4 Tips to Get Your Small Business Ahead for the Holiday Shopping Season

4 Tips to Get Your Small Business Ahead for the Holiday Shopping Season

From being well-stocked to holiday promotions, the best way for your small business to prepare for the upcoming holiday season: make it easy for shoppers to be your customer. 

Here are 5 proven tips to help your small business make this holiday shopping season the best it can be.

Optimize your website. With mobile commerce expected to dominate the holiday shopping season, optimizing your website is even more critical.

"Having a fast, responsive mobile website is key to ensuring a seamless shopping experience and driving more online conversions, especially during the holidays when website traffic is highest," writes Radhika Kakkar in a recent AdAge post.

While the desktop to mobile shift occurred partly due to COVID-19, it quickly became the new normal.

"In fact, 67% of all e-commerce sales this year will come from mobile, and it's no surprise that social media users are leading the charge," Kakkar writes. "That's true especially for Snapchatters, among the savviest mobile consumers out there, who shop online 20 percent more than other consumers."

Don't underestimate social media. Whether it's sharing ideas or recommendations for gifts or where to shop, social media will play a significant role when it comes to holiday shopping again this season.

According to Kakkar, friendship is so influential during the festive shopping season that referred customers spend twice as much as the average consumer.

"Leverage mobile ads that are built to help you generate brand awareness, drive product sales, encourage app downloads and boost conversions," the AdAge article suggests. "Snapchat's full-screen mobile ads inspire action, and its free creative tools allow you to quickly create visually appealing and seasonally relevant ads that drive results."

Expect – and prepare for – a busy shopping season. Forecasters are predicting a healthy holiday shopping season, so be ready from every angle.

According to early numbers from eMarketer, 2021 retail sales are expected to increase 2.7 percent to $1.093 trillion, with e-commerce revenues rising 11.3 percent to $206.88 billion.

E-commerce will account for a record 18.9 percent of total holiday season retail sales, eMarketer predicted earlier this year.

"If you want to be truly prepared for incoming traffic, your technology needs to be updated and able to handle the increased holiday shopping traffic," writes Rieva Lesonsky in a SCORE blog.

Further, if you're not prepared with enough merchandise in stock, you'll simply be sending customers away, losing sales opportunities.

"Whether you sell online or in-store (or both), your inventory should be fully stocked," Lesonsky writes. "If customers can't get what they want, they'll go somewhere else to get it."

Make it easy. Whether navigating your website to browse or pay, make it easy for your customers to shop at your business.

One way is to expand your payment options in time for this year's holiday shopping season.

In-store mobile payment app use recorded 29 percent year-over-year growth in 2020 and is expected to hit a milestone this year, reaching 101.2 million among Americans ages 14 and older, according to eMarketer.

"Usage is now on track to surpass half of all smartphone users by 2025," notes the SCORE article.

"Making it easy" also means providing other conveniences that make for a seamless shopping experience, such as curbside pickup, a pandemic holdover that's become the norm. 

Also, consider offering free shipping to entice more online shoppers to buy their gifts on your site and set up tracking services for purchases, which are especially important to customers during the holiday season.

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