance and A/B test them to determine what performs the best. (Just in case, we've got a quick refresher on how to conduct A/B testing.)
Continue testing until you discover some high-performers you can use during the height of the holiday season. By preparing and testing early, you can maximize conversions and sales.
Tip: Now is a good time to revisit your target audience and look for new opportunities with your holiday ads. Use tools like Facebook’s Audience Insights to refresh your target audience and their purchase behavior. Notice any opportunities for segmenting your audience so you can tightly focus each ad campaign. Think about factors like lifestyle, interests, or any other aspect that will allow you to personalize an ad to increase conversions.
Your customer service inquiries will heat up this holiday season, and without a plan in place, the department could suffer and ultimately damage your relationship with some customers. Prepare your team to provide the highest level of service to customers with these tips on how to thrive and not just survive the holiday season.
- Review Trends – What was your call volume last year during the holidays? How many additional customers visited your store? Review your past trends, so you have a better idea of what additional resources you need this year. If you were unprepared and understaffed last year, hire additional help this year. If you experienced any issues, address them early so they will not happen again.
- Train Your Team – Prepare your agents on how to deal with high volume. Holiday shoppers are typically more anxious and aggravated, so support should be ready to respond immediately and empathize and communicate in a gentle tone to relax the customer.
- Inspire – Inspire your support team to do their best work, and reward them with incentives for top performance. Your agents will be fielding a higher volume of chaotic calls, and your appreciation and understanding will inspire them to do a good job.
Every customer you reach with your holiday promotions can lead to another sale for your business. So it’s vital to capitalize on the high volume of the holiday season and reach as many people as possible with your sales and promotions. One of the quickest and most effective ways to accomplish this successfully is via text marketing.
Most people do not leave their homes without their cell phones, and 95% of Americans own one. Take advantage of the cell phone obsession and target people where they spend most of their time—on their phones. Text messages rarely go unopened as well, with texts boasting a 98% open rate.
Impulse buying will be at an all-time high this season, so to take full advantage of text marketing, focus your texts on quick sales and time-sensitive promotions. Use text marketing to also send promotion expiration reminders or other related holiday notifications.
To get people on your texting list, start promoting it now in your emails, social posts, and in-store signage. In your communication, stress the benefits of signing up now to receive exclusive holiday discounts reserved solely for your audience.
Consumers are ready for the season with wallets open and credit cards in hand. Are you ready to supply their demand? There is plenty of holiday pie to go around; you just need to implement the right strategies to get your piece. Take enough time to plan out your campaigns and use some of the strategies we outlined here, and you will not only be eating a piece of the holiday pie, but also devouring a feast of sales and revenue.
Want to try text marketing for your holiday marketing campaigns? EZ Texting is an industry leader in supplying small businesses with cost-effective technologies to increase sales and supercharge their marketing campaigns. Let us help you crush your sales this holiday season using text marketing. To get started right now, sign up for a free account here.