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You may be wondering why we’re talking about holiday sales before November, but we believe you can never prepare too early. The holiday shopping season will arrive before you know it and without a concrete plan, your business could miss out on the biggest shopping time of the year.

Obviously, the first step in preparing for holiday sales is determining what you will be offering your customers. In order to this, you should look at your sales goals for the year and what kind of discount you can realistically afford to offer. Once you’ve determined that, you’ll want start making other preparations. Here are a few things to make sure you plan out for your holiday sales.

Prepare Your Website for Increased Holiday Sales Traffic

If you own a business, then you probably have a website (or online platform) where you direct customers to make purchases. The website traffic during your holiday sale could lead to slower loading times or even a possible website crash. Last year, 39% of e-retailers claimed they lost money due to website performance or stability problems. Instead of settling for what could happen, you need to take action to prevent these situations.

The first step is to talk with your website host. Make sure that your website can handle an increase in traffic. You should also make sure that you have enough bandwidth to handle a lot of people visiting your website at the same time. Most users will give up within a couple of seconds, so you should aim for two seconds or less. The faster the better.

Next, make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Over 50% of emails are opened on phones. So, 50% of the people who read your email will view your website on his or her phone. If it doesn’t load or is hard to use, then you’ll lose those customers. Optimize your website for mobile so you don’t lose out on these interested customers. Again, you’ll need to keep your load time low; however, it can be slightly slower than a computer load time, but just slightly.

Next, make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Over 50% of emails are opened on phones. So, 50% of the people who read your email will view your website on his or her phone. If it doesn’t load or is hard to use, then you’ll lose those customers. Optimizing your website for mobile should be a top priority. Again, you’ll need to keep your load time low.

Plan a Strategy for Reaching Your Ideal Customer

A marketing plan is an important part of any sale, but the most important part of the marketing plan is reaching the right people. Small business owners should take advantage of marketing techniques that don’t cost a lot but, reach a lot of people. We have found that email and social media marketing are best for small businesses.

Email marketing is a great way to reach people who are actively interested in your business. These people gave you their emails because they want to hear from you. The best way to increase your reach is to keep building your email list. You can use your deals and sales to get people to sign up for your list. Once you have a great list of interested people, you can create an email marketing campaign that drives sales.

Business owners know that social media is a great marketing tool, but it can be hard to implement. A lot of the time businesses focus too much on marketing and not enough of the social aspect of things. First and foremost, social media marketing needs to be social. You need to respond and interact with your followers so that you can build trust and build community.

Once you have that down, you can move onto targeting your ideal customer. Hashtags are the perfect tool to zero in and reach your ideal client. Some platforms even let you target your posts to a certain group of people. Just last week, we used Facebook’s targeting feature and had 854 organic impressions on a single post. We didn’t pay a dime to reach those people. We just targeted people who would be interested in the post. It was a simple way to reach our ideal customer.

Prepare for the Post-Holiday Sales Madness

Everyone knows that holiday sales can create mania, whether online or in a retail space. However, we tend to forget about the post-holiday madness. This time is spent with people returning or exchanging items, taking advantage of the super sales as retailers try to get rid of the rest of the holiday stock and so much more. You need to prepare your team to handle all of this.

One way to make things a little easier on your customers and your team is to refine your returns process. Train your employees to follow a system that makes returns easy on them and your customers. You should also make sure that everyone is aware what your returns policy is. Post it at your register so that customers can see it and they don’t try to fight with your cashiers over it.

When you’re setting up your returns policy you should encourage people to keep spending his or her money at your store. You can do this through two ways. First, you can try to get people to exchange their items rather than just return them. Perhaps, you can hire a personal shopper who can assist customers and help them find an item that works better for them. Your second option is to adjust your return policy to have customers receive in-store credit or gift cards for their returns. That way, you don’t lose out of the revenue, just because of a return.

What other things do you do to prepare for holiday sales? Leave a comment and let us know.



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