If national predictions prove accurate, the holidays hold a welcome present for retailers: the largest leap in December and November sales since 2011. The National Retail Federation calls an entire 4.1 percent sales increase this holiday season, with U.S. retailers anticipated to hire between 725,000 and 800,000 seasonal workers. On-Line sales totals are expected to grow between 11 percent and 8 percent over 2013 numbers.
With the holiday season anticipated to represent nearly 20 percent of the U.S. retail sector’s overall yearly sales, small-scale retailers need to get ready now, even if they have a bit more time this year. Bargain-hunting consumers intend to wait until Thanksgiving weekend to begin their holiday shopping, based on research firm NPD Group.
Here are eight strategies for receiving the most from the vacations:
Spruce up your web site. Almost 60 percent of consumers intend to do at least a few of their holiday shopping this year, making the leading station for holiday shopping, based on NPD. Girls are much more likely than men to shop on-line (62 percent vs. 57 percent), as are those with kids at home.
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Remain true to your values. Small retailers can not overcome on big box stores on cost, but they can reinforce their customer links at the vacations, says chief executive of women’s activewear business Skirt Sports Nicole DeBoom, . “Dump the sitewide or storewide 30-percent-off sale,” she says. Instead, attempt more concentrated promotions around core products that are emblematic. “Then package the promotion together with the language that resonates with your community, giving your sale a subject that differentiates you from the generic vacation deal,” she says.
Prolong your hours. Internet shopping is expected to symbolize more than $100 billion in holiday sales this year, but consumers will spend at least at brick-and-mortar retailers. Hunting consumers will not do it in your shop when they are shopping, if it is not open. Consider remaining open late during December and opening early.
Spread the cheer. People love freebies, so consider giving something away with specific purchases. Andrea Woroch, a consumer specialist for web site management firm Kinoli, says vacation presents can be options to reductions. “Last year, Target did a fantastic promotion that brought tons of shoppers where they gave away a $5 gift card for select purchases,” she says. “This not only helped foster total sales, but it helped foster sales of specific goods.”
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Offer free shipping. Free Shipping was founded by Kinoli CEO Luke Knowles six years back as a promotion for online retailers. Free shipping is the No. 1 promotion that shoppers respond to, he says. “If possible, offer bargains on expedited transportation as we get nearer to the holiday season, as shoppers need to understand they’ve choices for last minute shopping.” Be sure that stock amounts and your sending deadlines are conveyed certainly on purchasing, so customers do not miss out.
Hire staff and focus on service. As a small company, personalized customer care is really your asset. “The holidays are a trying time, and having plenty of folks reacting to customer support queries and fulfillment requests is essential to a positive customer experience and yield company,” Knowles says.
Organize some special deals. No, you can not compete on price, but cost-conscious consumers will be looking for great deals this holiday season and exceptional products. Michele Loeper, the marketing manager at fair trade retailer Ten Thousand Villages, enjoys doing one day deep reduction sales. “Additionally consider back offers. They are sometimes particularly enticing during those last minute panic days leading to the vacation,” she says. In the shop, she makes sure to show some cloaked catch-and-go things in groups like “foodie presents” or “hostess gifts” that time-pressed shoppers can pick up in the means to a celebration.