I know it may not feel like the holiday season is right around the corner, but it really is. Just visit Walmart or Target or my favorite store, Hobby Lobby, right now and you will see that not only are the Halloween decorations and candy strategically placed, but so are those oh so subtle hints of the Fall Season, Thanksgiving, and of course, Christmas.
One of the things I still think is really interesting is how the stores we frequent every day seem to not miss one beat when it comes to transitioning from back to school promotions to the holiday season. But you’d be surprised by the number of small business owners and entrepreneurs I talk to who are surprised when they check their calendars and “discover” Thanksgiving and Black Friday are in a week, and Christmas is right around the corner.
Well, maybe I’m actually not that surprised. Entrepreneurship is tough and a lot of times your days kind of just run into each other. So I get it. But there are simple changes that you can make to avoid being surprised by this upcoming Holiday season, or ever again for that matter.
Start Planning Now
The truth is that creating a Holiday Promotions Plan is the best way to avoid being taken by surprise by the holidays and not being able to maximize the opportunity. So get your calendar and your handy-dandy notebook out and start planning your holiday promotions strategy
Don’t Try to Beat the “Big-Timers” On Price
You can’t beat Walmart’s “always low prices”. But you can offer something unique that Walmart doesn’t offer that will appeal to your specific audience. Identify that thing that makes your business unique, if you haven’t done so already and run a promotion around that instead of price. Remember competing on prices only reduces YOUR profits per item sold, so it’s not a great game for you start. And you don’t need to be necessarily better than Walmart, or any other competitor, you just need to be unique and different. If you embrace what makes you authentic, you will attract the audience you need.
Test Your Systems Now
There’s nothing worst than a business that runs a sale but doesn’t have the internal infrastructure to handle the increases. Those increases can show up in various ways, like increased bandwidth on your site, increased orders, more phone calls or customer inquiries, more returns or customer service issues, and more revenue coming in. But what do you do when your incoming PayPal payments are so high that PayPal decides to withhold a portion of your income until it can verify your payments? Or what about clients who dispute charges with their credit card companies? Do you have the systems in place to go from shipping 5 orders per week to shipping 50 or even 500? Don’t wait until you run an awesome holiday sale or promotion to test your systems, start examining what you can do and improving now.
Order Your Customer Appreciation Gifts Now
If you’re planning to do customer appreciation, don’t wait until the last minute to order your gifts. Remember that the Post Office gets super busy during the holiday season, and as an entrepreneur can you really afford to stand in line to get your gifts shipped in time? Make plans to get any type of customer appreciation handled as early as possible, so it’s not hanging over your head in the new year.
Again, these tips are super simple, but they can have a major impact on your business’ bottom line. Start planning now for how you plan to increase your revenues during the 2016 Holiday Season. If you need help putting together your promotions, we created this amazing Holiday Promotions Marketing Calendar and Guide to help you. Not only will it help you with this holiday season, but by simply updating the dates, this guide can be repurposed to use for years to come.