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Consumers will be spending approximately 616.9 billion dollars in the coming holiday season. This astronomical number is an increase from the 2013 year and forecasts suggest the number will continue to grow. In the season of giving the best thing online businesses can do is give to their customers in a big way.
The seasonal changes impact SMEs and trigger them to change designs for marketing campaigns in order to alter the way owners target consumers. Customers modify their shopping behavior and the way they engage (or do not engage) with our business. The identification of the causes of these fluctuations allow the operations to be adjusted and create a more balanced management of the impact in the short term.
If small businesses integrate within their business plan a strategic objective of seasonal alterations of services and products to appeal to the audience, they will be better able to manage the varying sales during the shifting seasons.
Beyond providing a flashy web design small business owners must provide services that are more customized and personal when compared to the big brands. For the holidays, small business owners have to step outside their comfort zone, pull up their big girl panties and compete for customer attention in a way that is memorable, satisfying and profitable.
1. ‘Deck’ up your Website for the Holidays.
The holiday shopper unlike the Scrooge enjoys the bright lights, music and colors that herald the arrival of the season. They love to enter a store that plays Christmas carols, Hanukkah songs and even Kwanzaa chants. How do you replicate this experience online?
Just for the holidays customize your website. Options can include:
- • Adding some icons that create the holiday cheer.
- • Insert some music in the background.
- • Altering the logo to add the season’s colors.
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These may be very small changes but they will retain the customer attention and allow them to ‘shop for the season’ without leaving the comfort of the house.
2. Diversify the Business Services and/or Products for the Season
A shop that sells Christmas decorations online may do 90% of their business during fall and winter while a corporation that provides tax consultancy may see their sales decline. How do such establishments alter their fluctuating markets without losing their profit?
The key is to diversify the company portfolio of services and products. A store front offering Christmas decorations may want to consider becoming a ‘holiday shop’ and offering Halloween, Easter and, Thanksgiving decorations. The key is to generate a profit when the season is ‘off’.
So add some products to your website that are specifically for the holidays. How about a free Christmas card design for every web design bought or a 2 hour free consultancy for those that offer their own services?
Any business can add a product or service just for the season in order to maintain if not increase the sales.
3. Promotional Opportunities and Marketing Gimmicks for Off Season
The key to marketing is knowing the consumer psychology. Know your audience and recognize their ‘needs’ and then try your best to meet them by offering value for the season. Understand the psychology behind graphic design and provide desired promotional offers that are visually powerful for your target audience. A landscape company doesn’t do much in winter. However, by marketing ‘winter rates’ during peak spring and summer seasons they can get a steady stream of customers.
They can alter the perception of the consumer by touting their business to be a ‘landscape maintenance firm’ and offer ‘fall clean up’ or winter snow ploughing. They can also offer seasonal activities like helping put up the decorative lights.
4. Spread the Cheer of Sales and Offers
With a consumer budget of 600 billion and counting even a 0.1% share of the market will be profitable. Businesses have to prepare for the season by offering pre-season sales and allow consumers to feel good about saving money.
SME’s should offer sale coupons and other such offers even before the season hits so that consumers get an early bird view of what they can provide. Then as the season progresses consumers will hope to find even better deals and keep coming back to check what is on offer.
Also, while most big brands can offer ‘60% Off Store wide’ small businesses cannot. Opt for strategic sales on the most popular products and/or throw in gift wrapping free for products.
5. Surprise them with Social Media Campaigns
It’s all about harnessing the power of social media so creating a digital marketing strategy that progresses through the season can attract a lot of attention. Create teasers, flash sales, freak polls and contests that continually attract the attention of the audience. This will ensure more impulse buying and also attribute to a growing customer base regardless of the business type.
Most successful business owners do not wing the season they organize it. According to Eileen Mockus, CEO of home furnishings company Coyuchi, she creates a seasonal calendar and has a strategy for every aspect of the holidays.
“The holiday season goes all the way through the New Year, so make every day count,” she says. “Put together events, promotions, product introductions, shipping offers, e-mails, and other marketing offers. Plan ahead so the details are figured out and at the busiest time of year all you are focused on is flawless execution.”
Integrating a strategic seasonal goal helps boost sales and in the end that is what the success of a small business enterprise is base upon.