With Small Business Saturday right around the corner, many businesses are eager to make this holiday season the trajectory-changer of this challenging year. A recent survey conducted by Google found that nearly 75% of U.S. consumers plan to shop online for the holidays more this year than they did last year. Many consumers want to find ways to support local small businesses while being able to shop from home. To make this possible, small businesses need to adjust their holiday marketing strategies to align with the shift in their customers’ shopping habits. Here are 4 steps you can take right now:
Ramp Up Your Online Presence
According to a recent Facebook study, 85% of consumers around the world have been shopping online since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This isn’t just younger generations. In fact, 80% of Generation X and baby boomers are now shopping online too. With COVID, they’ve had to adjust their shopping practices along with everything else.
It’s time to ramp up your online presence. You can make it easier for your customers to find your website and shop right from the comfort of their homes. We’ve rounded up a few ways that you can start now.
Add Online Ordering Capabilities to Your Website
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to add an online shop to your website. Adding online ordering capabilities to your website makes it easy for your customers to support your small business.
Self-Audit Your Current Website
Evaluate the current content on your website. Make sure that your latest updates, promotions, products, and services are featured front and center. Include a dedicated page or section of your homepage to highlight your COVID-19 response plan and what you’re doing to keep your employees and customers safe during the upcoming holiday season.
Update Your Local Listings
Regularly check your Google My Business listing and other local listings to make sure they’re up-to-date. Provide your customers with accurate business information including location, store hours, website, phone number, and make note if you offer curbside pickup or other services to accommodate their current needs. Consumers are busy and are more likely to shop with small businesses that provide them with information quicker.
Consumers are spending more time than ever before on social media. Take advantage of these low-cost marketing platforms and post regular updates about your business. Share relevant photos and videos of current events, promotions, testimonials, and holiday giveaways that you’re involved in to increase engagement. The key is to remain consistent and provide valuable content for your consumers so that your business is top of mind when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Follow Up with Your Customers & Encourage Feedback
It can be overwhelming and exciting all at the same time to have an influx of customers during the holiday season. Incorporate an automated follow-up process once they’ve made a purchase to let them know that you value their support and welcome any feedback they have about their experience.
Send out a brief survey to your email list and recent customers. Ask them what they thought about their recent shopping experience and if they have any recommendations on how you can improve. By accepting and implementing customer feedback, you’ll build trust and rapport in the process.
If you’ve noticed a significant turnover in your customer base due to the COVID-19 pandemic, don’t let it go unnoticed. Check in with your past customers and let them know that you’ve missed them. Consider offering a special promotion, discount, or free gift with their next purchase. Don’t forget to send regular updates about how you’re protecting their health and safety to provide them with added peace of mind when they shop with you.
Offer Exceptional Customer Service
With many families skipping in-person celebrations this year, it’s more important than ever to find the perfect gift to show their love and appreciation. Many customers shop at and support local small businesses because of the practical, yet pleasant one-on-one service they receive. A few ways to offer exceptional customer service and make a positive impression include:
- Offering custom gift wrapping & note card services
- Creating a holiday gift guide with your most popular products
- Including instructions with every purchase on how to best use your products or services (e.g., a notecard or link to your website, testimonials, or product specifications)
- Making it easy to locate your contact information
- Updating your FAQs page to include relevant questions related to the holiday season and your updated store policies
These are just a few of the ways that you can provide goodwill to your customers and deliver exceptional customer service that will make a lasting impression.
Provide a Straightforward Holiday Return Policy
Be accommodating in your holiday return policy. Whether you offer an extended return policy, accept exchanges only, or only offer final sales, make sure that it’s clear and easy to locate that information on your website and receipts.
This year, consumers are more eager than ever to support local small businesses that they love. Make sure to provide them with a reason to keep coming back after Small Business Saturday is over and remain top of mind throughout the holiday season. By implementing smart holiday marketing strategies and providing your customers with an exceptional customer service experience, you’ll increase your chances of meeting your holiday sales goals and starting 2021 off right.