Now that the big retail season has come and gone, most retailers are looking forward to the next big moment where shopping becomes top of mind – and for many it will be this coming President's Day weekend. Most businesses are wondering how they can most effectively get their piece of the pie in a mini-holiday crowded with mattress and furniture sales. Whether you have a retail business and are wondering how to compete with all the advertising from the big retailers, or have a services business where the link to the holidays isn’t quite as clear – here are a few tips that can help you make the best of a time when almost everyone seems to be in a buying mood.
- Focus on word of mouth because customers are influencing more people. The power of your customers telling each other about you is always important, but during the holidays it may be far more likely. This means one very important difference: after you make a sale – your new customer may tell someone else about their experience right away. Not only because people may be more interested to hear it, but also because people are seeing more of their friends and family around the holiday time. Share extra business cards, offer more referral discounts, or just make a point of asking your customers to recommend your business. It could go a long way during this time.
- Use more limited time offers. Thanks to all the other retail offers in the market right now, people are more willing to see and respond to offers with a deadline. Deadlines can also help to create urgency for your offers. This doesn’t mean you need to be a dictator about sticking to the timing, but using the idea of limited time promotions may be more likely to work now.
- Position your products or services as complimentary. Instead of hoping to change the behaviour of what people will already be doing, think about how you can position what you have to offer as complimentary to what people will already be shopping for. This might mean add on products, or even a service that will be something they need after all the holiday shopping they do.
- Offer an anti-frenzy experience. One thing that all online retailers are trying to push hard is the idea that you can shop from the comfort of your own couch and simply choose the products you want online. How can you also offer an anti-frenzy experience with your business? While this might seem like opposite advice to #2 because using a deadline can feel inherently “frenzy-like” – the point is to avoid having that be the thing that makes the experience of buying from your small business seem hurried or rushed.
- Take advantage of third party efforts. Thanks to the state of the economy, there are a lot of people who want you to succeed this holiday season. The government wants to see a rebound in retail and consumer confidence. While you might be tired of hearing how you are the “backbone of the economy” – the point is that there are others who want to see you succeed and have efforts that you can take advantage of this holiday season.
This post is republished from my original article on the Amex Open Forum website. It is part of "Small Business Friday" on this blog, where I share ideas and marketing techniques specifically to help small businesses stand out. To read more articles like this, visit the "Small Business Friday" category on this blog.