13 Holiday Small Business Specials….

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13 Holiday Small Business Specials
by christopherjanb

Small Business Tips You Can Use 365 Days A Year

Before the Christmas turkey is even cold, we’re off to shop for the holidays.

Amazon, Walmart and other big stores have their marketing, promotions and inventories set. But what gives them clout is a double-edged sword; they have to pray their plans work.

But if you’re a small business owner, you have the flexibility to adapt and attract sales that go beyond a one-time great price offer.

See the graph showing research at where affluent people plan to shop this holiday season.

HINT: They’re avoiding stores.

See link to original article below.

Therefore your small business needs to find ways to lure shoppers in and make them feel special.

The key to small business success is based on the relationships you build all year long and not just last minute holiday shoppers.

Further, the small business challenge is: “How do you set yourself apart from the big guys?”

My dad ran a local newspaper in Queens. Small local businesses were his bread and butter advertisers. When I worked for him, I knew these merchants on a first name basis.

In my father’s trading area, the average small business owner was often the jack-of-all-trades: sales, marketing, operations and finance. Frequently, the funds leftover for promotion was a tradeoff between dinner out with his wife or advertising.

As a result, I have a soft spot for small businesses and favor them wherever I get a chance.

13 Holiday Small Business Specials
Here’s a list of 13 holiday small business specials that yield results regardless of season. (Before you dive into this list, you may want to check these 10 holiday tips to ensure that you’re not making offers that hurt your profits!!!)

When you create these promotions, make sure that you’re targeting your best customers and understand how to increase their average order size!!!

1. Provide local delivery.
Go the extra distance for the people who live in your trading area. I’m surprised that more small businesses don’t offer this service. Take a page from florists and delis: create defined delivery areas.

Back when there were independent bookstores in my neighborhood, I decided to send a friend a new novel for her birthday. I called and asked if they could have someone deliver the novel to my friend who lived 5 blocks away. (Note: by NYC standards, this is a very short distance.)

Although the clerk initially told me no, the owner agreed to wrap the book and deliver it for another $5.00. That cemented my customer loyalty! I was surprised that they never added that as a service.

2. Give shoppers a place to rest.
Holiday shopping can be tiring, especially if you’re not the born to shop type. Put out a few comfortable chairs where shoppers can catch their breath. Large stores have done this for years. It’s a great way to calm waiting partners.

3. Put out the sweets.
Give buyers the energy to continue shopping. It’s amazing how far the sugar rush from cookies or cake goes. Trader Joes and William Sonoma are great at offering snacks to entice buyers and fuel their shopping venture.

4. Discount product that’s not moving.
Why wait until you have to severely discount it? Spotlight slow moving product and call it a “special deal”.

5. Test purchase with second-purchase offers.
This is a good way to try to move product that’s not resonating with your customers. For example, ‘Buy these pants, get a belt at half price.” You can do the same thing to encourage people to buy more than one item.

6. Create special shopping hours for your best customers.
Give them the Ritz treatment. Either open early or close late for your top customers to have a less crowded, more personal shopping experience.

7. Provide child minding.
Make a corner in your back room a place where children can stay without being in parents’ way. Go a step further and have someone read children’s books.

8. Stock up on related necessary products.
Don’t make your customers look for things like batteries. Make them a no-brainer purchase at full price so they don’t need to make an extra trip.

9. Create special, tailored services.
Get creative about how you can meet your target audience’s needs. For example, a food specialty store can offer cooking classes.

10. Collect canned food or other items for donation.
Show that you care about the community. At the holidays, people like to support businesses that provide for the less fortunate. Show your community mindedness.

11. Cross-promote other local shops.
This is a good way to extend your marketing budget. Talk to some of your fellow storeowners. You can promote their business and they can promote your business. This doesn’t work with direct or even indirect competitors.

12. Offer customer a special deal for January purchases.
Since sales traditionally fall off after the post-Christmas sales. Give shoppers a coupon to indulge during the January slump. The benefit: people feel good about coupons but often forget to use them.

13. Remind your customers about birthdays and other special occasions.
Holiday shoppers tend to buy for other people. Why not use this opportunity to capture information so that you provide a useful service without promoting them about products they don’t want.

Ask if their purchases are gifts. If so, add their content information to a special email reminder list. It can be as simple as leaving a pad by your register to capture information such as customer name, email address, reminder (including name, occasion and date.)

A local florist did this for a friend’s husband who purchased flowers for their anniversary.

The small business bottom line:
As a small business, you have to test a variety of different types of promotions to see what resonates best with your target customers.

Further, it’s important to think about long-term relationships. What can you do that your larger competitors don’t?

What other types of small business promotions would you recommend and why?

BTW, want some content marketing inspiration for the holidays? Here are 41 Titles to Rock Your Holiday Content Calendar

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
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