Running a profitable business requires you to think like your customers, which is why successful retailers pay attention to the calendar. Customers are spending more and more on holiday purchases. And we're not just talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, either. So, do your products and promotions attract customers during special times?
In order to snare your share of holiday revenue, you need to know what special occasions are coming up and how to use each holiday to promote your products or services in ways that appeal irresistibly to your customers.
Advanced Planning is Critical
Last-minute promotions have their place, but successful holiday marketing requires detailed planning. That’s true whether you have a physical store, sell online only, or operate a multi-channel business.
Inventory must be ordered and in place with enough stock to ensure you don’t let customers down. Make sure your web-based systems and in-store staffing levels are capable of smoothly handling the number of customers you anticipate. If not, you risk giving customers a disappointing experience that will brand your business as a no-go.
Of course, year-end holidays — Thanksgiving on through December — generate the highest sales. However, you might be surprised to learn that the average American spent approximately $86 on Halloween last fall. And that’s nothing compared to the amount shoppers drop on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. You obviously can’t ignore these and other big-name holidays, but running a business successfully requires differentiation.
There are literally hundreds of specialty days and months throughout the year — Cinco de Mayo, National Hot Chocolate Day, Adopt-a-Pet Month, etc. And there are local special occasions, too. Pick holidays that best resonate with your target customers, so your marketing stands out and sells your brand as well as your merchandise.
Savvy Promotions Expand Your Reach
Holidays are a great time to introduce your business to new people as well as strengthen relationships with existing customers. “Bring a friend” promotions or events accomplish both, especially when you offer special incentives. (Hint: June 8th is Best Friend’s Day.)
Partnering with a local organization to promote their annual event will also bring your business face-to-face with new folks and underscore your reputation as a good community neighbor.
Focus on Customer Lifetime Value
Holiday marketing gets folks in the door, but you want those folks to return and become loyal, long-term customers. Giving them a splendid experience is a start, but targeted email follow-up, interesting or fun in-store events, and a valuable rewards program will entice them to keep coming back.
Know Thy Customer
You can’t zero in on the holidays most alluring to your customers if you don’t know their fondest desires. Talk to them as they shop. Track what they buy, how much they spend, and when. The more you use your analytics, the greater your opportunities to boost business.