Business tips

The holidays are right around the corner. Here's how to maximize your small business' profits.

By Ryan Gibbons on
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Before you know it, the frenetic holiday shopping season will be upon us. If you are like the majority of small to mid-sized business owners, this important time of year represents a significant portion of your annual income. Before the craziness starts, take some proactive steps to make the most of every holly-jolly moment.

Take action now.

Don’t wait until the last minute to launch your marketing campaigns and plan what merchandise you’ll be highlighting. Especially in light of today’s supply chain bottlenecks, you need to get your inventory in stock as soon as possible.

Also, start hiring your seasonal staff today to ensure that you have the trained help you need once consumers begin to shop for deals. By the way, this is happening earlier and earlier, so don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to put up your displays.

Upgrade your payment processing equipment.

As part of the holistic buying experience that customers now demand, you need to find ways to enhance the flexibility and payment choices you offer. The payment processing hardware of 2021 has evolved significantly from what you may have bought or leased five years ago. Most significantly, it now includes the ability to accept touchless payments via a contactless card reader.

Having the most up-to-date point of sale solution helps you provide enhanced ways to pay: subscription or recurring billing, tap-and-go or contactless, and even via alternative currencies. Best of all, the systems are secure, fast, and efficient, which will cut down on your lines at the check-out counter.

Examine and revamp your website and mobile app.

Increasingly, consumers are browsing businesses’ apps and websites to learn about products. This is true even if they ultimately make their purchases in-store. For that reason, it is wise to objectively evaluate your mobile and online presences to ensure that your information is current, clear, and accessible regardless of whether someone is using a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

Furthermore, be sure your app or website is outfitted with features that promote a secure and seamless buying experience. These may include heightened security and authentication, chat technology to answer routine questions, easy shipment tracking by text, and multiple payment options.

Keep customer service at the forefront.

Offering a tech-focused browsing experience using augmented and virtual reality apps to test out products. Rewarding frequent shoppers with loyalty points and free or discounted items. These are just two of the ways you can please your guests. Remember, providing them with top-notch products and services is a win-win for everyone involved. Premium customer care is the gift that keeps on giving even long after the holidays are over.

Jump on the opportunity to collect customer data.

If your point of sale system has database and analytics capabilities, now is the time to tap into the gold mine of customer information you have already collected. Use it to learn what products flew off the shelves last year and which types of customers made the purchases. Find out when your busiest times were so that you can schedule staff accordingly this year.

Now that your systems are upgraded, take advantage of all they can do for you. The demographic, sales, and performance details you gather during this year’s busy season can help you to enhance what you are doing well and tweak areas that need improvement.

That brief but chaotic period between late November and early January is coming up on us very quickly. Don’t let it catch you unaware, causing you to lose out at what might be the most lucrative time of the whole year. A little preparation now could yield massive rewards later!