Each year, Thanksgiving marks the start of a huge boost in sales for all businesses — the holiday shopping season. This year will be no exception, quite the contrary; holiday spending is expected to reach its highest point since the Great Recession, increasing 10 percent compared with the 2015 holiday season, according to PwC’s 2016 Holiday Outlook. As the Small Business Saturday showed us, this holiday season will be a sales explosion. Is your sales department – big or small – prepared?
Stock up with trending goods
Running out of products while the demand is the highest is every salesman’s nightmare. You don’t want that happening to you, so get in touch with your stock and management and make sure that the capacity is at least three to four times bigger than during the rest of the year. You don’t want your salespeople to miss their momentum because of an “OUT OF STOCK” sign.
Gifts! Coupons, free shipping, giveaways
The holiday season is a time of giving. That’s why offering your customers some added value for free will seal the deal. Whether it will be discount coupons for next year, free shipping and handling services or holiday-themed contests and giveaways of your popular products, let your imagination run wild and show your customers that your company totally has a holiday spirit.
Brush up your website
E-commerce sales play a huge role in shopping, and you can bet your bottom dollar that in the cold winter months even more people will prefer to buy from the warmth and comfort of their homes. That’s why you should make sure that your company’s website is ready for the holiday traffic – content- and graphic-wise. Up-to-date contact and holiday information, special offers, everything needs to be ready.
Hire & extend hours for excellent customer service
The holiday rush will inevitably take its toll on your sales team. And if your company decided to extend the working hours (which, if organized correctly, is a great strategy to boost sales by ensuring a smooth and pleasant customer experience), your employees won’t really thank you. Offering them bonuses and commissions may help, but it won’t solve all your problems. That’s why this may be the right time to consider hiring some extra working forces, to spread the load.
Just be careful not to lower your standards too much. Having enough people doesn’t ensure a quality sales process and customer service, so don’t let your guard down even during hiring in this hectic time.
Team up with other businesses
Make a common event or parade, partner up for a common sale discount or support a charity by adding their product to your product. There will be enough competition as it is, and this gesture of support and camaraderie will surely be welcomed by the other companies as well as customers by giving them new opportunities, offering them new values and maybe even introducing them to new products related to your own.
Target with social media
Your company had all year to hone social media marketing and communication with clients, and now is the time to take all you’ve learned and use it. Targeting personalized ads at all kinds of possible customers, communicate and resolve issues with people on behalf of the company, promoting special offers, sharing all kinds of holiday-themed content — all these things will show your customers that your business is alive and well, and ready for their shopping.
Start planning NOW.
As you probably already noticed, if you’re starting to plan for holiday sales now, you’re already late — but all is not lost yet. We’ve still got a few weeks left, and that’s plenty of time to make some changes happen. Create a schedule and inventory so that everyone knows what’s happening when, to avoid any unnecessary chaos. It is very important to keep things organized, so if you’re still thinking about adding some last-minute sales offers, make sure it’s on everyone’s schedule and your sales department’s capacity is up to the task.