The Christmas shopping season is just around the corner, which means that now is the time to ramp up your marketing efforts. Here are seven things any business owner can do prior to Thanksgiving to make Christmas season marketing a breeze.
— Bigcommerce (@Bigcommerce) October 21, 2015
#1. Build Excitement
The weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday is when you should begin building excitement for the upcoming shopping season. This means you should intensify all your marketing efforts, whether online, in print, or via television or radio ads. The more people hear the name of your business, the more excited they will be to shop your establishment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to announce sales or just remind people that there are only x number of shopping days until Christmas either.
#2. Plan Early Promotions
To compete with big-box retailers for Black Friday sales, you’ll need to plan a promotional event for one or two weeks before then. Promise your customers price-matching guarantees on any merchandise they find on sale during Black Friday, and chances are they will visit your establishment first. You could also offer free or no-money-down layaways beginning as early as two weeks prior to Thanksgiving to encourage people who have a limited amount of cash to shop with you before going anywhere else.
#3. Host a Holiday Event
One of the best ways to attract people to your business is by hosting a special holiday event. Schedule a tree lighting ceremony complete with carolers, complimentary hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa Claus. Partner with local equestrians to offer sleigh rides, or talk with a church group near you about hosting a live nativity outside your building. You could also offer free or low-cost gift wrapping to customers who spend a certain amount of money. In doing these things, you’ll likely attract a good number of people who would not ordinarily have visited you.
#4. Offer Unique Merchandise
People are always looking for unique gifts, which is why you should make an extra effort to offer merchandise that is somewhat out of the ordinary. Be sure to let people know about this unique merchandise by mailing out sales flyers, announcing its arrival in email newsletters, and updating your blog with photographs. You should also make sure people know how this merchandise would be perfect for anyone on their list who is normally considered hard to buy for.
#5. Provide Loyalty Perks and Rebates
Loyalty perks in the way of rewards or special discounts for those who spend a certain amount of money is one way to encourage people to do all or most of their Christmas shopping at your store. You could offer loyalty perks only for a specified amount of time, or double the amount of points you award on certain days such as Small Business Saturday. Offering a rebate on certain merchandise is also a great way to ensure your customers buy particular items from you rather than your competition.
#6. Create a Holiday Atmosphere
People who are in the holiday spirit are more likely to pick up a few stocking stuffers for those on their gift-giving lists, and may even take time to do some more in-depth shopping. In addition to setting up displays of holiday merchandise, you should also add a few decorations in order to create the ideal atmosphere for Christmas shopping. Add a wreath on your door, lights on your storefront, and bright-colored poinsettias near your cash register. Play some seasonal music softly in the background to add even more ambiance and keep people feeling festive.
#7. Offer Extended Hours
People are busier than ever during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which means they may want to shop at unusual hours. Make it easier for them to get to your store by offering extended hours during the months of November and December. You could stay open an hour or two later each evening, or plan to remain open continuously for 18 or even 24 hours. Advertise your extended hours via social media, in-store flyers, and on your website to make sure everyone is aware of them and can plan accordingly.
These seven things do not have to cost a great deal of money, yet can greatly impact your retail sales during the competitive Christmas shopping season. Make plans now to implement several of these ideas into your marketing strategy, and you will likely be surprised at how well they improve your bottom line.