Although we’re all trying to cling to every last moment of summer, the sad reality is that Labor Day is right around the corner, which marks the unofficial end of the season. Pools close, children head back to school and the long slog to the winter holidays sets in. At least there’s football!
For small businesses, though, Labor Day represents a great time of the year to capitalize on the extended weekend, the shifting seasons and the consumers looking for big holiday deals. According to several different sources, this should be a stellar holiday for small businesses, and owners can expect to see increased traffic and potentially greater sales opportunities than last year. As more people travel this year and retail sales can expect a boost, small business owners need to ensure their operations are optimized to handle the expected spike in holiday sales.
Jump in number of travelers
First off, more people are expected to travel this year than last year. According to Airlines for America, a trade organization for airlines in the U.S., 15.6 million passengers are expected to fly over Labor Day weekend during 2016 to meet with loved ones and explore the country. This marks a 4 percent increase over 2015. With greater numbers of Americans ready to pack their bags and travel the country, small businesses are poised to reap the benefits from the uptick in tourists. When people get away for a quick vacation or weekend excursion over a holiday weekend, they’re far more likely to open their wallets and spoil themselves.
Retail sales climbing
The National Retail Federation recently upgraded its projection for the retail sales for the remainder of the year. The NRF recently revised its 2016 Economic Forecast to show an expected 3.4 percent growth rate in consumer spending for the third and fourth quarter, as opposed to its previous 3.1 forecast announced at the beginning of the year.
The revision comes after the numbers from the first two quarters of the year showed that retail sales grew nearly 4 percent year over year, a much higher rate than the NRF originally forecast. Both the NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay as well as the NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz painted an optimistic view of the economic landscape ahead for retailers, but cautioned that hurdles may still exist.
Preparing for the holiday
While it’s always best to get an early start on all sales, promotions and marketing strategies as early in the year as possible, the steady rise and near ubiquity of online channels and rapid turnaround at distribution centers means making a last-minute decision to launch a new promotion is easier now than ever before. Not only is this becoming a more common trend among businesses, but consumers are increasingly expecting the ability to procrastinate and still get their orders completed at the last possible minute.
As noted in MarketingLand, waiting until the final moments to order and making zero-hour online purchases has become the new trend among shoppers. The source stated that the few days right before Christmas experienced the largest increase of orders on a daily year-over-year basis for the entire holiday season. With consumers now expecting a quick turnaround on their orders, the procrastination should only continue. This trend means last-minute promotions and ads targeting this audience looking for Labor Day deals could be a good idea. Social media and email blasts allow owners to instantly announce a new deal specifically for the holiday and then immediately share the ad with all of their followers.
Celebrate the holiday
Since Labor Day typically marks the boundary between summer and autumn, many people are eager to enjoy the remaining nice weather while they still can. This provides a great opportunity for small businesses to interact with and engage their communities and potentially drive new leads and make some new customers. Whether it’s a local festival, a parade, a fair, a charitable event or some other type of city gathering, these present owners with a chance to display their commitment to the surrounding area through sponsorships and donations. Plus it’s a great way to spread the word about a small business.
Going a step further, hosting an event to celebrate the holiday is a great way to attract foot traffic, boost sales and clear out summer inventory to make room for winter products. Companies with physical locations can set up shop outside for a sidewalk sale, while those with parking lots can even consider having a picnic or barbecue with free pop and hot dogs. Ecommerce businesses without an actual brick-and-mortar presence can still get in on the action by holding online contents and giveaways or through cross-promotional events.
With the right strategy and enough working capital, any small business can potentially leverage the opportunities available around Labor Day to boost sales. With approvals in as little as 24 hours, a small business loan from an alternative lender can provide the crucial capital necessary to make an average holiday weekend turn into a successful one.