The holiday time is clearly here. News media is reporting almost nonstop on the holiday frenzy, and shoppers are waking up at four in the morning to take advantage of the deals and sales that the holiday season offers. Perhaps you are one of those shoppers as well.
But the big question to ask as a small business owner is how to most effectively get your piece of the pie. Whether you have a retail business that's trying to compete with the big retailers, or have a services business where the link to the holidays isn’t quite as clear, here are a few tips that can help you make the best of a time when almost everyone seems to be in a buying mood.
1. Focus on word of mouth because customers are influencing more people.
The power of customers telling each other about your business is always important, but during the holidays it may be far more likely. This means one very important difference: after you make a sale, your new customer may tell someone else about their experience right away. Not only because people may be more interested to hear it, but also because people are seeing more of their friends and family around the holiday time. Share extra business cards, offer more referral discounts, or just make a point of asking your customers to recommend your business. It could go a long way during this time.
2. Use more limited time offers.
Thanks to all the other retail offers in the market right now, people are more willing to see and respond to offers with a deadline. Deadlines can also help to create urgency for your offers. This doesn’t mean you need to be a dictator about sticking to the timing, but using the idea of limited time promotions may be more likely to work now.
3. Position your products or services as complimentary.
Instead of trying to change the behaviour of what people will already be doing, think about how you can position your products or services as complimentary to what people will already be shopping for. This might mean adding on a product or service that customers will need after a day of shopping.
4. Offer an anti-frenzy experience.
One thing that online retailers are pushing hard right now is the idea that you can shop from the comfort of your own couch and simply choose the products you want online. How can you also offer an anti-frenzy experience with your business? While this might seem to contradict #2 because using a deadline can feel inherently “frenzy-like,” the point is to avoid having a deadline that causes the shopping experience to feel hurried or rushed.
5. Take advantage of third party efforts.
Thanks to the state of the economy, there are a lot of people who want you to succeed this holiday season. The government wants to see a rebound in retail and consumer confidence. American Express is sponsoring Small Business Saturday to encourage people to shop at small businesses. While you might be tired of hearing how you are the “backbone of the economy,” the point is that there are others who want to see you succeed and have efforts that you can take advantage of this holiday season.
Rohit Bhargava is the author of the best selling marketing book Personality Not Included, a guide on using personality to create a more human business that employees love to work for and customers can’t wait to buy from.