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This year is shaping up to be one of the most profitable holiday seasons for retailers since 2011—and particularly for online retailers. With more people doing their Christmas shopping from the convenience of their own homes, there’s never been a better time to rev up your company’s social media presence to bring in record year-end sales. But, if you’re like most small business owners, you’ve probably made a New Years resolution that 2015 is going to be your best year ever. To help you get there, we’ve put together some of our best small retail business sales boosting tips.
There is something deeply soul-warming about going shopping for loved ones during the holidays when streets and stores are dusted with snow and decorated with twinkling lights. Try to recreate that same feeling for your customers on your social media platforms by showcasing festive photos. For Facebook and Twitter, change your cover photos to seasonal ones that will resonate with and connect with your audience on an emotional level. On Instagram, post holiday-themed photos and use seasonally appropriate hashtags. Use seasonal themes throughout the year to keep your web presence and store fun and festive.
The holidays are the busiest time of year for small businesses—and in the midst of making sure everything is running smoothly, it can be easy to lose contact with your audience. A social media planner is a great way to make sure customer engagement remains a top priority. Planning your blog posts, contests, promotions, and other content ahead of time ensures you are keeping your audience engaged and up-to-date on your company’s latest happenings. Staying on their radar by posting quality content on a regular basis all year long ensures your business is at the forefront of your customers’ minds once they’re ready to start shopping.
Everyone loves a good promotion—especially around the holidays. Offer incentives like free shipping or a small gift certificate towards their next purchase if they spend a set amount (i.e. “$10 off your next purchase of $25 or more when you spend $100!”). Not only will your customers enjoy the instant savings, they will be much more likely to return once the season has passed.
One of the greatest advantages of running a small business is being able to personally connect with your customers in a meaningful way. Sending handwritten ‘thank you’ cards with orders goes a long way in leaving a favorable impression that could result in repeat business and positive word of mouth. In addition to personal notes, showing your most loyal customers your appreciation is also important. Sending out a special promotion or a free gift just for them not only lets them know you how much their repeat business means to you, but it also builds trust and brand loyalty.
Contests are a great way to get your brand noticed by a bigger audience than usual—especially when you take advantage of paid campaigns offered by Facebook. It’s also a great tool for engaging your audience in a fun way. Ask a holiday-themed question that people will enjoy answering. Whether you ask them to share their favorite holiday tradition or what they’re asking for this Christmas, it’s a way to get people talking. Something as simple as this prompts people to associate your business with good feelings – plus it’s also a fantastic way for you to better understand your audience. Customer responses provide insight into what is important to them, and knowing your audience is critical for success.
Show your customers your human side by sharing personal stories and/or photos from this or previous holiday seasons. Doing so puts a face to your brand, and allows others to relate to you on a personal level and view you as more than just a business. Give your audience a behind-the-scenes photographic look at how you make your products. Showing how you prepare for the holiday rush not only gives your customers a more intimate view into your daily life, it also shows that you have nothing to hide. A healthy dose of transparency when it comes to your business is always a good thing.
Choosing gifts for friends and family isn’t always easy. Offering gift cards or certificates is a great way to take some of the weight off of the gift-giver’s shoulders. Recipients can choose exactly what they want—and everyone is happy. Gift cards are a wise investment for any small business, as they guarantee money coming back into your shop. The best part is that the majority of those shopping with gift cards end up spending more than the value of the certificate, so you end up making a bigger profit without putting in extra work.
Good customer service can be the tipping point in a person’s decision to become a lifelong customer. Encourage your customers to ask questions if they have them, and respond openly and honestly without the pressure to sell. Make sure to keep all lines of social media communication open, and respond as quickly as possible. Making people feel that their needs and concerns are not only heard but also welcome is one of the best ways to set your business apart.
When you treat your customers as people first and consumers second, it doesn’t go unnoticed —and it creates a strong foundation for success that extends far beyond the holiday season. Happy Selling!
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