Preparing Your Business for the Holiday Season

online Christmas shoppingFor one month every year, buying kicks into overdrive, with retail businesses expected to make an estimated $465.6 billion this Christmas season alone. Whether your business specializes in goods or services, you are likely impacted by the holiday buying season. If you haven’t yet planned for the boom in business, here are a few tips for taking advantage of consumers’ generous spending.

  • Thank your customers -‘Tis the season to thank those who have given you business throughout the year. Whether you send a Christmas card or provide gift baskets filled with goodies, that little thank you is part of an ongoing relationship your business has with your clients. The expense of a Christmas gift is a small price to pay to continue to bring in business well into the new year.
  • Provide gift cards – According to Internet Retailer, 57.7 percent of consumers say they want gift cards this holiday season. Take a note from national chain restaurants and offer a free small-dollar gift cards for anyone who buys a gift card in a larger amount. This not only encourages your customers to purchase gift cards, it drives those same customers back to you to spend their own gift card. If you don’t already have a gift card, VistaPrint offers custom printed gift certificates that will provide the professional look you’re seeking.
  • Use social networking – According to GfK Custom Research, 39 percent of customers plan to use discounts found on social media, as well as looking to online couponers like Groupon and Living Social before shopping. With consumers doing an average of 36 percent of their shopping online, according to The Source, businesses can no longer ignore the importance of online marketing. But consumers are not only using the Internet to make online purchases. According to Media Post, smart phones now allow consumers to browse the Internet in the midst of shopping, especially on Black Friday. Buyers use smart phones to compare prices, read product reviews, browse promotions, and check in to let friends know what they’re up to. All of this provides prime opportunities for businesses to draw customers in, making your online presence more important than ever.
  • Take advantage of Cyber Monday – Last year more than a billion dollars was spent online during the busiest Internet shopping day of the year: Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is always the Monday after Thanksgiving, when online retailers offer their best deals. Even if the service you provide doesn’t fall directly into the Christmas gift arena, find a way to take advantage of the heavy online traffic by offering deals you promote through your social media sites. And don’t assume online traffic is slow on Thanksgiving day itself. Hubze reports 2010’s Thanksgiving day brought $407 million in online sales. Stores are closed and consumers are at home, eager to get a jump-start on Christmas shopping. Consider posting your specials on the day of Thanksgiving to catch those buyers who happen to be online.

Whatever your business provides, there’s a way to tie it into the holiday season. Your social media presence is more important than ever, with so many consumers online. Find ways to provide solutions to your customers during this extremely busy time of year.


About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.