Do me a favor: cup your hand, put it to your ear, and listen intently. What do you hear? Just off in the distance – what is that? Is it…jingle bells? Sharp, cold winds blowing a snowstorm across town? Eggnog and brandy getting mixed at the company party?
That’s right, winter is right around the corner. Well, for you and other business owners it is. That’s because the closer we get to the real holiday season the more shoppers start to think about hitting up their favorite stores. If you’re not ready as soon as possible, well, you’re going to miss out on sales now and possibly later.
Let’s not pretend the various winter holidays, especially Christmas, aren’t starting earlier and earlier every year. It’s even caused Black Friday to creep well into Thanksgiving Day (to much controversy). Knowing this, here are a few tips for every business owner to consider as the cold weather peeks its head around the corner.
Prepare Your Website
You already know customers are fickle creatures. If you confuse or irritate them long enough they’ll run away faster than you can hum the first bar of “Here Comes Santa Claus.” It’s even worse during the holidays when people want everything yesterday and will accept no substitutes. That’s why checking that your website is top notch is very important before droves of people visit it.
Go through every link, picture, and word and ensure it’s all up to speed. Do all the links work? Are the pictures clear and nice to look at? More importantly, do they look like what they’re supposed to be? Does all your copy make sense so customers know what they’re buying? How are your load times? The last thing you want is for your customers to click away before all of your lovely images show up.
If you spot problems, fix this sooner rather than later. If one single link is broken you’re going to lose a sale, period. Do a test run (or better yet, get some non-customers to do it for you) and see how simple it is for a fresh customer to navigate your. Oh, and make sure your shopping cart is easy to use, too.
Others have suggested making a “Sales” page for all your best deals, and it’s a solid idea. However, let’s take it a step further and add buttons to let customers grab it and go. In fact, call it the “Grab it and Go!” button. This will entice frantic last-minute shoppers to grab the item since it’s so easy to buy.
Automate Your Business
When you’re buried under boxes trying to figure out how you’re going to get all this stuff to the post office while also making it to your kid’s Christmas recital, the last thing you want to do is think “did I balance my business budget last month? Am I going broke?” or “Did I actually pay the electric bill or was that a fever dream?”
Before the hectic hustle & bustle of the holidays really hits, automate as much of your business as you can. There are apps to help you with almost every single aspect of your business, including keeping your finances in check and helping you maintain a schedule so you don’t miss your kid’s recital.
Also try to automate your bills as much as you can. Of course you may want to hold off on some due to funds being tight (hey, we know how it is). But try to hit the essentials like electricity, water, Internet – all the ones you need to run your business. This way the lights won’t go out in the middle of you filling out a huge order that’s due the next day.
How early do you start preparing for the holidays?