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It May Be the Thick of Holiday Season, But It’s Not Too Late to Have a Plan
29 Nov 12 Posted by: Kathleen C Lanza
in Plans & Goals
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If you’re one of those business opportunity, franchise or other small business owners who naturally assumed the holidays would bring a much-needed boost to your retail or online sales, and you have yet to take a proactive approach, you may want to rethink that. While Black Friday may be over, the bulk of holiday purchases will be made now through Christmas Day, so it’s not too late to change it up if you haven’t already.

The cold hard truth is that by not offering something to your customers that sets you apart, you run the risk of losing them to a competitor, one that is fully on-board in anticipating the heightened expectations of today’s most demanding holiday shopper. Especially now that online deals are so easy to come by, oftentimes without paying taxes or shipping, retailers and smaller brick and mortar businesses need to be proactive like never before.

Bottom line…you need a holiday marketing plan, or at the very least this late in the game a strategy. And it’s not too late to get one.

Here are some ideas:

Re-package for success—Ask yourself how your products can be packaged together in creative ways as holiday gift-giving ideas, and then adjust the price to something manageable yet competitive.

Go the extra mile—Smaller retailers and online sellers really gain points with consumers when they offer customer service over and above the big box stores. During the holidays, there’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to kindness, prompt assistance and letting your customers know how much you appreciate them. It’s important to staff up accordingly.

Offer free shipping—In this day and age, free shipping is almost a must if you want to compete. This is just one of those perks that can make all the difference between you and the competition, especially during the holidays when so many others are offering it.

Work the mobile angle—Social media is increasingly being used by consumers as a means of identifying the products and services they want as well as the businesses they frequent, often on the fly and especially if there’s a hot deal involved. Use it to your fullest advantage to visually display what you are selling and offer special limited-time holiday deals to drive traffic and sales.

Position yourself as the expert—Who hasn’t needed help finding the perfect gift at one time or another? Make the most of this business opportunity by posting gift suggestions on your website or even including them with your current orders. Also, provide tips on the hottest trends and gift ideas for kids, men, women, the person who has everything…you get the gist.

Don’t forget your business-to-business associates—While taking care of your customers and reaching out to them in new and creative ways with special offers and promotions on your products and services this season is important, taking care of your business relationships is equally so. Use the holidays as an opportunity to reach out to the clients, partners, suppliers and organizations you appreciate the most. Take time and the necessary steps to acknowledge the key role they play in sustaining you and your ability to be successful all year long.

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I had the pleasure of chatting with Shawn Pigg, CEO of Hotels Etc. for BusinessOpportunity.com's Podcast series that will be released very soon on our new Digital Platform.  Here is the transcript from that call for our regular RSS feed subscribers who get all of our posts first.

If you would...
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