By Rieva Lesonsky
Labor Day is barely in our rearview mirrors and it’s just beginning to feel like fall. But for small retailers and ecommerce entrepreneurs looking ahead to the upcoming holiday shopping season, it’s not too early to begin planning your marketing outreach.
As you’re getting ready for the holiday season, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Be prepared for last-minute shoppers. Last year, nine out of 10 consumers still weren’t finished with their holiday shopping as of December 15, the National Retail Federation reported. It’s a good bet that last-minute shopping will surge this year, too. Be ready to capture those stressed-out shoppers with your marketing plan, then have ample stock on hand to fulfill their needs. If you own an ecommerce business, have shipping plans in place to get products to customers quickly, including backup options you can use if bad weather delays shipments.
Plan ahead for post-holiday profits. In 2015, more than half of consumers planned to visit retailers in the week after Christmas, according to the NRF. Have a marketing strategy ready to get customers back to your store or surfing your website post-holidays. Signing customers up for loyalty programs, selling gift cards and offering promotions are just a few of the ways to attract shoppers right after Christmas, as well as during the traditionally slow month of January.
Find a marketing partner to make your life easier. The holiday season will be crazy busy, so find a marketing partner like Staples you can trust to help you through those hectic months. When reviewing your options, look for a company that:
- Has the type of quality products you need to differentiate your business from your competitors. For example, at fashion retailer Karen Kane, marketing director Michael Kane relies on Staples to help the company’s ecommerce orders stand out. Staples creates boxes for ecommerce orders, custom stickers and labels, and tissue paper with the Karen Kane logo. When customers open ecommerce orders in a logoed box with logoed tissue paper, as opposed to a plain brown box, it makes the experience more special.
- Offers personalized service. Kane says one reason he likes working with Staples is the personal attention he receives from his account manager. Staples Print & Marketing Services provides assistance from print experts in their stores any time. You can also call Staples to get a price quote ahead of time, which helps you better manage your holiday marketing budget. If you’re embarking on a larger marketing project, like Kane’s, Staples even offers the services of a dedicated sales representative to take the headaches off your hands.
- Sells a wide range of products and services. When you work with a company as big as Staples, you know you’ll have access to any type of product you may need. In addition to tissue paper and boxes, for instance, Kane turns to Staples for garment hangtags, mailers, fashion look books, posters and even promotional products. That means no matter what stage you are at in the holiday sales game — from October through January — it’s easy to get what you need to market your business.