Holiday sales are expected to skyrocket to $656 billion this year, which means retailers need to step up their game if they’re going to get a piece of that pie, according to Retail Customer Experience.
This means ramping up marketing efforts – in the store, around the community, on social media, and in other digital advertisements – to ensure people know the different sales, promotions, items, or services a business is providing during this busy shopping season. For business owners concerned about the costs of these efforts, a small business loan might be a great way to get the manpower, supplies, and marketing materials to make the most out of this period of frantic consumer spending.
Social media is the key to success
No marketing campaign can be effective in 2016 without the use of social media. And for retailers that put in the effort to make it a part of their strategy, research has shown that consumers will reward them. In fact, customers on average spend 20 percent more at a retailer that responds to their social media questions, comments, and other related activities.
To maximize your social media message, retailers should spare no expense. This means hiring graphic designers to create a cover image for social media pages, spending money on sponsored posts that will reach your business’s target demographic and potentially hiring a temporary employee dedicated to the upkeep of the company’s social media pages. Or for those who don’t want to hire someone, there are affordable website creation tools entrepreneurs should look into using.
Customer engagement is a critical component of fostering consumer loyalty and trust. For smaller brands with less name recognition, more personalized customer service is a great way to differentiate themselves from large retailers and cultivate a dedicated market of consumers. For larger stores, it can give them the competitive edge they need to outlast other big-name stores in the race to attract holiday shoppers.
It’s also important to start getting the message out as early as possible so consumers make sure to put your business on their shopping routes. If entrepreneurs are unsure about whether they can afford to do all of these things, alternative business loans offer companies an opportunity to get a loan in as little as 24 hours without the onerous credit score requirements of banks and traditional lenders.
Offer consumers the best deal in town
Decide what deals, promotions, giveaways, or other marketing tactics you’re going to use, and then unleash the full force of your advertising budget to pitch them to the public. From one-day-only sales, discounted items, or buy-one-get-one-free offers, there are a multitude of ways to get consumers knocking on your business’s door over the next few months. For brands with an online presence, running promotions such as free shipping is a great way to pique the interest of potential consumers, according to GoUpstate.com.
Smart marketing can have real results, as 87 percent of consumers said they would be willing to spend an extra $25 on holiday shopping if they came across the right promotion, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 Consumer Survey.
Business owners should analyze their sales from previous years to determine the products, deals, promotions, and advertising techniques that were most effective for them. If they haven’t kept track of that data in the past, managers should consider investing in technology that can track customer and sales data to assist future marketing efforts.
While CRM technology might seem like an expensive investment on top of increased advertising and marketing expenses, a small business loan from an alternative lending source is an easy way to pad a company’s coffers while it works to capitalize on a busy holiday shopping season.
Make a display to remember
Although the share of online shoppers is steadily increasing, brick-and-mortar sales are still alive and well. Approximately 57 percent of shoppers plan to visit a department store this year, according to the National Retail Federation, which means businesses should continue to invest money in attractive displays that draw consumers in and engage them with store merchandise. Also, creating effective point-of-purchase displays near cash registers can have big dividends for retailers.
Many consumers who are buying presents this time of year resort to purchasing gift cards if they’re out of other ideas, so putting gift cards near the checkout counter can be an savvy tool to get customers to make one more impulse buy, according to Small Business Trends. Supplement this strategy by advertising store gift cards for a friend or loved one this year to make sure people know to look for them.
To accommodate for the increase in supplies, advertising and marketing campaigns during this important retail period, business owners should consider looking at alternative lenders and think about applying for a small business loan so they can stay competitive during the holiday rush.