That this time of year is a make or break season for many small businesses is no secret. And given that the economy is now back on track, estimates are that this holiday season will be the biggest one ever in terms of spending. Consider:
- Retail sales are expected to grow by over 4% this year
- E-commerce sales are expected to grow at an 11% clip this year
- 33% of e-commerce sales are expected to be done by mobile devices this year
The upshot is that yes, there is ample opportunity that abounds right now, but with that, there is equally ample competition trying to snag those holiday dollars.
Everyone is going to do a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, so why don’t you have a Terrific Tuesday sale?
So what is a small business owner to do.
The first thing I would say is that you have to do something more than to simply shout (via your advertising or social media) “shop here!” There is so much noise and clutter vying for people’s attention this time of year that you simply have to do something different if you want to rise above the din.
For example, what about having a holiday contest? I know of a bakery that once did this to tremendous effect. The bakery decided to have a “Holiday Gingerbread Recipe” contest. They recruited some local celebrities to judge it, advertised it heavily, and offered some great prizes and publicity for the winner.
The result was tremendous.
The bakery got a ton of publicity throughout the holiday season, ending up with stories both in the local paper as well as on a couple of TV stations. Business boomed, and in fact they reaped rewards long into the next year.
Another option is to have a sale. But here again I would suggest that you have to do something different if you want to get noticed. Everyone is going to do a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, so why don’t you have a Terrific Tuesday or Wacky Wednesday sale? There is a mall near me that has a “Festival of the Last Minute Shopper” every year during the week before Christmas. That’s the ticket.
Here is one more idea: Think about what you can offer for free that would be unique and special. People always love free, but even more so this time of year when they are always spending money. For instance, what if you had Santa come to your store every Friday for the next few weeks, offering everyone free cookies and hot chocolate? Kids would love it, parents would appreciate it, and people would definitely check you out.
Once you decide on what it is you can do that is distinctive, then the key is to let people know about it. You can advertise it, share it via your social media, put in in your next e-newsletter, blog about it, post it on your website, and even try to get the press interested in what you are doing.
The important thing I think is that you give people some reason to remember your business by doing something unique, different, and special, and then let everyone know about it. Do that, and you will have a very happy holiday indeed.