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Credit: Ekaterina Shevchenko

Ten ways to prepare your SME for the holiday season

With just four weeks of trading left until Christmas, small businesses are gearing up for the holiday season.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro who needs some reminders, or a newer business owner coming into your first festive season – it is never too late to implement strategies to maximise sales and enhance the customer experience during the busiest trading period of the year.

Serve more customers with a floating POS

You don’t want to lose customers as a result of long queues during a rush. One way to combat this is by streamlining your checkout with a floating point-of-sale. Take advantage of mobile payment solutions like Tap to Pay with Zeller App in tandem with your fixed EFTPOS terminals to expedite transactions, and keep customers happy.

Express gratitude to customers

Show appreciation to your customers. Remind your staff to take an extra moment to chat with the customers they are serving, even if your business is busy. It is the personal approach and connection that your customers will remember. Also, consider offering exclusive discounts to loyal patrons to show that you value their business and encourage them to shop again.

Extend trading hours

Cater to the schedules of busy holiday shoppers with late-night events or early-morning openings to attract more customers. Consider polling your customers on your social media pages to ask what hours suit them, or simply test variations throughout the month.

Deploy social media campaigns that drive visibility

Leverage the power of social media. It can be quick and simple to create engaging content, run targeted Christmas campaigns, and connect with your audience to build excitement. Consider how online and in-store sales can be promoted on your social media accounts, or how you could advertise your extended trading hours and the festive decorations in your storefront. Get creative!

Decorate your storefront with festive cheer

An eye-catching window display will entice customers into your store. At a time when there is increased foot traffic along shopping strips, the atmosphere of your store cannot be underestimated. If you need inspiration, search for window display ideas on Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok. Take inspiration from other businesses nearby, but ensure you are differentiating your displays to usher more customers in.

Optimise your rostering 

Review staffing levels and sales from last year. Ensure you have enough hands on deck to deliver excellent customer service. If you plan on adding more staff to your team over the holiday period, start the hiring process now. A well-trained, friendly team can make a significant difference in managing the holiday rush effectively. 

Promote both online and in-store sales

Utilise your physical store and online presence to promote special offers. Create a sense of urgency with limited-time discounts and exclusive online deals to make your business a top choice for holiday shopping. Consider whether you will participate in the common ‘Black Friday’ and Boxing Day sales – and if you are, make it known! Many businesses start Boxing Day sales early, even in the days leading up to Christmas. Ensure your customers feel the urgency to purchase now.

Offer express gift-wrapping 

Provide convenience with an express gift-wrapping service. This adds value to the shopping experience and makes your store a destination for holiday gifts. Consider whether your wrapping could include subtle branding for your business – to create even more brand awareness with gift recipients.

Be strategic with inventory management

If you have sales figures from the previous year, review them and take note of any items that did or did not sell well in November and December. If you’re running a new business, ensure your inventory and POS are correctly configured so that you can look back on the data next year. Look at the latest trends and recent sales figures to help inform stock levels for popular items or festive products. Not having enough stock is the easiest way to miss out on potential sales over the Christmas period; however, overbuying seasonal products will damage your cash flow. Striking this balance comes with time, experience and careful analysis. 

Enable loyalty programs to drive repeat business

Implement a loyalty program to encourage repeat business. Offer exclusive discounts or rewards to customers purchasing in the weeks leading up to Christmas to foster loyalty. Remember, your customers during the lead-up to the holiday season can become regular customers, so entice them to return not only through loyalty programs but also with a good experience in-store.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, these reminders can be the key to a successful and profitable holiday season for your small business. Don’t forget to explore new and innovative payment solutions like Tap to Pay with Zeller App, which can enhance efficiency and convenience for you and your customers.

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Joshua McNicol

Joshua McNicol

Joshua McNicol is the Director of Growth at Zeller. He utilises his extensive experience from working with some of the world’s fastest-growing disruptive technology brands across fintech and SaaS to drive Zeller’s goal to reimagine business banking for Australian merchants. Prior to Zeller, Josh was the General Manager, APAC at Eventbrite, and previously led Global Brand, Content and Partnership Marketing for Square following launching the payments technology’s brand in Australia as Square’s first Australian Head of Marketing and Communications.

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