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Tips to Get Your Business Ready for the Holiday Rush


Advertise your business for FREE this holiday season

If you own a brick and mortar shop or an e-commerce site, you know how busy the holidays can get and how important it is to prepare your business for the customer rush. Twenty-four per cent of Canadians are last minute shoppers, meaning your store will be busy right up to the last day with everyone running around trying to check people off their gift list. While the holidays can seem like a stressful situation waiting to happen, preparing your small business for the holidays will only lead to success and an increase in profits. 

Here are a couple of tips to make the holidays go by smoothly. 

1. Take a look at your industry. Look at industry trends and note the items that people are looking to buy this season and consider if you want to carry them. Think about how you can tap into that market. It’s also important to find what makes your business different from others and use it to your advantage. With the right marketing, people will come to your shop to get that special item.

2. Examine last year’s performance. Take a look at how well last year went. What were your customers interested in and where did they come from? Did they engage with an ad sent by email or see your brand on social media? By taking a look at this data you’ll be able to see your strengths and weaknesses and how you can improve this year.

3. Review your inventory. Your business needs to keep up with the demand of customers. Take a look at the data from last year and plan for extra so you don’t run out, which may actually hurt your business. Keep your business stocked so you’re able to deliver when demand spikes.

4. Hire seasonal staff. Being prepared means having enough staff to handle the influx of customers. Hire staff who are enthusiastic about your products and services and are willing to provide extra help over the holidays. Be sure to provide an FAQ sheet along with proper training on customer service and your products.

5. Keep up to date with your online presence. It is crucial for your business to be present online. Update your channels to make sure the people searching for your business can find relevant information. FIfty-four per cent of holiday shoppers research online before making a purchase in store, so take a look the platforms your competitors are active on and get started if you haven’t already. As a gift for the holidays, add your business to 411.ca for FREE.

6. Offer pre-holiday promotions. Get a jump on your competition. Just like Black Friday, many companies have “pre-black Friday” sales to get a jump on the other guys. Take advantage of this and get people to shop early.

7. Prepare. Make sure your store has enough packaging, bags and gift wrap. Plan to keep the store open longer and have your staff work extra hours. More foot traffic during the business season means more day-to-day upkeep and admin tasks.

8. Plan for the post-holiday rush. The period after the holiday rush can be just as profitable as the season itself. According to Google Canada’s Survey, 48 per cent of consumers in Canada will take advantage of post-holiday sales. When customers come to return items, create a strategy that will lead to purchase something else. Gift cards a great way to give them their money back.


Online Stores

Seventy-two per cent of shoppers will go online for holiday gift ideas, spending about 8.6 hours looking for the perfect gift. If you have an e-commerce store, make sure your business is ready for the holiday rush of customers. A few things you should do are:

1. Stress test your website. Make sure it can handle a large amount of traffic. Look for:

  • Site speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Security
  • User-friendliness

2. Pick the best shipping options. Check out what the best options to ship your products to customers before it’s too late. Clearly state across your website the shipping costs and deadlines that will guarantee your product will be shipped for the holiday.

3. Be prepared to package. Not only should you stock up on your inventory, but you should stock up on your packaging as well—especially, if your packaging is signature to your brand.

4. Offer promotions. Free shipping is an excellent marketing tactic as shipping costs are one of the top reasons customers abandon their shopping carts. This only works if you can absorb those costs. You can offer it for a limited time or if orders meet certain criteria.

5. Turn holiday shoppers into return customers. You can turn your customers and the people they buy gifts for into repeat buyers. Things like coupons valid in the new year or a sample of a product will help to keep your customers coming back.

The holiday season is a busy time, but it’ll run smoothly with the right preparation and planning. Do you have more tips to help out other small business owners? Post them in the comments below.

Advertise your business for FREE this holiday season

Anastasia graduated with a BA Honors Communications Degree and is currently pursuing her passion for writing and helping small businesses succeed.