The Edge You Need to Bring In Customers During the Holiday Season

…Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but… thousands of customers in line and online ready to spend!

Ok, so maybe I took some artistic license there… you can stop shaking your head now. But, you know it’s true. Black Friday has passed yet you want to bring in the customers during the busy holiday shopping season- am I right?

A total of 23 million small businesses account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales according to the Small Business Administration- and you can be a part of those sales too.

Here’s a few ways to play your cards right and give you an edge on the mega chain stores:

Up Your Online Presence – The average shopper will do 44 percent of their holiday shopping online this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s the highest percentage recorded since the group began tracking that topic. Make sure your website is updated each day with your promotions, upcoming sales, etc. Make sure it also links to your social media accounts.

Price Matching – This is a tough one for most small businesses because of the costs involved, but if you can do it then do it. Most folks would rather beat the crowds at Walmart and shop a small biz especially if they know they’ll receive the same price.

Offer Personalized Attention – This is a HUGE edge small businesses have on the mega chain stores. “Not only can they provide you with goods and services that you might not be able to get anywhere else, but they are the ones that know it best because it’s their business that they have started personally and then they’re able to give you exceptional customer service that you’re not going to find anywhere else,” said Laurie Ehlbeck, a state director for New Jersey at the National Federation of Independent Business. It’s also the things like free on the spot gift-wrapping and personalized items that will bring people in.

Use Your Email List Serve – Send targeted emails to customers who have signed up to receive your emails. Once a day is not uncommon during the holiday season. Have a theme for your emails such as “Ideas for Him”, “Ideas for Her”, “Ideas for that Hard to Buy for Boss”- you get the idea. Do the shopping for them.

Get the Word Out on Social Media – Pictures, pictures, pictures. They say a 1,000 words. Show what you’re doing, what you’re about- don’t just tell.

Extra Ideas – Offer door busters on certain days. Referral discounts to patrons that send in new customers. Discounts for returning customers. Look for other ways to incentivize loyal customers.

Although nerve- wracking for small businesses, it can be a huge season of success. Get out there and sell!

Happy Holidays – wishing you and your family health and happiness in the New Year!