Holiday_PrepThere is a nip in the air, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time to prep your business for the holidays. No matter if you own a coffee shop, dog groomer or a series of boutique stores, you have to be ready for those customers who come through your doors — or visit you online — that are filled with the holiday spirit.

The boost in sales is excellent for all merchants involved, but almost as important is being ready to meet the holiday rush and the influx of both existing and new customers. Attention to both detail and customer service is a must, even in these busiest of times, because it might be the first time a customer has any interaction with your store and you want them to keep coming back.

We’ve compiled a list of five things that will help you plan for the holiday rush:

  1. Earlier the better. Review your previous year’s sales to look for trends and see what did and didn’t work. Customers are fickle and will quickly change course, so you need to put yourself out there as quickly as possible using a crafted media plan that puts you in front of your potential customers. Being active with daily deals on social media tends to drive business for existing customers, and making them shareable will help with word of mouth.
  2. Prepare your business and staff. Are you hiring new staff for the holiday rush? Make sure they have a good level of training before they hit the sales floor. You want to ensure your customers are getting a level of service they expect. And the training doesn’t stop there; make sure to keep your current staff is informed of any changes because you don’t want to assume they know what is expected. Refresh your website and your social media pages to reflect any sales, contests or other incentives to get your customers to come shop at your business. Click here for other ideas on how to engage your customers throughout the season.
  3. Leverage your customer base. Keep your existing customers coming back with a personalized, well-crafted email strategy. You can use social media to build trust with your customers, and become a valuable shopping resource when you let them know about new offerings and discounts on select items. Another way to get loyal foot traffic in your store is to send customers a greeting card that contains coupons that are targeted to their interests.
  4. Bring in new customers. Get your business’s name out there as much as you can. Offer deals through local newspapers, holiday supplements and regular mail. Amp up your presence online by updating your search engine marketing efforts by refreshing what keywords you use so your business is at the top, or near the top, of search when potential customers go online to shop.
  5. Check and recheck. When the season is done, and you take a minute to catch your breath, it might be a good time to review the analytics of what strategies you’ve implemented. Compare year-to-year and find the variable that made this year a positive or negative over last year. Use this valuable information to make changes for next year’s holiday season. PayAnywhere Storefront allows you to dig deeper with detailed in-app and online reporting that tells you what, where and when your customers are purchasing.

Preparation is the key to success for a great holiday season. Failure to prepare may increase stress during an already stressful time of the year. So stay on top of it, engage your customers and employees and you’ll be on your way to a great holiday season!