Expert Advice: How Retailers Can Prepare for the Holiday Shopping Season

Holiday shopping season

The holiday season is quickly approaching. For retailers, this is the most important as well as the most hectic time of year. Holidays offer an excellent opportunity to get in touch with more customers and boost your revenue. The National Retail Federation found that around 20-40% of the total annual sales for retailers take place between November and December.

Being a retailer, you might know you are not alone in this race. There are hundreds of other retailers who are preparing their businesses for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Whether your an in-store, online retailer or a combination of both, you need to plan ahead to make your business great success in this holiday season.

We reached out to industry experts to prepare your business for this holiday shopping season.

Provide an Online Shopping Option

We all know, online shopping has become more popular than ever. In this digital age, people enjoy the convenience of buying online. In fact, the U.S Census Bureau found that consumers spent over $500 billion online in 2018, an increase of 14.25% from 2017.

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, make sure you’re cashing-in by creating an online store as well. If you’re exclusively an online retailer, make sure you optimize your product pages to ensure you get the most views and clicks possible. And don’t forget to make your site user-friendly for multiple devices, such as desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

Optimize the Customer Experience

To keep your clients coming back to your store, Carlos Castelan, the managing director at the Navio Group, make sure you provide customers with an exclusive shopping experience every time they visit you. Castelan says, “Independent retailers that provide a strong customer experience via personable staff or find a way to create a shopping experience that doubles as a medium of entertainment will attract and win shoppers and boost sales. Make the shopping experience more than just buying a product, but think about the experience that accompanies visiting a store like demos or events that showcase products and entertain shoppers. To deliver great customer service, don’t wing it. Train your employees on how to greet and help customers.”

Customer experience

Offer Holiday Deals & Discounts

Deals and discounts are something most people expect during this busy shopping season. Yigit Kocak, a marketing manager for Prisync Company says, “[during] holiday seasons, people are willing to spend their money and are looking for the best deals. Retailers need to take careful considerations of their pricing strategy because the [customer] expectation is very high. That's why retailers need to prepare for these holiday seasons by looking at historical pricing data from previous periods in the market before planning and strategizing for their marketing campaigns. This way, they will be one step ahead of all the others and set the best-priced campaigns to attract the most eyeballs to their website. This will not only make them get the most out of the season but also build up their audience for future campaigns.”

So if you want to boost your sales, offer holiday retail sales. Whether you run an online or offline business, offering deals and discounts on several items can help you make a significant profit this holiday season. Creating gift cards for your business is a great option to consider.

Also, focus on minimizing the obstacles that make customers hesitate to purchase from your store. These hurdles can be, your return time and shipping policy. Offering people a liberal exchange & return policy and free shipping might be the right move to boost your sales.

Get Your Website Ready for a Traffic Surge

Many retailers get so busy preparing their inventory, they forget about their website. Getting heavy traffic on your site is great, but a sudden increase in traffic can cause some problems. Cara Wood from ShopPad suggests using an intersystem automator. “When it comes to optimizing your systems to handle extra orders, it's absolutely vital that you have all the gaps between your systems covered. With the sheer bulk that comes with holiday shopping, the chances of human error and slowdowns occurring because of manual data transfer are just too high.” Prepare ahead of time by making sure all of your software is updated, and if needed, check with your internet service provider.

Online holiday traffic

More Flexible Payment Options

The holiday season is the perfect time to consider additional and flexible payment modes for your retail store. For instance, you currently accept traditionally payment methods like cash, MasterCard, and Visa consider including Paytm, PayPal, or other digital payment options.

There are several clients who prefer this kind of transaction, it will help you meet your clients’ expectations. This little change in your payment methods can really help you boost your online sales and conversion rate.

Make a Plan for Certain Holidays

In the last two months of the year, i.e., November and December, there are many holidays. Participating in all of them might be too much for your business to take on. Instead, try focusing on a few key holidays.

Analyze your competitors or neighborhood and make a plan wisely. Some of the popular holidays you may participate in include Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, etc.

Plan holiday events

Build a Marketing Campaign

Once you decide on which holidays you want to participate in, you need to create a marketing campaign. Making an earlier plan is a great option to avoid all the stress of managing things last minute. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:

  • creating website banners
  • sending newsletters
  • social media advertising
  • Referral and loyalty programs

Make sure your plan includes key dates for updating banners on your site, dates for starting your promotional email campaigns, and more. Also, make sure all your employees are well-oriented and know how to deal with traffic to convert them into leads.

The Key Takeaway

The holiday season is coming, and being a retailer, you should start making preparations for the inevitable customers rush. When it comes to making your business ready, there are lots of factors you need to look into from having enough workforce to offering deals and more. Hopefully, these tips for the holiday shopping season can help you keep your customers engaged and make even more profits.

Apart from this, do not forget to take care of yourself and your staff as you are the people behind managing all business responsibilities and making it a great success this holiday shopping season.

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