Ho-Ho-Ho: 7 Ways to Get Your Share (or More) of Holiday Spending
They don’t call it Black Friday for nothing: The holiday shopping season is make-or-break time for many small businesses. And a survey from Accenture finds U.S. consumers plan to spend 11 percent more on gifts this year than they did in 2012.
Here are seven ways to capture your share (or more) of those holiday dollars:
1. Promote the experience
In a small commercial distinct in Philadelphia called Manayunk, 100 small businesses along Main Street found that large discounts don’t lure high-spending customers.
“Instead, small business owners need to promote the experience of buying the perfect gift and reinforce that you can only find that perfect experience in their store,” says Alicia Dietzmann, public relations and events coordinator for the district. “We recommend stores try to make their space feel as homey as possible with holiday scented candles and warm lighting.”
2. Make it personal
Jeff Slutsky, author of Street Fighter Marketing, explains how his wife, a personal shopper at a major luxury retailer, generates additional sales: She keeps a file on each of her clients with pictures of everything they’ve purchased as well as their “wish” list.
“When something comes in that she thinks they would like, she takes a picture of the item and emails it to them with details,” he says. Often times she quickly receives an email to ship the item out and bill it to their credit card. They don’t even come into the store. “I think this kind of personal service is ideal for a certain segment of the market. No advertising or special pricing needed.” He adds: Knowing your customers’ needs and wants by gathering the information as you work with them allows you to follow up with your suggestions later on.
3. Get social
Social marketing is one of the best ways that small businesses can make an intimate connection with customers. “We recommend our small businesses post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at least three or four times per day with updates on new products,” Dietzmann says. “Stories featuring customers who have found the perfect product entice people to see the new inventory.” The restaurants in her district have had success in their small business marketing by using high resolution photos of new menu items and old favorites.
4. Share reviews
One store in Dietzmann’s district posts positive Yelp reviews through its Facebook page. “They simply copy and paste their customers’ beautiful reviews to share with their followers,” she says. “Not only does this attract new customers who may not have bought anything from their store before, but it also serves as a reminder to past customers of the great experience they had while shopping in their store.” She says it’s especially important to strike this social-marketing connection going into the holidays, when competition becomes more intense.
5. Create a holiday tie-in
Drew Gerber, founder and CEO of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., recommends small businesses look for ways to tie their products and services into seasonal news. For example, one of his clients creates artistic ocarinas, those little wind instruments that are regaining popularity.
“This year they have several Hobbit, elf, and Lord of the Rings-themed ocarinas they are offering in conjunction with the December release of the next Hobbit film,” he says. In addition, the store owner has written articles about how parents can introduce their kids to music through holiday songs that have been published in various parenting magazines and blogs, generating even more interest.
6. Take care of your cart
According to a Harris Interactive survey, 66 percent of shoppers who have tried to make a purchase via smartphone have abandoned their shopping carts due to problems during the payment process. Take this into account in your website design and development.
“During the holidays, your site will have an influx of online shoppers who are not familiar with your site or your products,” says Brooks Robinson, CEO of Springbot, which helps companies enhance their online marketing efforts. “This increases the importance of having clear, easy-to-find information.” One way to easily improve customer service efficiency is by enabling live chat, which can seamlessly guide visitors to the products they want to buy, help answer any questions, and speed up the overall buying process.
7. Say “Thank You!”
You probably thank customers after they make a purchase in your store. Thanking customers can be done with online purchases, too—and the way in which you thank customers can enhance your relationship with them. Robinson suggests retailers should not only thank buyers for their recent purchase but should also confirm the delivery date promised during check-out, include any applicable warranties or care instructions and provide suggestions on how to get the most use out of the product.
Providing some worthwhile information turns the thank-you from a perfunctory gesture to a confidence-building way of reducing shopping cart abandonment. It also demonstrates why customers should continue doing business with you long after the holidays have ended.
Stand Out Sustainably on the Holidays
The Real Yellow Pages® print directories help you reach buyers where they are: YP distributes more than 115 million directories in the U.S. each year and publishes more than 1,200 titles in 22 states. Seventy-eight percent of the The Real Yellow Pages® users make a purchase or intend to make a purchase,1 so your yellow pages listing is exposed to many ready-to-buy customers. And you can feel good knowing that this yellow means green: YP has lowered its paper use since 2007 and, according to the EPA, 70 percent of all copies are recycled.
1Burke 2009-2010 Local Media Tracking Study.
Learn more about advertising in The Real Yellow Pages®.
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