With the holidays in lieu, it’s time to start preparing for the various days that draw extra customers into your store. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday are all great days to boost the numbers of your small business. If it’s your first year open as a small business during this time of the year, it can feel extremely overwhelming.
How do you prepare?
What is a reasonable discount to offer?
Which items should you be promoting?
How many individuals should be working?
How much inventory do you have and how do you manage it?
These are just a few of the questions that might be running through your head as these big shopping days approach. For what it’s worth — we get it! The team at Visual Retail Plus are previous business owners that know the stress of the holidays all too well. We’ve compiled a quick blog of ways that you can start to prepare for these shopping days.
Determine Your Discounts
For starters, figuring out the discounts that you’re going to offer on each of these days is a must. Not only will determining the discounts give you a great starting point for the different preparation points that we’re going to mention in the rest of this blog, but it will help spark some excitement about the shopping days to come.
Now, the sale and discounts that you offer are going to be entirely up to you and what you’re comfortable offering. They should, however, be competitive enough to draw people into your store. Whether you choose to offer a higher discount on items that you have a huge inventory of or are looking to get rid of, take some time to look into your inventory and figure what types of discounts you can stand behind.
Once you’ve figured this out, you can start to proceed with all of the other things that come with these shopping days. Now, get excited because it’s a lot of work and a little bit of crazy, but the business that these holidays bring is well worth it! So, take a deep breath, and let’s move onto the next steps.
Bulk Up Inventory — If Necessary
You know your business better than anyone else. Once you’ve determined what type of discount you’re comfortable offering it’s time to look at your inventory and decide what is going to be placed where and how hard you’re going to push these sales. More often than not, discounts are determined by how much of a product is in stock.
One thing to take into consideration, if you’re planning far enough in advance, is whether or not you want any specific pieces for these shopping holidays. If there’s an item that you know is going to be a big seller for you and you can get in time, stock up in advance! Determine what exactly you need and place your orders so that they’re there on time.
Not only will this help you prepare for the shopping holidays themselves, but it can ultimately make you more comfortable knowing that you have items that are hits in your store. It can also help build up enough of an inventory for you to handle the foot traffic that these sales bring in.
Being successful on days like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday really comes down to one thing: promotion. As with day-to-day success a business owner, it’s important that you’re spreading the word of what’s happening in your store so that people are aware and have a need and a want to come in. Without knowing, the chances of them walking in and making a purchase are far less.
Now that you have determined the discounts and you’ve looked at your inventory, start to promote the sale! There’s no such thing as too much promotion and it’s important to remember that as you start to prepare for these shopping holidays. We’re going to cover a few of the main ways that we suggest promoting your sales so that you can get a head start on these various methods as well.
It may seem silly to turn to email for promotional purposes. Those tactics are dated, right? Wrong! Email is still one of the best ways that you can promote events and sales that are happening in your business. Check your email list and bulk it up the months before the sales start to happen.
By creating a fun and catchy email chain you can ensure that your clients are exposed to different deals, times and locations, and any special promotions that you may have going on. Exposing them to this before the shopping days occur gives them enough time to put you on the list of stops for these shopping days, which is exactly what you want!
More often than not people are getting their information from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These platforms offer the opportunity to not only make posts, but to advertise to individuals that are likely to be interested in the type of information and images that you’re sharing. If you’re not on these platforms then you’re already behind!
For the month leading up to these big shopping days, make sure that you’re posting often about the sales that will be going on and the different products that customers can expect to see. These are both visually heavy platforms which is great for promoting retail!
Along with routine posts of the sales that will be happening, it’s always good to run advertisements. Though this will require some extra funding, advertising through social media is a fantastic way to reach potential customers. Through the audience creation that these platforms offer you can expose individuals that are likely to be interested in your products to the discounts happening at your store and the products that will be out. This is great for these major shopping days but also for building the clientele of your business as a whole.
While the prior two points touch on ways for you to get these discounts in front of the customers when they’re at home or on the go, it’s also important to have these discounts displayed as people walk past your store. You’ve likely seen similar discounts displayed as you walk past stores. Whether it’s window paint or physical signs that showcase the sales that people can anticipate, it’s always good to get these taken care of.
All too often business owners think that the only type of advertising that matters these days is digital. While digital advertising does make up a good portion of the marketing that happens these days, promoting at your location is still equally important.
We know what you’re thinking — these people are seriously outdated! It may seem like printouts are a thing of the past, but there are so many ways that you can use them to your advantage. Especially during the holidays! One of the more affordable ways to hand out printouts while also knowing that you’re hitting your target audience is by putting them in bags after someones made a purchase.
Not only does this guarantee that the person receives the message, but you know for a fact that you’re reaching your target market. The person has already made a purchase, making them all the likelier to purchase again. If you’re really wanting to draw people in, add an extra promotion on the printout so that they feel enticed to bring that specific promotional item in when they return on these shopping days.
Get Mobile Ready
At one point in time, Black Friday started at midnight on Thanksgiving night. It consisted of waiting in a line outside of the store that you wanted to shop at. Nowadays most of the shopping happens on line. For that reason, it’s extremely important that you are mobile ready when these days come around. From your website to your POS system, you want to make sure that everything is in line and working as intended.
One of the more unfortunate issues that you could come across during this time of the year is a website that is slow and a transaction point that makes payment processing a pain. Prepare your website so that it’s user-friendly for all shoppers and ensure that you have a high-quality payment processing set up so that it continues to work easily even with the high amounts of traffic these shopping days are guaranteed to bring.
Prepare Your POS
While the craze of these holidays is going to be experienced in all elements of owning a business (employees, inventory, stocking, discounting, etc.), one of the areas that you’re really going to feel the craze at in the moment is at the point of sale. People partake in these shopping holidays to save some money and, more often than not, people are going to as many places as they can. For that reason, you want to make sure that the transaction process is quick and easy.
Preparing your POS system and the software that you use to keep your business running smoothly is a must. This is going to be something that you fall back on during each of these major shopping days. Truth be told, having a transaction process that doesn’t run smoothly is one of the bigger mistakes and struggles that you could come across on these shopping days. Don’t let that be the case for your business, let our team help you out.
Reach Out to Visual Retail Plus
While we can’t help you with every item on the list, we can help you with your POS system. If you’re not feeling great about your POS software right now, there’s still time to update it! Reach out to our team and we can provide you with a demo of our software and get you set up as quickly as possible.
Made by previous business owners, the Visual Retail Plus point of sale system for retail businesses is designed to give retail business owners everything that they need to succeed. Let us make your first few shopping holidays great ones, rather than disasters. Reach out to us today and we’ll get you taken care of!