As yet another year races to its end, 2016 will go down as a time of eye-opening changes – and it isn’t quite over yet. For many businesses, their busiest time of year will kick off with a vengeance this week as the holiday season begins. If you find yourself wondering how to thank your customers for their support, or maximize holiday sales, you’re not the only one.
But is it possible to prepare your business for the holidays without tearing your hair out? Might you actually be able to enjoy the holiday season, at the same time as coping with demand? Well, you can certainly try! Check out these five jolly ways to prepare your business for the holidays.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
What’s so jolly about planning? If my first point just gave you whiplash, then remember that few events in life are simply spontaneously fun; least of all in business. While you can sit back unprepared for the onslaught of traffic and peak in sales — the holiday season will be much jollier for everyone involved if you plan ahead. Trust me, there’s nothing happy or cheery about running out of inventory, keeping customers waiting, or having to reboot your servers.
Dan Sevigny of Christmas Tree Brooklyn confirms: “The most important thing business owners can do to prepare for the Holiday rush is to plan. The second most important thing to do is plan some more. Seriously, you can’t be well enough prepared.” So, go through your past year’s sales and analytics data, figure out what you’ll need for the coming year and organize the fun in advance!
2. Create Your Holiday Offers
For many companies, the holiday season is their busiest time of the year. And it’s not always jolly when you’re rushing around, stretched to your limits. So, make sure that you create your holiday offers in advance. This becomes much easier once you’ve studied the data from your performance the year before and identified patterns. For example, the nonprofit sector alone receives over a third of their annual donations in the last quarter.
Remember that people are ready and willing to buy, so make sure that you have an offer tailored to meet their needs. If you work in a rapidly changing market, last year’s popular products won’t be enough — you’ll need to anticipate customer trends this year. If you provide a service, like marketing, think about creating a valuable asset such as an eBook, whitepaper, online courses or a free e-calendar. These are relatively easy to put together and a great way of giving extra holiday value to your customers.
Getting the holiday season right might be about careful planning and creating the right offers, but don’t forget about the holiday spirit! Customers and employees alike are in the mood for a little celebration after a hard year at work. Make the holidays more fun for everyone and build anticipation by decorating your office, store or fleet.
If you work in an online environment, that doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from the party. Whether you sell bed linen or remote control cars, you can add a little snow to your website, pictures of presents and lights. The holidays lift people’s spirits and customers will buy more from you if they feel happy. So, investing in a little design can pay dividends when it comes to conversions.
4. Keep an Open Mind
Companies should be mindful that their employees celebrate the holidays differently, and their customers do as well. Instead of focusing on just one segment, keep an open mind and make sure that your campaigns are inclusive or targeted. Many companies hire employees all around the globe. The holiday season can be a great way of discovering how different cultures celebrate the holidays (and when).
Be culturally sensitive (and a better boss) by giving flexi-time to employees who may not celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas day. Not only will you allow them to use these days when their country or religion has a national holiday, but you’ll ensure that your business is up-and-running around the clock.
5. Give Back
According to Amir Eyal of Mylestone Plans, giving back can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the holiday season. It’s good for business as well as the community, and for bolstering employee morale. He advises to “ask your staff to choose a charity they would like to support and make a donation on their behalf in addition to holiday bonuses.” Remembering that the holiday spirit is not only commercial and honoring those who have less than us is a great way of promoting well-being.
However you decide to prepare your business for the holiday season, make sure you do it with one eye on the past and the other on the future. Know what happened last year and what the trends are likely to be this time around. Be prepared so that no one gets overworked or bent out of shape, and your employees and customers alike have a jolly holiday season.
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