6 Small Business Tips to Ace Your Holiday Sales

There’s no question that sales will be a big deal in the 2021/22 holiday season. Over the past two years, many businesses across the United States have suffered declining customer numbers, stock delays, and declining sales.

But the tide may be turning. According to Mastercard, Deloitte, and Bain’s forecasts, holiday sales this year will grow at least 7% on last year’s sales to roughly $800 billion.

So how can you take advantage of the 2021/22 holiday season boom as a small business owner or employee? We’ll share five strategies to help you maximize your sales revenue this holiday season.

1. Leverage BOGO sales

Have you ever walked into a store during the holidays, seen a discount that you couldn’t say “no” to, and bought more than you planned? That’s the power of a BOGO sale.

“Buy One Get One” free (BOGO) sales are one of the most effective types of sales promotions. Why? According to Associate Professor Priti Salvi of the S.V Institute of Management, consumers love BOGO sales because they get extra value at no additional cost.

Associate Professor Salvi’s research also shows that BOGO sales increase a person’s likelihood to enter a store and buy something – so BOGO sales are great for retailers, too.

To leverage BOGO sales these holidays, time your sale with a critical sales day to maximize consumers’ excitement. Critical sales days include:

  • Cyber Monday (which earned retailers $12.16 billion in revenue in 2020)
  • Small Business Saturday (November 27th)
  • Free Shipping Day (December 14th)
  • Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas)
  • Boxing Day

2. Encourage loyalty discounts

Rewarding your best customers with special discounts is a great way to boost your sales this holiday season, as you’ll incentivize people to spend more in-store.

To reward your best customers, offer special deals to your loyalty club members and frequent shoppers. Ideally, these deals shouldn’t be monetary, but the type of things that “money can’t buy.” For example,

  • Large order discounts
  • A free mystery gift item with every $10 they spend
  • Free gift bags that contain exclusive stock people can’t buy in-store
  • Festive holiday packs that include a holiday card, candy, and loyal-member-only discount coupons

As these deals are only for a target audience of your closest members, you should advertise them through your email newsletters, SMS messages, loyalty club social media groups, targeted emails, and on your website.

3. Offer Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)

While Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services were rare several years ago, they are a daily part of life for many Americans today. According to research from Ascent, only 37.65% of American adults had used a BNPL service in July 2020. That figure jumped to 55.8% in July 2021 – a 48% increase in twelve months.

BNPL services are fantastic for both customers and small businesses. They allow people to purchase items they want without needing the full cash total upfront, and they help stores sell to customers who couldn’t otherwise make a purchase.

Naturally, offering BNPL services in your small business is a great way to boost your sales this holiday season – especially if you:

  • Offer multiple BNPL options, so BNPL is possible for all customers (including Afterpay, Klarna, PayPal Credit, Affirm, Zip, and Zezzle)
  • Advertise that you offer BNPL on social media, in-store, and on your website
  • Train your staff to handle BNPL transactions so BNPL doesn’t slow down your staff (as BNPL is still new, many seasonal employees are understandably confused about handling BNPL transactions)Create holiday cheer with a marketing campaign

4. Create holiday cheer with a marketing campaign

Holiday-themed marketing campaigns are a great way to bring more people in-store, as you can produce unique, festive, and fun ads that will get consumers excited.

To create high-quality campaigns, we recommend combining in-store decorations with a content marketing campaign. Your marketing campaign will bring more people into your store, while the in-store decorations will give your shop an atmosphere of holiday cheer that will encourage customers to relax as they shop.

Together, these strategies will turn your store into a joyful experience that everyone (from customers to seasonal employees) can enjoy.

5. Plan ahead for your inventory

Imagine this: it’s the middle of December, and you’ve advertised a new and exclusive item. But unfortunately, you’ve sold out. Now, everyone who enters the store for the item leaves empty-handed, and you miss out on thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

If you don’t want this to happen to your small business, you’ll need to plan ahead by:

  • Scheduling extra supplier orders before other retailers can overwhelm your stockists
  • Planning for shipping delays
  • Using your website analytics to predict top-selling items and stocking accordingly
  • Purchasing from other small businesses where possible (so you don’t need to worry about delays from late plane or freight shipments)
  • Planning for a crisis
  • Advertising click-and-collect orders so each customer can secure their item
  • Planning out your work processes with task management software

Get into the holiday spirit and sell

The holiday season is one of the busiest (but most essential!) times for many businesses. If you plan your sales well, you can maximize your marketing, draw in loyal customers, and ultimately boost your revenue.

We hope the five tips we shared in this article will help you do just that. Now get selling!

SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.

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