Don’t go into Black Friday without a plan.
With the holiday season upon us, now’s the time to prepare your business if you haven’t already. One of the biggest shopping days of the year, the infamous post-Thanksgiving Black Friday looms just weeks away. And as consumers turn away from the stress of waiting in line all night at a retail storefront, more and more people are opting to get their shopping done on the web. So you can bet that the influx of web traffic will increase steadily for years to come.
Here’s how to ready your business for the uptick:
Reflect and strategize
For businesses that have handled the holiday rush before, reflect on what worked and what needs to change this time around. Ask employees for their input and find out what resources would make their jobs more efficient and less stressful. Then lay out a plan. Work out employee scheduling, holiday hours, and shipping logistics. Ensure that you have an infrastructure ready to support the influx. This may even mean that, with the increased workload, it may be a worthwhile idea to hire seasonal employees to pick up the slack.
Spruce up your marketing
The holiday season is a great time to add an extra thematic layer to your marketing-as-usual. For many businesses, this often takes the form of limited-time discount offers or ‘holiday specials.’ It’s an excellent strategy, too. Consumers have begun to expect it and paired with the idea of scarcity, they are more likely to purchase more.
Make it social
Don’t forget a social media strategy in the midst of all your preparations. In addition to being a fruitful marketing tool, social media can also help your customers engage with your business, offer feedback, and share promotions. Consider scheduling your posts each week, as you may not have the same amount of time available to put into maintaining your presence.
Keep your website in top shape
With your website being your storefront, any technical problems you may suffer can have a severe impact. As such, the holiday season is not an ideal time for a website redesign or major upgrade. Take care to make sure that automated receipts are functioning well, that inquiries are able to come through the contact form, and purchase and return policies are clearly stated. You may also want to retain an IT expert on call during the season, should anything urgent arise.
Plan for phone orders
Though many consumers are comfortable using websites to make purchases these days, some may still prefer more traditional methods or may struggle to complete an order online. Consider adding more phone-based staff to accommodate customers who call in to make purchases.
Add a personal touch
Though your consumers expect many communications to be automated via social media or email, they still appreciate mail once in a while. And a personalized greeting card can help to add a little extra joy into the holiday season. You can send one with their order, or opt for sending one later, perhaps with a coupon tucked inside for future inspiration.
Once the dust has settled and all of the orders have been finalized, it’s important to acknowledge the hard work that you and your staff have put in. Consider rewarding everyone with some kind of bonus or gift to show your appreciation. You can even take the initiative to ‘create’ an extra paid holiday, like Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.
Layla Fenston is a writer behind eVoice Australia – a premier provider of virtual telecommunications solutions in Australia. Passionate about helping others achieve success in their careers, Layla regularly writes about small business and entrepreneurship.