2020 has been tumultuous, to say the least, but the good news is that it’s finally coming to an end. And as the Christmas season and end-of-year festivities descend on us, they offer businesses an opportunity to wind down the year on a high.
According to the National Retail Federation, 20 to 40% of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retail businesses occur in the last two months of the year, and in 2017 alone, holiday sales amounted to $687.87 billion. That being said, cashing in on the Christmas rush isn’t as cut and dried as you’d like it to be; it involves meticulous planning and informed decision making.
If you are looking to make the best out of the holiday season this year, here are 5 things you can do to get ready.
1. Hire freelancers to help you manage the influx
Most employees like to take some time off to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones. For this reason, businesses usually find themselves short-handed during the Christmas shopping craze. If this is your case, or your increased workload is just too much for your regular employees to handle, it may be a good idea to seek the help of freelancers. Also, since some of the work that you may need to get done during this time may be one-off, it makes little sense to hire permanent employees or burden the ones already on your payroll.
Use platforms like Ureed.com to get connected to freelancers who are well suited to help you manage your workload. Even during the holidays, most freelancers still work around the clock and are ready to complete the tasks you assign to them in record time.
2. Have a marketing strategy in place
Although marketing is important during the year, its importance is amplified during the holidays. Holiday marketing campaigns come in different forms, ranging from sales, discounts, additional services, etc. Whatever treat you have prepared for your customers, you must make sure they’re aware of it. Aggressive marketing is necessary at this juncture; use videos, influencers, your social media and web pages- whatever it takes to attract old and new customers. Another effective way to reach your customers is through a well designed Christmas newsletter that gives your clients a rundown of the activities or programs you’ll be running over the holidays.
You can also give your business a holiday feel by using Christmas-themed decorations and graphics on your products and pages to put your clients in a festive mood.
3. Keep an eye on your inventory
With your products flying off the shelves faster than usual, it is expected that your stock won’t last as long as it normally does. Therefore, it’s important to confirm with your suppliers and distributors that they’ll be able to make up for the increased demand. Additionally, check with them if they’ll be open during the holidays, so you can be able to coordinate your schedules and make your orders beforehand. You can also include items in your inventory that are related to the holidays that you don’t regularly sell at other times of the year.
Also, because most sales are now done over the internet, you must ensure that your website reflects the actual number of products available. You don’t want to be drowning in back orders that you may have a difficult time fulfilling.
4. Improve your customer service
Customers are looking for more than products to add to their carts- they’re also looking for a pleasant shopping experience. This means you’ll have to up your game not only on the products you offer but how you interact with your customers. You can hire a freelancer with a background in sales to help you respond to the increased customer questions on your website or social media pages that may arise during this time.
Offering gifts, coupons, or tokens for purchases made is also another way to make your customers feel appreciated. This not only spreads the holiday cheer to them, but also guarantees that they’ll make additional purchases the rest of the year.
5. Analyze your consumers’ behavior
- What product was the biggest hit last year?
- Was your marketing campaign successful?
- Which days generate the most buzz?
Tools like Google Analytics can give you pointers on what your consumers like and what they don’t, so you can be able to strategize accordingly. Without analytics, all your efforts will be shots in the dark, whose returns are not always guaranteed. Capitalize on the products that your customers prefer and weed out those that aren’t as popular. This also shows them that you are attentive to their feedback.
6. Make a holiday schedule
If you are going to be open for more or fewer hours over the holidays, let your customers know. You can decide to be open longer on the days leading to the 25th when the shopping rush is at its peak and then close earlier on the days after to allow your employees to take some time off.
Whether or not you are operating from your physical premises or virtually, planning your time in advance helps to reduce rescheduling conflicts. With an airtight schedule, you’ll also be able to identify the areas that may need extra hands so you can hire freelancers as needed.
7. Don’t forget about the coming year
It’s easy to get caught up with the excitement of the holidays that you forget to plan for the coming year.
The impacts of decisions that you make for your business now will most likely be felt in next year. So you have to keep 2021 in mind in all your decision making, that way you won’t be caught off guard.
To make your transition into the new year as smooth as possible, ensure that your finances are in order and implement those plans you’ve been postponing throughout the year.
Although 2020 has been difficult, the Christmas season may be an opportunity to recoup the losses you may have experienced in the course of the year. With proper planning and a well-thought-out campaign, the festive season doesn’t have to be as difficult as the rest of the year has been for your business.
For an all-hands-on-deck team of qualified freelancers to help your business this holiday season, look no further than Ureed.com. Hire vetted freelancers in over 150 industries and specializations now.