The aroma of pumpkin spice in the air signals that the holiday season is right around the corner. However, this coincides with the onset of headaches for small business owners. Questions of every kind start to surface, such as: What should my holiday business hours be? Will my employees be ready to work? Do I expect to make or lose money? Would my consumers be disappointed if I closed my business over the holidays? These worries are not unfounded because the holidays may affect your company in both positive and negative ways.
So how do small firms make decisions? Let’s discuss the frequently surprising and potentially lucrative connection between your company and the holiday season.
Planning guide for the holidays
The most critical factor in staffing is whether or not your employees will be willing to work during the holidays. The additional incentive of extra pay or vacation days will make some workers more than willing to put in the time. Some people may prefer not to work and instead spend time with their close friends and family. Whatever your company chooses, it’s always a smart idea to consider your employees’ leave requests and schedule shifts accordingly.
Now that you know roughly how many workers are available, consider the following: Can your current staff handle the holiday pressure, or will you need to acquire more teams? If you need more help, get those individuals on board a few weeks prior to the holiday season. Put your strategy in place well before you actually notice a rise in demand. Knowing when your busiest period will be and hiring the appropriate staff members are essential.
Demand forecasting can be challenging. In order to avoid dealing with out-of-stock situations, it’s necessary to stock up on the right products. On the other hand, you don’t want to overestimate demand and end up with too much inventory.
It’s crucial to analyze your sales data to identify the goods you should stock up on. Examine your recent sales as well as those from the previous months and use that information to predict demand.
Keep in mind that while estimating holiday demand, sales shouldn’t be the only thing taken into account. Consider other factors as well, such as the weather, current purchasing power, political atmosphere, consumer debt, and other economic indicators, which may impact your consumers’ shopping behavior.
3. Online orders
With most businesses investing in online stores, you may have the opportunity to run your physical store on a skeleton crew. Allow your customers to place orders online and pick up their packages from the store at an appointed time. This will allow you to keep the store open only during those specific hours.
Make sure, though, that your website can handle the influx of visitors the holiday season will bring. Test several features of your online store, such as the load time and checkout speed, and work to reduce your numbers as much as you can.
You may also offer home delivery. Plan your fulfillment procedure in advance and look for strategies to get things into clients’ hands as soon as possible. Choose an ecommerce inventory solution that ties together every system, process, and sales channel.
4. Hours of operation
You should consider the needs of the industry when deciding whether to keep your organization open during the holidays. While some firms see growth at this time, others struggle and would be better off closing, especially for B2B-oriented businesses.
Statistics show that consumers enjoy spending their hard-earned money on niche, seasonal goods. You can determine whether or not your products or services will be purchased by researching the holiday purchases that individuals make the most. Consider being open for as long as possible if you are providing a product or service that is in great demand during this time. If not, closing early and waiting for a better opportunity would be the smarter course of action.
Don’t forget to update your holiday closing hours on your website and social media handles, so your customers can plan their shopping schedules.
5. Marketing and advertising
Whether to stay open during holidays can severely impact your brand awareness. Consider this: if you are open while your competitors are closed during the busy holiday season, it is a terrific chance for you to grow your consumer base by running holiday-themed promos. Make the most of the festive mood and the overall upbeat atmosphere to forge enduring relationships.
A few marketing initiatives that can help you liven things up are listed below:
- Pre-holiday clearance sales – Think about starting a pre-holiday clearance sale well in advance to get rid of last season’s inventory and make space for holiday merchandise.
- Holiday catalogs – While digital may be growing, catalogs still play a significant role in many marketing strategies.
- Holiday gift guides – Create a Christmas gift guide with your top picks for merchandise. This makes your store a one-stop destination for gift shopping.
- Personalized products – Give your consumers the option to personalize the things they purchase from you. You might offer to engrave items or just supply customized labels.
- Holiday countdowns – Launching a countdown allows you the ability to engage with your clients and draw attention to various elements of your business, and it is a popular strategy around the holidays.
For instance, highlight one of your goods for every day of the countdown, or offer advent calendars that contain a sample of one of your goods in clearly designated boxes to be unwrapped each day of Advent in anticipation of Christmas.
Take a break
No matter how tiny the workforce, small business entrepreneurs should physically take a day off from work. This allows you to spend time with your family and all of the relatives traveling to see you. Don’t just bolt, though. Create a strategy for “In Case of Emergency” situations so that a reliable person may be reached in the event that something goes wrong with your company.
Additionally, empower your employees to manage the holiday rush with DEAR’s multi-module inventory management software, allowing them to manage your inventory, orders, and fulfillment seamlessly. Connect with our experts to simplify your holiday sales management.