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Prepare Your Business for the Holiday Season

December 18, 2023 | Blogs

The holiday season is underway, and seasonal preparations are hitting high gear. Here’s what businesses can do to have a standout sales season and make the shopping experience smooth and enjoyable for customers and staff.

Track Your Inventory

Choosing gifts is difficult. Nothing is more disappointing than visiting your favourite shop to find an empty shelf. Same goes when your go-to e-commerce store has a “Sold Out” banner on the gift items you want. It’s not much better when the item is available, but won’t ship for 6-8 weeks, long after the Christmas stockings are back in the attic.

Determining necessary stock levels is tough, too, especially for new or popup shops. Take a look at recent sales figures, identify your most popular items, and plan to have more of these items on hand. As the holidays progress, track your inventory closely. These sales figures will be crucial for your inventory planning next year. If items do run out, offer free shipping on a post-holiday purchase to keep your customers happy.

Support Your Team

The holidays can put a strain on customer service, especially for small businesses with brick and mortar outlets. More customers with more needs can translate to more sales, but the downside can be longer wait times at checkout, a dishevelled looking store, and a stressed-out staff.

Support your employees by taking on additional staff members during the holidays. Since scheduling can be a challenge at this time of year, be transparent about your expectations. Find out which team members need time off and offer incentives to those who can work extra holiday hours.

 

Run a Holiday Marketing Campaign

While large-scale holiday campaigns involving video ads or special packaging need copious advance planning, last-minute marketing actions make a big difference in December sales returns.

Send an email flyer to your customers containing a holiday gift guide featuring best-selling products. Tailor your guides for various demographics and product categories, like “Ideas for Teens,” or “Gifts for Mom.” Support that messaging with clever social media posts featuring easy gift ideas and holiday discounts. Spread goodwill among your customers by sending a personalized e-cards to your loyalty club members with holiday greetings and an exclusive offer or special gift.

Create a Festive Ambiance

Stores that go all-out with decorations bring in the crowds. Holiday touches, music, and a complimentary candy cane creates warm vibes, builds holiday spirit, and puts shoppers in a giving (and spending!) mood.

Don’t stop at revamping your physical store. Shoppers can tell if you’ve taken the time to adorn your website for the holidays. A few holiday-themed design touches or an animated popup amid your e-commerce digital offerings can spark a sense of fun and keep shoppers engaged.

Offer Gift Cards

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2023 Consumer Holiday Survey, 55% of consumers want to receive gift cards this year. With gift cards so high on the holiday wish-list, make sure they’re available on your e-commerce store and for walk-in purchase.

Besides physical cards, make sure you offer a contactless e-voucher option that customers can add to their e-wallets and redeem by tapping. Check with your payment provider to see if e-card and e-voucher options are available through your POS solution.

Plan Post-Holiday Sales

While wallets may be lighter after the holidays, January is still a popular shopping time. Many customers scour their favourite shops looking for clearance items and discounts. It’s a great time for retailers to maintain a revenue stream and clear out any extra inventory they didn’t move before Christmas. Start planning a post-holiday sale so you’re ready to announce it on social media right after the holidays.

Make Payments Part of Your Holiday To-Do List

With shopping activity high from Thanksgiving to Christmas and through to New Year’s, the holiday season is the most important sales event of the year. With higher than average shopping activity, the checkout process needs to be easy, convenient, flexible, and secure.

 

 

Make the payment experience part of your holiday planning. Consider an upgrade with OTT Pay’s all-in-one payment solution. With transaction support for more types of cards, including international e-wallets, you can support your business during the holidays and beyond. To learn more about our digital payment and marketing solutions, contact our sales team today at OTT Pay.