How to Make Your Holiday Business Season Better than Ever
A pandemic doesn't have to stop your business from enjoying the biggest shopping boom of the year

Holidays are normally every business' "most wonderful time of the year." In 2019 alone, the holidays marked a 5% increase in total sales with e-commerce ballooning by 14%. But, naturally, COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in everyone's dreams for a Christmas miracle. 83.5% of business owners experienced a negative effect from the COVID-19 pandemic, 44% are worried about finding new customers, and 30% are worried about the long-term economic impacts of the pandemic.

It's a tough time for business owners, but what better time to turn it around than the holidays? Here are some tips to make your business' stockings more full than ever this year.

1. Marketing

Consumers are spending more time than ever before in their pajamas at home. While this might be a small silver lining to the world's current predicament, it means that you can't count on window-shoppers, posters, billboards, or in-person events to make sure people hear about how your business is perfect for satisfying their holiday needs. Here are some ways of reaching customers effectively with these limitations in mind:

  • Create and advertise holiday packages online

Make things special for the holidays. People love a deal, and the only thing they might love more i a great deal that makes for an easy holiday gift! Try offering holiday packages that keep customers coming back (such as buy 1, get one next visit deals) or make great presents to put under the tree.

  • Adapt your products to the season

Outside of packages, make sure your products generally match the season as much as possible! Most people aren't shopping for bikinis and tiki torches this time of year. Promote those items that are most seasonally relevant or re-market less seasonal items to seem more seasonally appropriate.

  • Send out holiday cards

Customers love personal touches, and many will remember to shop with you if they feel like you remembered them enough to send a holiday card. Bonus points if you can personally sign each card or personalize them with each customer's name!

  • Design and deliver a holiday newsletter jam-packed with holiday deal offers

Similar to a card but less personalized, a newsletter is a great way to remind your customers of your great products and offer them tantalizing holiday deals.

  • Create and execute a holiday marketing calendar

Most importantly, plan out your marketing calendar. Get active on social media to add reputability and a personal feel to your brand. You can even kick it off by offering freebies to people that follow you or engage with your posts!

2. Safety

Sometimes when we find ourselves bored at home or exasperated by lockdowns, we forget the bigger picture of why we're doing this. We're doing it because we want long, healthy, COVID-free lives for ourselves and the people around us! Your customers want to stay safe, your employees want to stay safe, and you want the same!

Here are some tips to help earn the appreciation of your customers and employees by keeping them safe:

  • Adapt your in-store layout

    Reconfigure your store's layout to make social distancing easy! Let your customers enjoy the in-store shopping experience while having to worry about their distance from others as little as possible.

  • Create new hours

    Take the time to analyze your store traffic and see if you could reduce congestion by opening earlier or closing. You could even create an in-store appointment system to manage your store traffic, which would give the added benefit of more personalized attention for your customers. You should also designate certain hours to allow only the highest risk populations to shop so they can continue to support your business.

  • Expand curbside offerings

Make your customers' shopping experience easier than ever! Expand curbside offerings so that your customers can call head, place an order online, or even order at the door to get their items easily. If possible, try to offer delivery options as well.

  • Offer contactless payment options

75% of American consumers prefer using contactless cards over other forms of payment, including chip insert, magnetic stripe, mobile payments and cash due to pandemic fears. Make it a priority to start accepting contactless payments in your store! You can get started easily with PathPoint Merchant Services. We offer unbeatable prices, top of the line customer service, and the top payment technology on the market for your business.

3. Digitize

More than ever, online shopping is a crucial part of the holidays. Fast, easy, you can do it from work (AKA your kitchen table), and no risk of COVID transmission involved! Don't expect this trend to reverse in the near future, as many customers have found that they prefer digital holiday shopping anyway. Salesforce even reports that consumers like the online holiday shopping season so much that sales are expected to grow 30% this year. Bottom line is, you need to make sure your digital presence is up to date and maximized for the holiday season. Here are some tips to do so:

  • Update and optimize your website

    This period of time is full of changes. Keep your customers up to date by always making sure to update your website. There's nothing worse than a negative online review just because you forgot to tell customers about your new ours! In addition, consider hiring someone to optimize (or create) your website. A lot of customers will just give up on a shop if they don't have their own website.

  • Start or grow your shop on ecommerce platforms

    There are a ton of ecommerce platforms that can improve the discoverability of your business for consumers, expanding your product reach to unprecedented heights! Consider starting your virtual storefront on online platforms like Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, and others.

  • Host virtual experiences

Don't we all miss the holiday shopping experience? It's practically the hallmark of the holidays! To help satisfy your customers' desire for something resembling the in-store experience, consider conducting a video tour of your holiday merchandise or take advantage of Facebook/Instagram live to broadcast events advertising your merchandise.

  • Make it easy to pay online

There's nothing worse than filling up your online shopping cart only for the payment process to involve what seems like countless steps or the payment screen to take forever to load. Try turning to a payment service provider like PathPoint Merchant Services to make payment painless for your customers, and more importantly, painless for you.

 4. Remain Adaptable

Things aren't normal, and might never be as "normal" as before. As a business owner, your job is to make strategic decisions for your business that acknowledge and prepare for risks. So, more than anything, prepare your business to be adaptable for anything the rest of 2020 and the new year might throw at you. Fortunately, people want to see your small business endure. 3 in 4 consumers say that they're going to make an effort to shop with small businesses this holiday season. Hopefully, with these tips and their support, you'll have a holiday season to be thankful for.

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