It doesn’t seem possible, but 2016 is coming to an end, and soon. This is one of the most profitable times of the year for most businesses. NRF expects retail sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas and restaurants) to increase a solid 3.6 percent. If, like a lot of small businesses, you’ve waited until now to get your holiday or year-end marketing plan together, do not panic! Here are a few ideas for last minute holiday marketing to help you capture every sales opportunity during the next few weeks.
Send holiday greetings
Take a cue from individuals who send special holiday greetings to their friends and family and do the same for your customers. Reach out to customers via email and provide them with important information on any special sales, shipping deadlines, your holiday hours and events.
Decorate your online presence
Get festive with your website and social media channels. Consider it as your online storefront and in much the same way update creative, content and add new pages that promote holiday gift ideas. Be sure to post updates on your social media channels with information on your holiday hours, events and other helpful information and encourage shoppers to visit your store throughout the holiday season.
Hold unique sales
Consider a flash sale on a specific product or service. Announce it at your store and also on social media. Host an exclusive holiday party after hours to coincide with a special sale. Invite your loyal customers and encourage them to bring a guest.
Cater to the last minute shoppers
You are not the only one who procrastinated! There WILL be last minute shoppers running around right up until closing on December 24th. It is estimated that 18% of all holiday shoppers in 2016 will wait until November and December to finish off their gift lists. In fact, 9 out of 10 top sending days in recent years occurred in the month of December! Make shopping easy for last minute shoppers by extending your store hours, place stocking stuffers and other smaller impulse gifts near the check-out, promoting gift cards and offering services such as free shipping or gift wrapping.
Get involved with your community
Show your support for your community and local charities by sponsoring or getting involved in holiday events. Even if you don’t have the budget to donate large sums of money, think of other ways to get involved, such as offering volunteer services, equipment or even space. Share information about the events in your store and online.
Don’t Stop Now!
It might be tempting to close your doors on Christmas Eve and settle down for a long winters nap, but that would be a mistake! 5% or more of holiday spending occurs after December 25th. Continue your holiday marketing plans through New Year’s Day as a new crowd of shoppers heads out during their holiday break to handle returns, spend gift cards, and look for bargains. Parlay this holiday traffic into repeat business for 2017 by providing information on any sales or events planned for early in the year. Ask for email addresses at the register to build your contact list and consider offering a special January/February discount for holiday shoppers who return in the New Year.
(Sources: Retale, First Data, NRF)