19 Oct 5 Steps for a Successful Holiday Selling Season
It seems every year shoppers begin their holiday buying earlier than the year before, and stores, especially the big box variety, begin preparing earlier in response—as in October.
Wondering how to prepare your store for the holidays? Our first bit of advice is not to wait until it is too late to prepare your brick-and-mortar or online store for the holiday season.
A busy holiday season is every retailer’s dream of robust sales days, moving inventory, and happy customers. To achieve this trifecta, let’s break it down into manageable steps.
Step 1: Crafting a marketing strategy
This is likely the largest chunk of planning to complete, ideally by the end of Q3. It includes identifying which channels will be most effective in communicating with your audience—from holiday landing pages on your website to e-campaigns, social media, and social ads. Creating a content calendar will help organize your store’s messaging across social, website, emails, and printed items. With a calendar, you can map out a schedule for boosting posts and advertising, as well as implementing store signage and bag inserts.
Pro tip: Download our FREE guide to Social Media Marketing and get access to a spreadsheet and tons of tips to help you plan and manage your social media marketing efforts!
Step 2: Attracting attention in a busy time of year
Start with the look of your store. Consider decorating it for the season, creating special product displays, and a splashy front window. Don’t underestimate the power and magic of twinkling lights for any of these ideas.
Pick a theme and color for all the accompanying promotional materials, in-store signage, and social and web graphics. Keeping the look consistent inside the store and outside on social and the web is key.
Speaking of social, consider doing some live box openings featuring great gift ideas or special interviews with a novelty notions maker or indie-dyer showcasing limited edition items.
Pro tip: Creating a pop-up shop or partnering with a neighboring business for a collaborative shop hop is a great way for everyone to shine.
Step 3: Planning for sales, deals, and promos
There’s one week in the peak holiday shopping season of import, and it starts the day before Thanksgiving and ends the following Thursday. Part of your preparations in step one should include gauging your participation in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday (which is altruistic in nature and should complement your business’s mission). For small retailers, it can be tricky to compete on pricing against big box stores and online giants for some of these sales opportunities.
As such, there are two paths to take. One is to add value instead of deep discounts, like including a freebie item or free shipping for your customer after reaching a purchase threshold. Another way is to seek an alternate path. For example, an alternative to participating in Black Friday is to close that day to give staff, and yourself, an extra day with family or friends. A fine example is what retailer REI did with its #OptOutside campaign, encouraging its staff and customers to spend more time in nature (while closing on Black Friday).
Another alternative is to focus on Small Business Saturday instead. Created by American Express in 2010, it encourages customers to shop locally, in person or online at small businesses. This could be a fantastic opportunity for an open house feel or for giving away small gifts to customers.
Additionally, if you have a web-based store, Cyber Monday could be an added value, free shipping, or gift with purchase opportunity—instead of slashing prices. However, participating on this day means you will have to break through a lot of noise from everyone else.
Pro Tip: Know the dangers of discounting. Here, we’ve outlined a few important takeaways.
Step 4: Optimizing for mobile
For your online presence, optimizing it for mobile should be a given. Your customers should be able to easily shop online, navigate your website in mobile view, and need only a few clicks to buy something. For example, try linking products in posts on your Instagram or Facebook feeds; this means customers are just a few clicks away from seeing the item to purchasing it. The look and feel of your social and website should mirror each other so it is seamless for your customer.
Want to sell more directly to your customers on social media? There is a third-party platform called CommentSold. It’s a live video selling tool that integrates with Facebook, Instagram, or your website and enables transactions and messaging with customers about sales.
Pro tip: Hold a few, small sessions on CommentSold before the holiday shopping season is in full swing. This will help to remove any kinks or hiccups in the process beforehand.
Lastly, your Google business profile should be updated regularly—especially if you will have extended holiday shopping hours—and make data tracking a regular activity, too. At Stitchcraft Marketing, we encourage our clients to take advantage of Google Analytics. It’s a free tool that gives you enormous insight into your website’s performance.
Step 5: Make crafts part of the holidays
We’ve delved into this topic before and still encourage it today. Make your craft products stand out during the shopping season by shifting the focus to a season of making. Many people have a positive association between crafts and the holidays; let your business become part of those special memories. We believe the more you can promote crafting as a lifestyle, one that is part of daily practice and pleasure, the less you will need to gear up for those special holiday sales.
Stitchcraft Marketing is a marketing agency of crafting experts. We customize every program to showcase your brand, engage your customer base, and generate sales in a way that is nothing less than magical. If you’d like more help preparing your online business or how your business performs online, contact us today!