According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), more than 174 million people went shopping from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday– more than 64 million consumers shopped both in-store and online, while over 58 million shopped only online and over 51 million shopped only in-store. The turnout of shoppers was 7% higher than what was originally estimated (164 million) in an earlier survey by the NRF and Proper Insights & Analytics.
So, how were your Thanksgiving weekend sales? If they weren’t what you expected, here are four proactive ways to make the holidays brighter for your small-to-medium business (SMB):
- Watch the weather and your calendar. Stay on top of the weather reports. If inclement weather is going to keep customers from traveling to shop in your physical stores, give them incentives to shop online with you by offering exclusive online-only discounts via email or social media.
- Keep two eyes on inventory. There are few things worse than having to tell customers an item is out of stock. When in doubt, buy more of best-selling items. You may get additional discounts from the wholesaler, and if it’s a popular item during the holidays, it will probably still be popular in January.
- Always say thank you. The holiday season can be the best of times or the worst of times for your employees, customers, prospects, partners, and vendors. There’s no better opportunity to go out of your way to say “thank you” for all they have done to help your business throughout the year. To go the extra mile, thoughtfully acknowledge the people that mean the most to your business by sending them holiday cards with a personalized message along with a gift that shows you care–even if it takes a few extra minutes out of your day. It’s not only a great return on investment, but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. The same people you thank in 2017 will hopefully be supporting your business throughout 2018 and beyond.
- Give your employees time to celebrate the holiday season. My first job out of college was selling wine to retailers in northern California. To this day, I remember the frenetic pace during the holidays. We worked 14-16 hours every day, which consisted of building displays, putting up holiday signs, and hauling cases of wine from the back room to the shelves. These long hours continued through New Year’s Eve with no hope of letting up, driving employees into the ground and weakening team morale. If this story sounds similar to what’s going on with your SMB, take a step back and evaluate if you’re staffed appropriately for the busy holiday season.
It’s important that you give your employees time to spend with their families around the holidays as one more way to say “thank you.” They will appreciate the gesture, which will help improve engagement, company morale, and loyalty to your SMB.
I hope that 2017 has been good to you and your business. I also hope that the holidays are profitable and enjoyable. Make the most of them and we will see you in 2018!
For daily insights and advice from Brian Moran and other SMB Experts, join our LinkedIn group, Ask the SMB Experts.
The Ask the SMB Experts group is a forum for growing businesses to come together with industry experts to discuss key issues, trends and more.